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Why We Need Ordinary Language Philosophy$
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Sandra Laugier

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780226470542

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226037554.001.0001

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Language as Given

Language as Given

Words, Differences, Agreements

(p.64) Chapter Six Language as Given
Why We Need Ordinary Language Philosophy

Sandra Laugier

Daniela Ginsburg

University of Chicago Press

This chapter presents Austin's way of resolving the question of language's “relation” to the real. Words, says Austin, are typically “medium sized dry goods”—our typical ordinary objects. This formulation resembles Quine's, but there is nothing physicalist about Austin's affirmation here. Words are not objects like others—in fact, no object is “an object like others” for Austin, who is distrustful of general appellations. We use words, and what makes words useful objects is their complexity, their refinement as tools—which makes studying them important so that one may also examine the things of this world. It is precisely the closeness in size between words and ordinary objects that makes this claim possible, and the concept of “size” is important for Austin.

Keywords:   language, words, objects, general appellations, austin

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