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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 III

Lecture III

(p.25) Lecture III
How To Do Things With Words

J. L. Austin

Oxford University Press

If somebody issues a performative utterance, and the utterance is classed as a misfire because the procedure invoked is not accepted, it is presumably persons other than the speaker who do not accept it. This chapter deals with cases where there was no procedure or no accepted procedure; where the procedure was invoked in inappropriate circumstances; and where the procedure was faultily executed or incompletely executed. In particular cases, these can be made to overlap; and they generally overlap with misunderstandings, a type of infelicity to which all utterances are probably liable, and mistakes, and acting under duress. There are also difficult or marginal cases where nothing in the previous history of a conventional procedure can decide conclusively whether such a procedure is or is not correctly applied to such a case.

Keywords:   infelicity, performative utterance, procedure, misapplication, over-simplification, misunderstanding

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