Austin: Use of Language

Austin: Use of Language

June 27, 2021 Off By Felso

Austin’s most important contribution is in the philosophy of language.

He particularly focused on the use of language. He gave a theoretical explanation of this phenomenon by showing that some regular functions in usage affect communication to the extent of the meanings of the sentences used. What emerges from this is the important distinction between the meanings of sentences and the power they acquire in use. Meaning is only a part of the content of cognition communicated between two people. A person who has been told something should also know how to interpret the meaning of the sentence used by the other person.

The power imparted to sentences in usage enables such an interpretation. It is possible to convey very different statements by using any sentence in different environments with the same meaning and reference (with reference). Thus, with the same sentence used for different purposes, for example, giving information, warning, mocking, making jokes, and intimidating may be the case. Such declarative elements, which are conveyed without entering the meaning of the sentences, are the powers they gain in the use of these sentences. For example, it can be thought that a sentence such as “The events are developing very fast” can be used to inform, complain, warn and even joke in different environments according to varying purposes.

Prepared by: Sociologist Ömer YILDIRIM
Source: Omer YILDIRIM’s Personal Lecture Notes. Atatürk University Sociology Department 1st Year “Introduction to Philosophy” and 2nd, 3rd, 4th Grade “History of Philosophy” Lecture Notes (Ömer YILDIRIM); Open Education Philosophy Textbook