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Subject Philosophy

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405106795.2004.x


P hilosophy of language J. L. Austin 's term for utterances such as “John is running,” which state, report, or describe facts in the world. The utterance “John is running,” depends for its truth or falsity on whether it is the case that John is running. Here the act or fact and the utterance are distinct and the former decides the truth of the latter. Most language clearly belongs to this kind of utterance. Constative utterances are contrasted with performative utterances, which have a similar linguistic structure but do not issue true or false statements about the world. However, Austin was not satisfied with this distinction, and he later replaced it with his theory of illocutionary acts . “Not all true or false statements are descriptions, and for this reason I prefer to use the word ‘Constative’.” Austin, How to Do Things with Words ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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