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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 V

Lecture V

(p.53) Lecture V
How To Do Things With Words

J. L. Austin

Oxford University Press

This chapter asks: is there some precise way in which one can definitely distinguish the performative from the constative utterance? One should naturally ask first whether there is some grammatical (or lexicographical) criterion for distinguishing the performative utterance. The discussion holds that the idea of a performative utterance is that it is to be (or to be included as a part of) the performance of an action. Actions can only be performed by persons, and obviously in our cases the utterer must be the performer.

Keywords:   performative utterance, presupposition, truth value, constative utterance

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