John L. Austin was one of the leading philosophers of the twentieth century. The William James Lectures presented Austin's conclusions in the field to which he directed his main efforts on a wide variety of philosophical problems. These talks became the classic How to Do Things with Words.
For this second edition, the editors have returned to Austin's original lecture notes, amending the printed text where it seemed necessary. Students will find the new text clearer, and, at the same time, more faithful to the actual lectures. An appendix contains literal transcriptions of a number of marginal notes made by Austin but not included in the text. Comparison of the text with these annotations provides new dimensions to the study of Austin's work.
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J. L. Austin was a British philosopher of language.Review:
Immensely worth reading...What is made available here is a choice work by one of the most acute and original minds that England has produced in our time...The myth that Oxford philosophers in general, and Austin in particular, do nothing but examine the details of ordinary linguistic usage should be exploded once and for all by this new book. (Times Literary Supplement)
Austin had an extraordinarily keen ear for the subtleties of English and a remarkable sensitivity to the aptness of one expression as opposed to another in a given linguistic situation. To read him is not only a pleasure; it is also to learn much about English and to gain a new respect for its proper use. (The Massachusetts Review)
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