Austin’s Understanding of Method

Austin’s Understanding of Method

June 27, 2021 Off By Felso

If, as Ryle reveals, it is so easy to make category errors and similar errors in philosophy, how is it possible to avoid these problems? Austin’s prescription for this is to take the utmost care when and what to say.

Austin examines the prominent words in philosophical discourse and focuses on their usage rules. In his article titled “A Plea for Excuses”, he presents his views on the method he proposed. The general subject of the article is responsibility. Austin focuses on excuses and apologies rather than directly addressing a big issue like responsibility. It examines the conditions under which they are expressed, how they differ from the legitimation of actions, and how they are evaluated. During this review, he takes care not to make the mistakes that Ryle or Wittgenstein pointed out.

This article by Austin includes illustrating by way of example. It is also a defense of the methods of everyday language philosophy. Existing distinctions and diversifications in language include distinctions and diversifications that people find worthwhile and necessary, according to Austin. They have stood the test of time (and evolution) and are there because they work. An example Austin gave concerns the expressions “accidentally” and “accidentally”. Austin discusses the contexts in which these two expressions differ.

According to Austin, increasing our awareness of words and their uses will enable us to sharpen our perception of phenomena. On the other hand, Austin does not say that this method will ultimately solve all philosophical problems. In other words, this method will not have the last word in philosophical discussions. But according to Austin, the first word should be said based on this method.

Austin also suggests some word games during these analyses. One of these methods is as follows: In understanding a key concept, a concept related to this concept is taken and the explanation of its meanings is looked at from the dictionary. This process is repeated for the selected words as well. During these processes, when the same words start to repeat, the circle is closed and the goal is achieved.

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