J. L. Austin-Sense and Sensibilia -Oxford University Press, USA ().pdf - Ebook download as PDF File .pdf), Text File .txt) or read book online. Sense and Sensibilia (): J. L. Austin, G. J. Warnock: Books. Austin: Sense & Sensibilia Revisited. When John Langshaw Austin died in he had published only seven papers, together with a translation into English of.

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first used the title 'Sense and Sensibilia' in Trinity Sensibilia' were given for the last time in Oxford in word, what Austin actually said in his lectures; nor, of. Sense and sensibilia. Front Cover. John Langshaw Austin, Geoffrey James Warnock. Clarendon Bibliographic information. QR code for Sense and sensibilia. The clarity, the wit, and the patience of the writing are liable to deceive the reader on only one point, namely the amount of hard work that lies behind these.

They might achieve this by, for example, their use on a particular occasion of the present tense, or by pointing, etc. According to Austin, a stating by use of that sentence would be correct if the thing selected in the stating via the demonstrative conventions were sufficiently like standard situations or states of affairs in which a selected thing is red.


So, we rely on the existence of a range of standard instances that are assumed to be of the required type. We can see that the thing selected in this stating, via the demonstrative conventions, is now in various ways similar and dissimilar from those standard instances. The question we need to answer is this: Is this thing of the same type as the standard instances with respect to its colour? That is, is it the same colour as they are?

According to Austin, we cannot answer that question simply by looking. In an at least attenuated sense we must make a decision as to whether the present instance is, in relevant respects, sufficiently similar to the standard instances as to mandate treating it as of the very same type. To that extent, they do not alone determine which propositional statements are true of them.

The things to which true statings correspond, then, are in at least that sense particulars see 2 above. The things to which statings correspond, then, appear to be quite different from facts as the latter are commonly understood by philosophers.

And it seems that elements of that type would mandate the correctness of one or another classification. Second, Austin sketches a view of propositional fact talk on which it is used as a way of indirectly denoting particulars as the elements that make the specified propositions true.

It may be, for example, that for certain purposes an historic state of affairs involving a rose is sufficiently like standard situations involving red things as to warrant sameness of classification, while for different purposes its likeness is outweighed by its dissimilarities from the standard cases.

Moreover, what are counted as standard cases may vary with the purposes operative in attempting to classify, and may shift as new cases come to be counted as of a specific type.

Sentences as such are not either true or false. See also 40—41, 65 And the circumstances can matter in a variety of ways, not simply by supplying, or failing to supply, an appropriate array of facts: …in the case of stating truly or falsely, just as in the case of advising well or badly, the intents and purposes of the utterance and its context are important; what is judged true in a school book may not be so judged in a work of historical research.

J. L. Austin-Sense and Sensibilia -Oxford University Press, USA (1962).pdf

Did Lord Raglan then win the battle of Alma or did he not? Second, is what is stated in using that sentence on a particular occasion, true? In order for the first question to get an affirmative answer, every use of the sentence would have to be—or issue in a statement that is—true.

By contrast, there is no reason to deny that the things that are stated in using the sentence on occasions are true: in particular, there is no reason to deny that what is stated by the schoolbook occurrence of the sentence is true. We should avoid a possible misunderstanding of Austin here. His argument shows, at most, that whatever combines with the facts to determine a particular truth-value varies from occasion to occasion. That does nothing to dislodge the natural view that a sentence can carry its meaning with it from occasion to occasion, and thus possess a literal meaning.

However, if we wish to retain that idea, we must give up on the idea that sentence meaning simply combines with the facts that are being spoken about to determine truth-value: we must reject the idea that sentence meanings determine truth-conditions. Plausibly, we should also give up the idea that meaning alone determines what is stated at least insofar as the latter determines truth-conditions. In taking this line, we would reject views of meaning according to which it is given by appeal to truth-conditions.

