Chapter

How to Talk<sup>1</sup>

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

in Philosophical Papers

Third edition

Published in print March 1979 | ISBN: 9780192830210
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191597039 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/019283021X.003.0006

Series: Clarendon Paperbacks

How to Talk1

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Concerned with the question of whether descriptions of identity, i.e. describing X as Y, amount to the same as statements of identity, i.e. stating that X equals Y. Austin characteristically tackles this question by investigating into the nature of a number of relevant speech acts, such as ‘calling’, ‘describing’, and ‘stating’. He concludes negatively that none of the speech acts discussed can be safely used in philosophy in a general way. However, the construction of models of speech situations reveals their underlying complexity: such models are plainly too complicated to accommodate the standard subject-predicate or class-membership models that a straightforward answer to the question raised in this paper would depend on.

Keywords: Austin; class; description; identity; model; predicate; speech act; statement; subject

Chapter.  7256 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Language

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