J. L. Austin  

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"There's the bit where you say it and the bit where you take it back"; "Sense and Sensibilia", p. 2


"Our common stock of words embodies all the distinctions men have found worth drawing, and the connexions they have found worth marking, in the lifetimes of many generation; these surely are likely to be more numerous, more sound, since they have stood up to the long test of thee survival of the fittest, and more subtle, at least in all ordinary and reasonably practical matters, than any that you or I are likely to think up in our armchair of an afternoon-the most favoured alternative method." --"A Plea for Excuses"

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John Langshaw "J. L." Austin (26 March 1911 – 8 February 1960) was a British philosopher and leading proponent of ordinary language philosophy, perhaps best known for developing the theory of speech acts.

Austin pointed out that we use language to do things as well as to assert things, and that the utterance of a statement like "I promise to do so-and-so" is best understood as doing something — making a promise — rather than making an assertion about anything. Hence the name of one of his best-known works How to Do Things with Words.

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