Wittgenstein’s influence on Austin’s philosophy of language

British Journal for the History of Philosophy 26 (2):371-395 (2018)
  Copy   BIBTEX


Many philosophers have assumed, without argument, that Wittgenstein influenced Austin. More often, however, this is vehemently denied, especially by those who knew Austin personally. We compile and assess the currently available evidence for Wittgenstein’s influence on Austin’s philosophy of language. Surprisingly, this has not been done before in any detail. On the basis of both textual and circumstantial evidence we show that Austin’s work demonstrates substantial engagement with Wittgenstein’s later philosophy. In particular, Austin’s 1940 paper, ‘The Meaning of a Word’, should be construed as a direct response to and development of ideas he encountered in Wittgenstein’s Blue Book. Moreover, we argue that Austin’s mature speech-act theory in How to Do Things with Words was also significantly influenced by Wittgenstein.

Similar books and articles

Intentionally Suffering?Charles Travis - forthcoming - In Michael O'Sullivan (ed.), ?? Oxford University Press.
Symposium on J. L. Austin.K. T. Fann - 1969 - New York: Humanities P..
Wittgenstein's solutions to the color exclusion problem.James Austin - 1980 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 41 (September-December):142-149.
Language without linguistics.Justin Leiber - 1999 - Synthese 120 (2):193-211.
Literalism and imagination: Wittgenstein's deconstruction of traditional philosophy.David Pears - 2002 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 10 (1):3 – 16.
On Parasitic Language: Austin and Derrida.Manjulika Ghosh - 2008 - Proceedings of the Xxii World Congress of Philosophy 39:43-48.
Philosophical Papers.J. L. Austin - 1961 - Oxford University Press.
Why We Need Ordinary Language Philosophy.Sandra Laugier - 2013 - London: University of Chicago Press.
Out of the Ordinary: incorporating limits with Austin and Derrida.Emma Williams - 2014 - Educational Philosophy and Theory 46 (12):1337-1352.


Added to PP

1,015 (#7,197)

6 months
265 (#1,744)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author Profiles

Daniel W. Harris
Hunter College (CUNY)
Elmar Unnsteinsson
University College Dublin

Citations of this work

No citations found.

Add more citations

References found in this work

Knowledge and its Limits.Timothy Williamson - 2000 - Oxford University Press.
Philosophical Investigations.Ludwig Josef Johann Wittgenstein - 1953 - New York, NY, USA: Wiley-Blackwell.
Language, Truth and Logic.Alfred Jules Ayer - 1936 - London: V. Gollancz.
Knowledge and Its Limits.Timothy Williamson - 2000 - Philosophy 76 (297):460-464.

View all 82 references / Add more references