• Antony Nickles
    237
    I am making the claim that Ordinary Language Philosophy is a philosophically-sound methodology that is relevant to revolutionizing modern analytical philosophy. ("OLP"--exemplified by Wittgenstein, Nietzsche , J.L. Austin, and Stanley Cavell)

    To start, roughly, OLP is an analytic* philosophical method that investigates what Witt terms "our concepts"** (say, practices) by making claims about each concept's "criteria" (though not as a standard of justification) or "Grammar" Witt will call them, e.g., ordinary implications, consequences, ways of judging, what counts for identity, etc., which allow us to discuss more usefully and see deeper into philosophical issues, and learn about ourselves.

    The method is to ask or imagine, as Austin says: what do we ordinarily imply ("mean") when we say…, e.g., “I know”, "I think", "I forget", "I apologize", which also involves fleshing out the context that would go along with that case***. As an example, when we ordinarily say an action was done accidently rather than mistakenly, we can imagine a case (a context): that “the gun went off in my hands and killed the donkey” (accidently), as opposed to: “I did want to kill the cow, but hit the donkey instead” (mistakenly) (Austin's example). The example allows us to see what is usually skipped over unexamined; to describe what “actions” are and how they work, e.g., that “intention” does not come up in every circumstances (when asked about a mistake) and how moral culpability works (Austin will talk of excuses—“The donkey just walked in the way!”).

    These claims--about the usually unexamined "criteria" (say, workings) of our "concepts" (again, just a grouping term) seen by imagining examples of what we mean (imply, what follows) when we say, e.g., "I know"; these descriptions of the criteria of our concepts are provisional claims, yet made in the name of everyone, because they are for anyone to look and see for themselves. There is no further justification. OLP philosophers can then discuss insights from these claims about the issues of philosophy.

    So we would come up with circumstances (the contexts) when we say, as an example (from Malcolm): "I know" and then see and describe what those instances imply about our various criteria for that concept. And that a concept can have multiple options ("senses" Witt says--ways the make sense) or ways in which the can be used in different contexts.

    One sense of "I Know" is that I am certain: "I know when the sun will rise today"; the criteria for this might be that I can give evidence of that certainty, etc. This appears to be philosophy's one and only use and preoccupation. Second, we can say "I know New York", as in: I know my way around; I can show you; Third, I know (knew) that, as in to confirm or agree with what you said; and Fourth, I know, as in to sympathize with you. Cavell uses this last sense to shed light on our knowledge of another's pain--we don't "know it" in the first sense, we acknowledge it, recognize and accept the claim their expression of pain makes on me.

    Leaving that brief explanation*** I’ll point out some misconceptions about OLP, used to dismiss its method/contribution. The usual dismissals are:
    1. That OLP is easy to understand and not revolutionizing; that it is simply another argument of justification or solving skepticism not require re-evaluating an unseen picture created by traditional philosophy.
    2. That it is an argument in ordinary language, or an argument for ordinary language."
    3. That the Grammar or criteria of these concepts are what is consciously used to explain the concept to regular people, or that they are regularly used in deciding what to say under a concept.
    4. That OLP is pitting people’s ordinary opinions and regular words against the arguments of philosophers (OLP is working within the tradition).
    5 That "context" is just what is happening at the moment, and not what is important ( about that, about our history in this concept, etc.) to what can be implied from what is said.
    6. That OLP is just “about language” and not the (ways of the) world, culture, politics, philosophy's issues.
    7. That OLP is a theory of general "langauge use", meaning, rationality, etc. rather than a method for insight.
    8. That what we mean when we say____, is not subject to evidence, rigour, rationality, clarity, including the larger picture.
    9. That representationalism, positivism, metaphysics, etc. are "wrong" and OLP is "right" on the same terms, rather than showing us we were confused, blind to ourselves (the entire picture ignoring our real needs/desires);
    10. OLP is didactically explaining to everyone how, say, an apology works, in order to get them to act a certain way.
    11. That Grammar are rules to explain everything or ensure a particular usage, rather than suppositions to shed light on philosophical issues.
    12. That OLP is making statements about how language works (true explanations), rather than claims of description to be seen by you, or better fleshed out, finding a more fitting context.
    13. This is simply an empirical popularity contest of what most people say (or sociology).
    14. That OLP is simply conservatively limiting what can be said philosophically.
    15. That OLP is saying or showing that language is simple, or works simply, dismissing or not interested in, or applicable to, philosophy's honest concerns (skepticism, the problem of other, identity, etc.),
    16. That OLP is dismissing philosophy (and skepticism) with “common sense”. This is exacerbated by some OLP philosophers (Moore, Kripke, etc.) making mistakes in saying that everyone knows the world (my hand) exists; or claiming that language is about social agreement, or rules, or “forms of life”; or saying philosophy is nonsense.
    17. That Witt blames philosophy's problems on language, rather than on:
    a). philosophy's desire/need for language to meet its standard;
    b). the possibility in language to allow us to bewitch ourselves in that way, its ability to seem uprooted (isolated words) and so appearing to need the roots traditional philosophy searches for; and
    c) ordinary criteria's inability to defend itself.

