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Revolution of the OrdinaryLiterary Studies after Wittgenstein, Austin, and Cavell$
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Toril Moi

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780226464305

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226464589.001.0001

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(p.1) Introduction
Revolution of the Ordinary

Toril Moi

University of Chicago Press

Ordinary language philosophy (OLP) is the philosophical tradition after Wittgenstein and Austin as constituted and extended by Cavell. OLP is also influenced by Diamond. The introduction provides a road-map of the book. It discusses the neglected status of OLP in literary studies today. In relation to the exhausted, yet still dominant post-Saussurean tradition in literary studies, OLP represents a paradigm-shift, providing a much needed new vision of language and theory in literary studies. Yet it has proven difficult for readers trained in the post-Saussurean tradition to perceive the revolutionary difference of OLP. Misunderstandings arise because of OLP's “intimate conflicts” with analytic philosophy and with deconstruction (their concerns look the same, but are in fact quite different). What do Wittgenstein and Diamond mean when they say that a particular philosophical view has the “wrong picture” of how a phenomenon works? Ending on a discussion of Wittgenstein's quest for philosophical clarity, the introduction stresses that this book, like other utterances, is at once an act of self-expression and an appeal to others. We write in search of community. But there is no guarantee that one will be found. To write is to risk rebuff.

Keywords:   J. L. Austin, Stanley Cavell, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Cora Diamond, misunderstanding, Ferdinand de Saussure, post-Saussurean tradition, ordinary language philosophy, clarity, picture

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