Well, if you like, up to a point; of course I can see what you mean by saying that it is true for certain intents and purposes. It is good enough for a top-ranking general, perhaps, but not for a geographer… How can one answer this question, whether it is true or false that France is hexagonal? It is a rough description; it is not a true or a false one. However, he suggests that, in some cases, the circumstances of utterance may be such that no truth-evaluable statement is made by the use of a sentence.

In that case, there would be nothing to go on, in seeking to establish whether the utterance was true or false, other than the words used, given their meanings. But those words might have been used to make a variety of statements, statements whose truth or falsehood depends on the facts in a variety of ways.

Hence, unless we are willing to allow that the utterance is both true and false, we should withhold that mode of assessment: although such an utterance would involve a perfectly meaningful sentence, it would fail to be either true or false. Austin thought that our uses of words are always liable to that sort of failure, especially when we are doing philosophy. When used in cases that are out of the ordinary, or in the absence of the background required to sustain the statement of truths or falsehoods, words might—in that sense—fail us.

Austin makes no claims to generality for the account of truth that he sketches. Potential pressure points here include statements whose expression involves negation see a: —, fn. The three main options open to the defender of Austin here are the following.

Second, it might be allowed that some such cases require distinctive treatment, but argued that they can still be connected with the account Austin offers as further species of the truth-genus. Third, an attempt might be made to argue that some such cases are so distinctive that the forms of positive appraisal that are appropriate to them are not really forms of appraisal as to truth. However, we can at least consider some ways in which Austin might be thought to give an explanatory role to truth, or to deny it such a role.

However, Austin often characterizes truth and falsity themselves as, in effect, mere labels for positive and negative poles, respectively, in a variety of more specific forms of appraisal. Like freedom, truth is a bare minimum or an illusory ideal the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth about, say, the battle of Waterloo or the Primavera.

There are numerous specific forms of positive appraisal that we employ with respect to statings: they might be fair, reasonable, accurate, precise, adequate, satisfactory and so forth. Recall that Austin would have taken each form of assessment to be occasion-bound: a matter, for example, of what would be fair and reasonable to judge on this particular occasion.

To that extent, it differs from some stronger forms of deflationism on which no truth-related mode of positive appraisal plays a non-derivative explanatory role.

Sense and Sensibilia: Reconstructed from the Manuscript Notes by C.J. Warnock

Moreover, the view can take more or less radical forms. Its most radical form treats truth as a mere disjunction of the more specific modes of positive appraisal, with no uniform underlying commonality amongst those specific modes.

That view would be a distinctive form of deflationism about truth, since it would reject the idea that truth per se plays an essential role in explanation. Its less radical form allows that truth might impose a uniform necessary condition on the specific modes of positive appraisal, and thereby play an essential role, through its government of the specific modes, in the explanation of what is stated in statings.

See also the discussions of this paper in Chisholm and Warnock 47— Williams The second reason is based on the fact that any sentence can be used in performing a variety of linguistic acts. Although in stating, we typically produce statements that are assessable as true or false, in performing other linguistic acts, we need not produce things that are assessable in that way. The second reason depends, then, on two sub-claims: first, that whether a sentence is used on an occasion to make a statement—more generally, something truth-assessable—is dependent on more than just what it means; second, that some uses of sentences to perform linguistic acts other than the making of statements are not properly assessable as true or false.

Roughly, the distinction is a generalisation of distinctions between genuine assertions and mock assertions in fiction or on the stage. Jacques Derrida challenged the standing of the distinction and the priority that Austin seemed to accord to some of what he counted as serious uses. See Derrida and Searle For recent discussion of aspects of the controversy see de Gaynesford , A.

Moore , Richmond Austin presents the second reason for why sentences do not conspire with the facts to determine truth-values in considering whether there is a useful distinction to be drawn between indicative sentences that are used to make statements—which Austin labels constatives—and sentences that are useable in the performance of some act—which Austin labels performatives or sometimes performatory topic 2 above.

