Austin on Perception, Knowledge and Meaning

In Savas L. Tsohatzidis (ed.), Interpreting J. L. Austin: Critical Essays. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press (2017)
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Abstract

Austin’s Sense and Sensibilia (1962) generates wildly different reactions among philosophers. Interpreting Austin on perception starts with a reading of this text, and this in turn requires reading into the lectures key ideas from Austin’s work on natural language and the theory of knowledge. The lectures paint a methodological agenda, and a sketch of some first-order philosophy, done the way Austin thinks it should be done. Crucially, Austin calls for philosophers to bring a deeper understanding of natural language meaning to bear as they do their tasks. In consequence Austin’s lectures provide a fascinating start—but only a start—on a number of key questions in the philosophy of perception.

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Krista Lawlor
Stanford University

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