Ordinary Language Philosophy as Phenomenological Research: Reading Austin with Merleau-Ponty

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In his late ‘A Plea for Excuses’, John L. Austin suggests labelling his philosophy ‘linguistic phenomenology’. This article examines which idea of phenomenology Austin had in mind when he coined this term and what light this sheds on his method. It is argued that the key to answering this question can be found in Merleau-Ponty’s Phenomenology of Perception, which Austin must have been familiar with. Merleau-Ponty presents phenomenology in a way Austin could embrace: it is a method, it aims at description and uses reduction, it is a non-idealistic study of essence, and interprets intentionality as ‘operative’. In this light, Austin’s method can be appreciated more fully.
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Archival date: 2021-07-18
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