About these examples, Austin writes: In these examples it seems clear that to utter the sentence in, of course, the appropriate circumstances is not to describe my doing of what I should be said in so uttering to be doing…[fn.

Still less anything that I have already done or have yet to do.

None of the utterances cited is either true or false: I assert this as obvious and do not argue it. However, four features of his presentation suggest that his view is not so straightforward. First, Austin presents the issue as concerning the classification by use of utterances of types of sentence, and we have already seen that he is in general sceptical about alleged associations between sentences and their occasional uses. Second, Austin fails here, and elsewhere, to offer serious arguments for his assertion that none of the cited utterances is either true or false.

Austin goes on to discuss two apparently quite different modes of assessment for utterances of the two apparently different types. Constatives, as already noted, are assessed along the dimension of truth and falsehood.

By contrast, performatives are assessed along dimensions of happiness and unhappiness, or felicity and infelicity. First, there are misfires: …if we…utter the formula incorrectly, or if…we are not in a position to do the act because we are…married already, or it is the purser and not the captain who is conducting the ceremony, then the act in question, …marrying, is not successfully performed at all, …[it] is not achieved.

That would depend, not only on the basic claim that actions of those types per se are not true or false, but also on the claim that particular actions of those types are not also of other types that are assessable as true or false. But as Austin points out, those examples might also involve other things being done—e.

And the structure of Austin b bears out that assessment. Although much of the book seems to be devoted to pursuit of a distinction between performatives and constatives, none of the attempts succeeds.

It is possible, but implausible, that in the course of the lectures Austin found that he was unable to draw a distinction that he thought should be drawn.

Rather it is to argue—through the failures of various attempts to draw the distinction—that there is no such simple distinction—no sorting of sentences into those apt for performative, and those apt for constative, use. Austin argues against the distinction by appeal to the fact that the same forms of assessment are applicable to utterances apparently of both sorts: …unhappiness…seems to characterize both kinds of utterance, not merely the performative; and…the requirement of conforming or bearing some relation to the facts, different in different cases, seems to characterize performatives… b: 91 Attempts to make a statement are liable both to misfires and abuses.

And an attempt might be an abuse if the speaker failed to believe that France was hexagonal. More generally, it is often impossible to decide, just from the words a speaker uses, whether their utterance is susceptible to one or another form of assessment.

From the wreckage of the initial distinction, Austin assembles a new model topic 3 above. The new model is founded on distinctions among various kinds of thing speakers do—various acts they perform—when they produce an utterance. The locutionary act: the production of an utterance that can be classified by its phonetic, grammatical, and lexical characteristics, up to sentence meaning the phatic act.

It is also the performance of an act that can be classified by its content the rhetic act —a feature distinctively of acts of speech. The illocutionary act: an act classifiable not only by its content—as with the locutionary act—but also by its force stating, warning, promising, etc. However, my actions are instances of different illocutionary acts: one has the force of a promise, while the other has the force of a statement b: 98— If I warn that the ice is thin, and so perform one illocutionary act, I may thereby perform a variety of perlocutionary acts: I may persuade someone to avoid it, or encourage someone to take a risk, and so forth b: What did Austin think was important about the illocutionary act?

And what did he think were the dangers inherent in failing to mark it off from the other types? Austin appears to have thought that the various modes of assessment that he discusses—e. Another point—and perhaps the point of primary importance—is that Austin thought that philosophers have had a tendency to view assessments as to truth as applying most fundamentally to locutionary acts.

Moreover, he thought that philosophers had conceived locutionary acts, not as abstractions from illocutionary acts, but rather as things that might be done without any illocutionary purpose, just by virtue of the linguistic expressions employed or their meanings. By contrast, Austin held that locutionary acts are abstracted from instances of illocutionary acts, and that assessment as to truth is directed most fundamentally to the illocutionary act.

