- Austin, John Langshaw
- (1911–1960)British linguistic philosopher. Austin was educated and taught at Oxford, where he worked all his life except for a distinguished period in the Intelligence service during the Second World War. He had a classical and scholarly background, and his translation of Frege's Grundlagen der Arithmetik in 1950 was the first and seminal introduction of Frege to English-speaking philosophers. Austin was the major figure of the movement known as linguistic philosophy, or Oxford or ‘ordin-ary language’ philosophy, and he was frequently, but unfairly, charged with believing that ferocious attention to the niceties of everyday language exhausted the proper method of philosophy. In fact his method was more Aristotelian, holding that close attention to the concepts and distinctions that have become embodied in the language is the beginning, if not the end, of philosophy, whilst airy recommendations about how we should think about something frequently fall short of the skill and delicacy with which we do think about it. The major works illustrating his method arose out of papers and lectures, and were published after his death. They include Sense and Sensibilia (1962), How to Do Things with Words (1962), and the collected Philosophical Papers (1961). His work on the way language actually works pioneered the theory of speech acts, as well as introducing many of its terms, such as locutionary act and illocutionary act.
Philosophy dictionary. Academic. 2011.