‘There’s many a Slip between Cup and Lip’: Dimension and Negation in Austin

Jean-Philippe Narboux

in The Philosophy of J. L. Austin

Published in print December 2011 | ISBN: 9780199219759
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191730818 | DOI:
‘There’s many a Slip between Cup and Lip’: Dimension and Negation in Austin

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The question as to whether our words, as used in a given ordinary situation, satisfactorily engage with that situation or have some meaningful grip on it, has been construed, classically, as a yes‐or‐no question. This chapter argues that Austin’s philosophy contains a systematic attack on the idea that the ‘harmony’ between words and world is an all‐or‐nothing matter conditioning the very possibility of assessment as such and therefore not itself subject to assessment. To the extent that they construe ‘aboutness’ as a relation that either obtains or not, modern notions of the intentionality of language and thought, and of the distinction between sense and nonsense, have their roots into the ‘harmony fallacy’ criticized by Austin.

Keywords: J. L. Austin; dimension; harmony fallacy; intentionality; negation; sense; nonsense

Chapter.  21021 words. 

Subjects: History of Western Philosophy

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