For Austin, then, assessment as to truth is of a piece with various forms of assessment as to happiness, etc. He writes: The truth or falsity of statements is affected by what they leave out or put in and by their being misleading, and so on.

Reflection on the assessment of actions in which we speak and the speech acts that classify them indicates two things: first, the distinction between assessment as to happiness and assessment as to truth is ultimately unprincipled; and, second, some mixture of various types of assessment applies to all, or nearly all, utterances.

Exploiting the various modes of appraisal to distinguish five very general classes of speech act verbs, Austin writes that They are…quite enough to play Old Harry with two fetishes which I admit to an inclination to play Old Harry with, viz. The suggestion is susceptible of a weaker and a stronger reading.

Sense and Sensibilia: Reconstructed from the Manuscript Notes by C.J. Warnock

On the weaker reading, the suggestion is to the effect that, when the assessment of an utterance is at issue, it is essential to consider the force or forces that attach to the illocutionary act or acts thereby performed. Since various such acts may have been performed, and since assessment of each act involves consideration of a mix of facts and values, there is no clean way of sorting utterances on the basis either of whether or not their primary mode of assessment is on the true-false dimension, or of whether their primary function is the expression of fact, rather than the expression of value.

That leaves open that, with respect to at least some speech acts, a locutionary core—a proposition, or propositions, or propositional-like element—may be assessed in a way that makes no reference to force, for example, along the true-false dimension. On the stronger reading, the claim would be that it is not possible to detach a locutionary core from the force with which it is expressed in such a way that that core can be assessed without reference to force.

The capacities are inherently limited in that there are bound to exist cases with respect to which they are insufficiently reliable to give rise to knowledge. And they are inherently fallible in that, even in the most propitious circumstances, it is possible that their exercise is unsuccessful.

The risk of fallibility is liable to increase, of course, as the capacities approach the limits within which their application is reliable. A consequence of 3 and 4 is that foundationalism is undercut: there are no foundational claims that are especially infallible; and there are no non-foundational claims that are distinctively fallible. It is possible for our judgmental capacities to misfire with respect to any subject matter, including e.

Three further side claims that have assumed some importance in recent work are the following.

See a Problem?

First, Austin points out that one who claims to know may be challenged to explain how they know, while someone who claims to believe may be challenged to explain why they believe. But memory and recognition are often uncertain and unreliable. The things we perceive are not presented to us as already classified into types. Yet propositional knowledge essentially involves classification: for example, we know that that thing is a pig. In order to know, we must exercise judgmental capacities, taking stands with respect to the ways the things, features, events, and states of affairs are.

We must classify the elements into types based on their similarities with elements that we have already classified into types. He never quite endorses the condition. For given that he holds that judgmental capacities are inherently fallible 3 above , it would follow that we can never know anything. The human intellect and senses are, indeed, inherently fallible and delusive, but not inveterately so.

And it is open to him to hold that if the exercise of judgmental capacities is to give rise to knowledge, those capacities must be reliable in the circumstances in which they are exercised and given the way they are exercised on that occasion e. Foundationalism typically involves the following three claims. First, many of the ordinary judgments that we make—for example, judgments to the effect that there is a pig here—are inherently risky in the following sense.

Second, some of the judgments we make, or could make, are not inherently risky: for example, where we are careful only to judge about how things presently appear to us, the judgments we make carry no risk of error.

Third, then, if our aim is to achieve absolute security, we should avoid judgments of the first sort except insofar as they are securely based upon judgments of the second sort. On one view of this type, the first sort of judgment would be taken to provide evidence on which judgments of the second sort are based.

In this book, Austin offers examples for each type of performatives mentioned above. Inexplicit performative is opposite, so receiver will have understandable doubts. For primary performative, the example Austin gave is "I shall be there". Compared with explicit performative, there is uncertainty in implicit persormative. People might ask if he or she is promising to be there with primary performative, however, this uncertainty is not strong enough as in inexplicit performative.

