Monday, February 14, 2011
Inventor of ordinary language philosophy; believed philosophers were ineffective in
using the language because of culture. How we talk/use terms is the starting point for
Can we know what other people think/feel? Can we know anything at all? Real vs. not
real – we take ourselves to know thing from extrapolating from evidence/symptoms.
Nature of justification, degrees of justification.
Overall thing: in analyzing terms, philosophers had made a descriptivist fallacy – attempt
to describe something in the world, when people use words (knowledge, belief, truth),
isn’t descriptivist at all.
I.e. Sky is blue. I am justified in believing the sky is blue (i.e. I have evidence)
Other things you can do with the words (ask a question, make a demand, declare, insult,
promise, commitments not descriptions).
Speech-Act Theory – actions you can perform with speech while speaking/writing
Two categories: categories with descriptions, and everything else
Constative utterances – states a fact
Performative utterances –
Distinction between three things: locutionary (what it says), illocutionary force of an
utterance (what you do in saying this thing i.e. asking a question “Is the window open” –
you’re committing an interrogative act.), perlocutionary act of an utterance (
Sentences with one function to perform another (i.e. you’re on thin ice – could be on thin
ice, or take caution)
Austin thought there are other conditions for you make a promise, issue a command, etc.
Felicity conditions on utterances – what conditions needs to be satisfied for nothing to
be wrong in you uttering that thing
Appropriate – is the world purported by the description, the satisfaction of that
Felicity on non-descriptive speech-acts: I.e. open the window, but no window in the
room. Presupposed that there is a window. Presupposed in the appropriateness of the utterance, otherwise something’s wrong.
Make a promise, reasonable for you to fulfill that promise (i.e. I’m going to cure your
Not enough to make a promise, but intention is also necessary.
Asking a question,
Non-descriptive utterances are neither true/false which make utterance true/false, playing
roles that the presuppose the conditions which blahblahblah
Do we have knowledge of other minds?
Find out what a knowledge claim is by challenging them
Requires for knowledge claim (felicitous) – thinks they’re wrong
Since Decartes – to know is to: 1. Believe it; 2. What you believe is true and; 3. They are
justified in their belief (4. Something only counts if the justification guarantees the truth
of the thing; deducible from something incontrovertible)
What is it for someone to be justified in believing something?
Few things of which we actually have knowledge
What provides the guarantee of a justification and the claim of the justification?
If the justification is true, the claim is true
Has to be the case, whether you know it or not, would not have the belief if it was false
Ex. Chicken sexers – do they have knowledge? Yes because they’re always right, but no
because they can’t explain it
Not just enough to believe, but to believe with great certitude.
• Array knowledge claims on a continuum – know to be true, great belief, belief…
• Asks himself: difference between quite certain, and knowing to be true? Just a
greater degree of intensity?
• Belief – weak justification, may or may not be true
• Knowledge – infallibility
• Austin thinks this is wrong. Belief/knowing is that you are performing a different
speech act when you claim to know something. Knowledge is promising. (“I
know” – “I promise”) only appropriate when someone has doubted you and
you’re ready to stake your reputation on it. Isn’t such a