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J.L Austin

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PHIL 4120
Duncan Macintosh

Monday, February 14, 2011 J.L. Austin 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 philosophy. Performative-Constative 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 description 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 cancer) 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
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