Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Philosophical Papers$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

J. L. Austin, J. O. Urmson, and G. J. Warnock

Print publication date: 1979

Print ISBN-13: 9780192830210

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/019283021X.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use.date: 07 July 2022

Performative Utterances

Performative Utterances

(p.233) 10 Performative Utterances
Philosophical Papers

J. L. Austin

J. O. Urmson

G. J. Warnock

Oxford University Press

Austin attacks the view that language is referential, based on the simplistic division of utterances into the ‘descriptive’ and ‘evaluative’, using his notion of performative utterances. Such utterances, in the appropriate circumstances, are neither descriptive nor evaluative, but count as actions, i.e., create the situation rather than describing or reporting on it. In saying ‘I promise to go’ one is making a promise, not stating that one is making it. A performative promise is not, and does not involve, the statement that one is promising. It is an act of a distinctive sort, the very sort (promising) named by the performative verb. And, according to Austin, making explicit what one is doing is not describing what one is doing or stating that one is doing it.

Keywords:   action, Austin, descriptive, evaluative, language, performative utterance, promise

Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .