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How to Do Things with Words: Second Edition (William James Lectures) (Englisch) Taschenbuch – 1. Juli 1975

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  • Taschenbuch: 168 Seiten
  • Verlag: Harvard University Press; Auflage: 2 (1. Juli 1975)
  • Sprache: Englisch
  • ISBN-10: 0674411528
  • ISBN-13: 978-0674411524
  • Größe und/oder Gewicht: 18,6 x 12,6 x 1,1 cm
  • Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: 5.0 von 5 Sternen  Alle Rezensionen anzeigen (2 Kundenrezensionen)
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This work sets out Austin's conclusions in the field to which he directed his main efforts for at least the last ten years of his life. Starting from an exhaustive examination of his already well-known distinction between performative utterances and statements, Austin here finally abandons that distinction, replacing it with a more general theory of 'illocutionary forces' of utterances which has important bearings on a wide variety of philosophical problems. -- Dieser Text bezieht sich auf eine andere Ausgabe: Taschenbuch.

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J. L. Austin is at University of Oxford. -- Dieser Text bezieht sich auf eine andere Ausgabe: Taschenbuch.

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Von Sebastian W. am 11. Mai 2012
Format: Taschenbuch
Als Empfehlung - Ein Klassiker der von jeden Anglisten gelesen werden solllte.
Gibt einen faszinierenden Einblick in die Macht der Wörter.
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3 von 17 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich Von Magdalena am 18. Mai 2000
Format: Taschenbuch
The mysterious force of language revealed by Austin is one of the most important discoveries in the modern language theories.
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Amazon.com: 19 Rezensionen
67 von 71 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
DEEDS AND NOT WORDS ALONE 23. September 2006
Von DAVID BRYSON - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch Verifizierter Kauf
The ancient Greeks constantly harped on the contrast between words and actions, provoking Housman's parody in his Fragment of a Greek Tragedy
`Oh! I am smitten with a hatchet's jaw,
And that in deed and not in word alone.'
It seems a simple and basic distinction, but when one thinks about it it's not so simple as it looks. If I say `John promises to do that' I am simply reporting John's action of promising; but if I say `I promise to do that' I am actually doing the promising by saying so. Certain forms of words are actions as well, and not just in the trivial sense that to say something is to perform the act of saying something. Moreover, forms of words that seem very similar in meaning turn out not to behave in identical ways. `Apologise' behaves much like `promise', in the sense that when I say `I apologise for my behaviour' I am performing the act of apologising. However when I say `I am sorry for my behaviour' I may or may not be apologising - I may be reporting my feeling of sorrow, as if I had said `I am sad about my behaviour.'

The general idea is very easy to grasp, but the amount of variety in the ordinary expressions we use can seem mind-boggling. What's the story on `bequeath' for instance? If I say in my will `I bequeath you 1 million $' and if I have 1 million $ to bequeath you then I am performing the act of bequeathing by saying so. However if I don't have it I am bequeathing you nothing , whatever I say. Similarly, if I say `I anoint you Archbishop of Peoria' simply saying so doesn't make you that. In the first place I need the authority to perform this act, in the second place I need something to anoint you with, and in the third place you need to be willing to be so anointed. However even if all these conditions are present I will still not have anointed you Archbishop unless I also say so. It all goes on and on. If I am your commanding officer and I say `I reprimand you' I am thereby carrying out the act of reprimanding. However if I say `I insult you' and leave it at that I have done no insulting. Again, if one says `In saying that he made a mistake' this does not mean that the person's act consisted of something called `making a mistake'. And so on.

The series of twelve lectures in this book hauls us through any amount of fine and subtle detail about these so-called `performative utterances'. Normally the best way to read a book is to start at the beginning, but that's not what I'd recommend here. Once you have the general idea (even from this short review) I'd say start at the last lecture, go on to the second-last, and only then go back to the start. If you plough through it starting at page 1 it seems a bit of a catalogue of instances, almost as if linguistic philosophy is reduced to sweeping up after some majestic cavalcade of lexicography has passed by. Austin is always Austin of course, not just lucid and brilliant but witty too - there is one of his inimitable mixed metaphors somewhere, something about letting cards out of the bag or putting cats on the table. However after a while one yearns for a top-down perspective, for generalisation. That comes in the final two chapters. The most important statement in the book is in chapter XI, where he says that `...what we have to study is not the sentence but the issuing of an utterance in a speech situation.' That may not be Austin's most felicitous expression, at least not when quoted out of context, but it enshrines his basic argument, one that holes much ordinary linguistic philosophy below the water-line, that verbal expressions on their own do not enable us to understand what is said. Indeed I wish he had gone further in pointing out that non-verbal factors, such as tone of voice or facial expression, can cast doubt on what the verbal expression is ostensibly saying. I could, for example, say `Oh I do apologise' in such a manner as to make it very clear that I mean nothing of the kind.

In the last chapter Austin produces a short set of categories of expression in an attempt to classify the mass of detail in the foregoing chapters. He does not profess to think them anything but provisional, and the terms he coins are monstrosities - behabitives, expositives, verdictives, exercitives and commissives. Be not afraid. He explains them with all his characteristic clarity, and when you have seen the outlines of the wood you can go back to the beginning and inspect the trees individually. As always, Austin is a spoiler, and rightly so. He trains his guns on the illegitimate tyranny of `true and false' that has bedevilled so much philosophical thinking, saying that these terms constitute `a dimension of assessment' and do not stand in some supposedly unique relationship to `facts'. This is only a review, and if you want to know how he means that you have to read him for himself. For me, Austin's way of putting things is enjoyable and his thinking is liberating to the mind. Much philosophy is, in another of his great expressions, barking up the wrong gum tree, and I am only too grateful that Austin lived long enough to save us from the same fate.
38 von 40 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
A technical, important work in the philosophy of language 1. Februar 2000
Von Ein Kunde - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch
This book presents Austin's (at the time) groundbreaking ideas on the performative aspects of speech, and his concept of speech-acts. This book was, I understand, incredibly influential in the field of linguistics, though it is now somewhat outdated. It is also fairly lucid, and should be readable by anyone who remembers basic grammar. That said, it is rather technical and pedantic, and a lot of the book seems more like a grammatical exposition than philosophy. This is just Austin's style of course, but it can wear on those without a specific interest in linguistics or in the philosophy of language. Outside the philosophy of language, the book has implications on the issues of truth/falsehood, and on the role of linguistic/performative standards in morality (anyone who has read Searle's influential essay, "How to Derive 'Ought' from 'Is'", can see it stemming largely from a single disagreement with this book).
39 von 43 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
A Brisk tour through Speech Act Theory 12. Juli 2001
Von JNeeley@mail.utexas.edu - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch
At many points, J.L. Austin's How to do Things with Words reads more like a linguistic textbook than a philosophy text. Whether you count this as a benifit or a distraction will depend on your disposition (it certainly beats reading Kant), but whatever your views on the subject, the work is a useful introduction to Speech Act Theory. How to do Things with Words examines a part of language that philosophy has traditionaly ignored, what he dubs the performative utterance. There are certain instances in language where to say something is do perform the very act you say, promising being the perinial example. If I say, under ordinary circumstances, "I promise to do x" then I have promised to do x. Using this seemingly magical fact as his starting point, Austin goes reach profound conclusions about the nature of language and philosophy. Though the tasks Austin sets out to accomplish are largely left uncompleted (he himself admits this) the book will give you the grounding you need to pursue other works in the field, such as those of Searle or Grice. Happy reading!
9 von 10 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
The Secret Language of Service 20. August 2012
Von Chauncey Bell - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch Verifizierter Kauf
We live in language, listening and speaking with each other. Every human invention happens in language. Our concerns, our institutions, our dreams, our families and communities, and our projects are constructed first in language. This book is about how that happens (not just in English, but in every language).

Here is the fundamental structure of the language of business, innovation, design, politics, social relations, the construction of trust in our communities, and much more.

Our children study language throughout their school years, and no one ever teaches them that if they want to cause something to happen, they must make a request or an offer. If, in our notes and letters, meetings and speeches, arguments and efforts to convince and market, we don't do the action of uttering or communicating a request or an offer, then whatever actions that occur afterwards are all but accidental. "Requests" and "Offers" are two classes of Professor Austin's performative verbs. We teach our children how to be politically correct in their speaking, but not how to make things happen. How can that be?

I think that should be enough to build more interest in this wonderful little book. I recommend it highly.

However, there are two more things that I want to say about the book.

First, I urge the potential reader not to be deceived. This jewel is walking around in a disguise. The book is assembled from talks that Austin gave in 1955 at Harvard University. The language of "the analytic philosophy of language" has served as a successful strategy for hiding the profound relevance of Austin's work for our everyday lives.

From the picture of him available on the Internet, John Langshaw Austin was the perfect 20th Century Oxford Don -- a super-geek. What is not visible there is that he was an enormously pragmatic and wise man. For a key example, during World War II, Austin led the Allied intelligence efforts leading up to D Day.

Second, and much more important for our world today, in this little book, Austin opens for us the language of the era that we have now entered -- the era of services. For the last few decades the economy of the United States has been predominantly an economy of services. Over 90% of the exchanges that make up our economy come from services. (Remember that inside manufacturing, agribusiness, and extraction industries are vast service networks.) Our business leaders have not yet discovered that the language that we currently use for understanding what we do in business is archaic and obsolete. We speak of inputs, processes, and outputs, flows of things and data, resources, assets, and information.

Services are not constructed in the same way that clocks and automobiles are constructed. They are not things. They are social constructions, built in networks of requests and promises, and in trusting relationships between people speaking and listening to each other, today increasingly through electronic media.

This is a book about the language of service.

I recommend it.
7 von 8 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
One of the most influential works of philosophy of the 20th century 25. Juli 2010
Von Robert Moore - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch
Along with his crucial essay "Performative Utterances," J. L. Austin's HOW TO DO THINGS WITH WORDS stands as one of the most influential philosophical works of the twentieth century. By "influence" I mean actual, concrete alteration in the ways that people thought within the philosophical discipline. If you read extensively in works in philosophy of language in the analytic tradition from the interwar period and the period immediately after WW II, the writing about what constitutes "making sense" in language is absolutely nutty. Reading Carnap, Russell, A. J. Ayer, Feigl, and the early Wittgenstein, you get a picture of language that is unrecognizable. The theory of language they espoused, widely known as Logical Positivism, privileges the kind of sentences used in scientific discourse, sentences that are open to verification by scientific standards.

Now, to be fair, most people don't realize that the so-called Logical Positivists did not write off the world of nonverifiable discourse as worthless. This came out as early as Wittgenstein of the TRACTATUS period, where he stated that the things that one could not "speak" about (i.e., state in verifiable discourse) were more important than those about which one could. Similarly, most philosophers are unaware that Rudolph Carnap loved the writings of Soren Kierkegaard, though he would classify all his writings as "nonsense" by his theory of language, just as his love of Beethoven could not be justified by the same standards. Many non-philosophers rightfully felt that there was something batty about this whole way of looking at language, of dismissing not only most ordinary language, but also the language of politics, aesthetics, religion, and ethics. Most people felt uneasy with a theory of meaning that transformed the "real" meaning of "murder is wrong" to "I feel that murder is wrong."

The theory of meaning put forward by the logical positivists began to unravel due to the work of the so-called ordinary language philosophers, as well as Wittgenstein in his later period during which he returned to Cambridge to teach philosophy. Gilbert Ryle and J. L. Austin did some of the most important immediate work in showing many of the shortcomings of logical positivism.

Austin did this by showing a wide range of sentences that simply fell outside the theory of meaning put forward by the logical positivists. Carnap and Ayer and Co. had no way to account for sentences like "I do" as uttered in a wedding ceremony. Austin was able to identify a number of sentences that he christened "performative utterances," that were not referential in their meaning, but were themselves actions. This was a small initial move, but this drove a wedge into the verificationist theory of meaning.

A couple of readers have labeled this book difficult. That baffles me. This is one of the most clearly written, easy-to-read works of philosophy that I have ever read. It is a model of clarity and exceptionally easy to understand as long as you have some understanding of the larger philosophical context. If you are unaware of the strain of philosophy that runs from Gottlob Frege to his two major students (the early) Wittgenstein and Carnap, and the work of the nonpopular work by Bertrand Russell and the group influenced by their work you may lack the grasp of the context. But given the context, this is as easy to read as any work of philosophy you will encounter. The book had a huge impact not only in undermining the logical positivists but in making Anglo-American philosophers attentive to the complexity of human language. If you compare the work of the logical positivists with that of various linguists like Ferdinand de Saussure, it is clear what a truncated conception of language they were working with. Austin, Ryle, and especially the later Wittgenstein got English language philosophers onto a more promising path of understanding language. Additionally, specific works of philosophy such as John Searle's SPEECH ACTS are direct offshoots from Austin's work.

J. L. Austin is not a major philosopher. He will not be remembered in the same way as Wittgenstein or John Rawls or even (the early) Bertrand Russell, but he is a philosopher who left some important philosophical work that will long be studied. This book is one of them; the other are the essays collected in his PHILOSOPHICAL PAPERS. And he will always be important for understanding the development of the philosophy of language in the English speaking world in the second half of the Twentieth Century.
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