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The Philosophy of J. L. Austin$
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Martin Gustafsson and Richard Sørli

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199219759

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199219759.001.0001

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Unmasking the Tradition

Unmasking the Tradition

(p.32) 2 Unmasking the Tradition
The Philosophy of J. L. Austin

Simon Glendinning

Oxford University Press

This essay is concerned with the relationship between J. L. Austin’s work in linguistic phenomenology and the philosophical tradition which comes into view in that work. Two features of this relationship are highlighted. First, in contrast to Stanley Cavell’s interpretation of Austin’s work as calling into question the authenticity of particular philosophers, it is argued that the texts Austin selects are ones that he judges to be particularly representative of traditional philosophy. Second, in contrast to Jonathan Bennett’s interpretation of Austin’s work as almost irrelevant to traditional concerns, it is argued that Austin deliberately avoids situating his own work squarely within the problematic field explored in the texts he selects. This mode of engagement—this avoidance of the traditional field of engagement—is described as the ‘Disengagement Strategy’, and it is shown that it characterizes a typically Austinian approach to philosophical criticism.

Keywords:   J. L. Austin, authenticity, disengagement, linguistic phenomenology, traditional philosophy, Stanley Cavell, Jonathan Bennett

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