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How To Do Things With WordsThe William James Lectures delivered at Harvard University in 1955$
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J.L. Austin

Print publication date: 1975

Print ISBN-13: 9780198245537

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198245537.001.0001

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Lecture I

Lecture I

(p.1) Lecture I
How To Do Things With Words

J. L. Austin

Oxford University Press

Many ‘statements’ were shown to be, as Kant perhaps first argued systematically, strictly nonsense, despite an unexceptionable grammatical form. The continual discovery of fresh types of nonsense has done on the whole nothing but good. It has come to be commonly held that many utterances that look like statements are either not intended at all, or only intended in part, to record or impart straightforward information about the facts: for example, ‘ethical propositions’ are perhaps intended, solely or partly, to evince emotion or to prescribe conduct or to influence it in special ways. The action may be performed in ways other than by a performative utterance, and in any case the circumstances, including other actions, must be appropriate.

Keywords:   grammar, performative, statement, philosophy, utterances, Kant

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