    You may have noted the “necessity” that OLP claims, mentioned above, which is that, to be an accident (and not a mistake), certain things MUST be (are being claimed necessary to being) the case. One appears to be: a mistake requires an intended action, where an accident does not. This is part of the Grammar of these concepts: if you have no intention, you can not be making a mistake--showing that not every action is "intended", nor every movement an “action”. Traditionally, philosophy has removed the context around "intention" (as with “meaning” “reality”), which starts a slippery slope--ending in traditional philosophy's desire for a universal theory of meaning--which OLP is trying to come back from through many examples of the different ordinary workings and criteria of our concepts in a context.

    OLP is making its claims for everyone, in a universal voice as Kant says about the Beautiful (see the post “Can Aesthetics be Objective” @Possibility). The voice is not dogmatic (though Nietzsche, Witt, and especially Austin are seen as so fervent that people take their claims of criteria as statements of fact), nor is the point to get these right, as “rules”, to explain how everything works. The claim (about what counts for something being said how) is to reflect on the philosophical issue (here, e.g., of action/intention).

    So, if I speak for everyone, than everyone can weigh in on my claim to criteria/context, and the only truth it has is if you see it too; thus the need for it to be detailed, encompassing, distinguishing, etc.; It is thus important in OLP to see the other’s argument on their terms, draw out the context to clear up differences, and resolve issues of speaking past each other. It is more collaborative than argumentative because, if we can not agree on the criteria for concepts or the context which would show how those work, we are at a standstill—there is no force behind a claim to the ordinary. It is a description to be seen, not an argument for a theory; there is no other justification than the description (my claim) from the imagined case and context. Thus people aren't interested in it because it doesn’t appear to be playing fair, or it doesn't give them the type of answers they’d like. But I only want to point out that, instead of imposing frameworks of limitations, preconditions, expectations, etc., OLP takes philosophy more seriously by first looking at our concepts where they are (their human criteria, their ordinary workings), which gives us a wider view, a better grip, more to talk about, and some satisfaction and agreement rather than jaded isolation.

    * Analytical philosophy topics/practitioners include: Plato; A.J. Ayer, Comte; Descartes, Hume; Kant; here I would add Hegel as an OLP philosopher because of his process and Socrates in asking questions of people who answer "from the street".

    **When Witt says "concepts" he is not referring to the way philosophy talks about abstract ideas, or other mental objects that refer to a word or the world. It is a general term; just a way of grouping together our, say, practices: knowing, seeing, understanding, thinking, meaning, having an opinion, but also regular things like mistaking, sitting in a chair, seeing an aspect, raising your arm, remembering correctly, etc. As is "criteria" which is not a standard for justification as much as all the ways our concepts work and are identified, how we make judgments about them, the differences we make with them, etc. Other terms being "sense" (options for a concept not a word's "meaning") and "use" (which sense of the concept is used, not use as a ground for justification.)

    *** Asking what we mean in an imagined context when we say "______" is opposed to starting with imposing grounds for justification of knowledge by a vision of what philosophy is which desires certainty, universality, predetermination, predictability, under the name of a picture of "rationality".

    **** I have argued from OLP in my post about Wittgenstein’s lion quote (@Mmw), and in the posts about: objective aesthetics, freedom and duty, science straying into philosophy, what is “real”, only emotion mattering (@darthbarracuda), and “Not All Belief Can Be Put Into Statement Form” (@creative soul @Banno).
  • Wayfarer
    11.3k
    Well I have to say, contender for best and clearest OP of the year so far. :up:

    I would say that as one of the resident metaphysical idealists, the issue I have with the resident OLP advocates (you know who you are) are precisely that :

    OLP is simply conservatively limiting what can be said philosophically, or dismissing philosophy with “common sense”.Antony Nickles

    I had taken one of the starting-points for this approach to be Moore's 'Refutation of Idealism', and the subsequent tendency to reduce philosophy to what can always be rendered in crisp propositions. Granted, the verbosity and obscurity of Hegelianism certainly invited that criticism. But one consequence often seems to me to try and cast every idea in philosophy in terms of what can easily be spoken or written, leaving aside the larger issue that philosophy often has to plumb difficult questions about the limits of language or of reason and the nature of truth.

