Who is John Langshaw Austin?June 25, 2021
John Langshaw Austin (b. 1911 – 1960), philosopher of language who sought to analyze human thought by examining everyday language. He was influential in contemporary analytical thought with his Speech Act Theory, and criticized skepticism about perception.
Born in Lancaster, died in Oxford. His father was an architect. After his education at Oxford University, Austin became a lecturer at the same university in 1933. II. He served in British intelligence during World War II. After the war, he returned to the university. He was promoted to professor in 1952 and continued this duty until his death.
Logical Positivism and Philosophy of Everyday Language form two opposing currents in 20th century Anglo-Saxon thought. The first developed under the leadership of philosophers such as Russell, Wittgenstein (teenage) and Carnap, while the second was influenced by Ryle, mature Wittgenstein and Austin. This second current, also known as contemporary Oxford philosophy, argues that an artificial-symbolic language is not necessary for philosophy and natural language is sufficient. As with Wittgenstein’s mature philosophy, Austin placed great emphasis on everyday language, and especially on the use of language. However, it can be said that instead of being a Wittgenstein effect, it is a reflection of the general character of the period and especially the Aristotelian Oxford tradition. Austin’s belief that many philosophical problems can be solved by using the language correctly, and the practices in this direction, and especially his taking common sense philosophy as a starting point, clearly bears the influence of G.E.Moore. Austin gained great authority and attention in the last fifteen years of his life with his very effective power of criticism in his lectures and seminars.
According to Austin, sentences with truth value constitute a very small part of words (Eng. utterance). Austin considers sentences that he calls operant words rather than sentences that represent facts. There are two basic features that characterize such sentences. The first of these is that although these sentences have the form of declarative sentences, they are not descriptive and therefore do not take a truth value. The second is to express one of these sentences under certain appropriate conditions, not just to say something, but to take an action. A performative utterance is fruitless rather than false when it does not produce the desired result. Austin calls the action performed when a performative word is spoken as speech-act. Later, Austin named this act as illocutionary act because it is a non-discourse act exhibited through discourse. Austin then subjects the operant words to a more detailed classification. For example, in the act of asking a question, a person performs an action in which he produces a string of sounds. As such, Austin calls this performance a phonetic act. The act itself is a phonetic-act (Eng. phone). Since the question asked is suitable for the grammar of a language and includes the words belonging to that language, the phonetic act in question is also a verbal act (Eng. phatic act). Austin also calls such acts verbal-acts (Eng. pheme). Also, if the questioner has made an act that refers to a certain object, a verbal-act with such a reference is also called the focus of meaning (Eng. rheme). All three types of acts are acts of saying something and are called by Austin locutionary act. Apart from asking questions, there are many different acts that can be exhibited: giving orders, making promises, making promises, etc. performing an act out of discourse, which is exhibited through saying, is to use an act of saying together with a certain effect (Eng. force). It is not an act of saying something, but an act of saying something. If someone else gives an answer to the question asked, Austin calls it a perlocutionary act, because the act performed to encourage another’s answer leads to another act. Such an act involves performing an act by saying something. Whoever successfully performs such an act performs both an act of saying and an act of non-discourse which is exhibited through saying.
At the center of Austin’s critique of skepticism is illusory argumentation. This argument suggests that in situations where we experience a perceptual illusion, what we are aware of must be a mental content, since we do not correctly perceive the perceived itself. Austin means “illusion” and related words such as “delusion”, “hallucination”, “appears”, “manifests”, etc. takes actions into account. He points out that these words have a special use invented by philosophers. According to Austin, we use these words to express reservations and reservations about the accuracy of what we say. Incorporating something like sensory data, adding anything to our conversations about what we’re seeing