Most examples given are explicit because it is easy to identify and observe, and identifying other performatives requires to compare and contrast with explicit performative. Ayer in The Foundations of Empirical Knowledge. Central to his case is an attack on a common argument from illusion i.

Ayer responded to this critique in the essay "Has Austin refuted the sense-datum theory? Rather than start with the varied things we see—say, pens, rainbows, and after-images—philosophers tend to ask facilely for a general kind of thing and wind up unfair to the facts and to language while using "a certain special, happy style of blinkering philosophical English," Austin says.

Philosophical Papers Austin's papers were collected and published posthumously as Philosophical Papers by J. Urmson and Geoffrey Warnock. The book originally contained ten papers, two more being added in the second edition and one in the third. His paper Excuses has had a massive impact on criminal law theory.

The question set dealing with the existence of a priori concepts is treated only indirectly, by dismissing the concept of concept that underpins it. The first part of this paper takes the form of a reply to an argument for the existence of Universals : from observing that we do use words such as "grey" or "circular" and that we use a single term in each case, it follows that there must be a something that is named by such terms—a universal.

Furthermore, since each case of "grey" or "circular" is different, it follows that universals themselves cannot be sensed. Austin carefully dismantles this argument, and in the process other transcendental arguments.

He points out first that universals are not "something we stumble across", and that they are defined by their relation to particulars. He continues by pointing out that, from the observation that we use "grey" and "circular" as if they were the names of things, it simply does not follow that there is something that is named. In the process he dismisses the notion that "words are essentially proper names", asking " In the second part of the article, he generalizes this argument against universals to address concepts as a whole.

He points out that it is "facile" to treat concepts as if they were "an article of property". Such questions as "Do we possess such-and-such a concept" and "how do we come to possess such-and-such a concept" are meaningless, because concepts are not the sort of thing that one possesses.

In the final part of the paper, Austin further extends the discussion to relations, presenting a series of arguments to reject the idea that there is some thing that is a relation.

His argument likely follows from the conjecture of his colleague, S. Tezlaf, who questioned what makes "this" "that". Austin warns us to take care when removing words from their ordinary usage, giving numerous examples of how this can lead to error.

Although Austin agrees with 2 , quipping that "we should be in a pretty predicament if I did", he found 1 to be false and 3 to be therefore unnecessary. The background assumption to 1 , Austin claims, is that if I say that I know X and later find out that X is false, I did not know it. Austin believes that this is not consistent with the way we actually use language.

He claims that if I was in a position where I would normally say that I know X, if X should turn out to be false, I would be speechless rather than self-corrective. He gives an argument that this is so by suggesting that believing is to knowing as intending is to promising— knowing and promising are the speech-act versions of believing and intending respectively.

Although their uses are similar, Austin argues that with the right examples we can see that a distinction exists in when one or the other phrase is appropriate. Austin proposes some curious philosophical tools. For instance, he uses a sort of word game for developing an understanding of a key concept. This involves taking up a dictionary and finding a selection of terms relating to the key concept, then looking up each of the words in the explanation of their meaning.

This process is iterated until the list of words begins to repeat, closing in a "family circle" of words relating to the key concept.It is certain, for instance, that we should not be prepared to speak of indirect perception in every case in which we see something from which the existence or occurrence of something else can be inferred; we should not say we see the guns indirectly, if we see in the distance only the flashes of guns.

But do I hear a shout indirectly, when I hear the echo? Austin warns us to take care when removing words from their ordinary usage, giving numerous examples of how this can lead to error. Tied up in prison?

And even so-even though the plain man certainly does not accept anything like so many cases as cases of being 'deceived by his senses' as philosophers seem to-it would certainly be quite wrong to suggest that he regards all the cases he does accept as being of just the same kind.

Certainly, there is a line to be drawn somewhere. Sense and Sensibilia 5 Consider next what is said here about deception.

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