    On the other hand, I very much appreciate the clarity around 'action' as distinct from 'intention', and perfectly accept that the elucidation of such distinctions is a really important part of philosophy.

    Anyway, I'll leave it at that, but again, exemplary OP.
  • Joshs
    1.1k
    skepticism/moral relativism (Descartes, Derrida);Antony Nickles

    The only thing I would quibble with here is your characterization of Derrida as a relativist and/or a skeptic. He denied being associated with either of these( you may have meant only Deacartes as the skeptic).
  • Banno
    11k

    you know who you areWayfarer

    I suppose that's me. Although I don't think of myself in those terms. I'm an admirer of Moore, and rank Austin very highly in my estimation of philosophical worth. But I'm puzzled by your inclusion of the Great Moustache, since I find him relatively obscure.

    The term was used in the main by its enemies, amongst whom we might count Popper, Russell, Ayer - those with a desire for more formal treatments of philosophy of language, who saw too much interest in the talk of the common man as somehow too trivial. The great virtue of resorting to ordinary language was in the relief it brought from the horrid abstraction of Hegel. The general theme was that ordinary language was both a blessing and a curse; on one side it brought clarity and perspective (Austin); on the other, many if not all philosophical problems derive from ordinary language's ambiguous structure (Wittgenstein).

    I'm throwing these names around without implying their membership; much time could be wasted in deciding who was in and who was out.

    Philosophical considerations commence with ordinary language, and if they are to be of much help, thats also ere they mist end. So whatever your philosophical inclination, you will eventually have to make a place of ordinary language.

    Neat Austin references in the OP, bye the way - I wonder who saw them.
  • Antony Nickles
    237

    The only thing I would quibble with here is your characterization of Derrida as a relativist and/or a skeptic.Joshs

    Ah, the dangers of categorization (I suppose Hume is more of a skeptic). And my knowledge of Derrida is not even being able to get through his attempt to read Austin (in Signature Event Context); though I have read an account of it. My only grounds then for calling him relativistic/skeptical is his contrasting metaphysics with difference, as if we couldn't have a separate (ordinary) voice, but only a related one. As if we could tear down the old forms of philosophy, yet have the same satisfactions (maybe not seeing our part). Again, I don't say this out of an experience with reading Derrida so much as maybe holding a grudge from the effort of fending him off in literary theory class trying to hang on to structuralism (perhaps a more rigid equivalent of how Wittgenstein sees the ordinary criteria of our concepts). OLP has the sense of bringing the human voice back to philosophy without all the gymnastics, but I know Derrida is pretty spikey so I concede all ground.
  • Antony Nickles
    237

    I'm puzzled by your inclusion of the Great Moustache,Banno

    Nietzsche brought a historical (in that sense, a contextual) view to morality. He was investigating the metaphysical version of morals (deontology) and finding the place for the human voice. His aphorisms are not statements of fact or opinion (where people run into trouble believing they understand him), but claims to, or examples of, the actual workings of our moral concepts, to reflect against the single "ought" of moralism. It's also funny that OLP provides relief from Hegel, as I count Hegel as important to its development. He, like Nietzsche, brought historicity and context to philosophy, in tearing apart manufactured dichotomies with a method of investigating our concepts. He of course had the answers all worked out ahead of time rather than only seeking clarity from the evidence, but you take the good with the bad with most philosophers.

    I think it is critical though to say (via-a-vis Hegel) that it is not important for OLP to be written in simple ("ordinary") language without terms (Cavell is fill-in-the-blank cryptic, Nietzsche openly defies understanding, and Wittgenstein has so many special terms it's all anyone believes he meant--only Austin is readable, but few remember what the point was because he hardly ever says it).

    I also should say this is hardcore analytical philosophy, not meant for "ordinary" readers (like continental philosophy can be). It is strictly written in contrast to, or at least with a good understanding of, traditional analytic philosophy. Not that studying philosophy can't be useful to anyone, but just that this isn't a dumbed-down version to be understood with a quick glance, nor does getting the point stand apart from seeing its relation to the tradition.

    The general theme was that ordinary language was both a blessing and a curse; on one side it brought clarity and perspective (Austin); on the other, many if not all philosophical problems derive from ordinary language's ambiguous structure (Wittgenstein).Banno

    The first trip-up I think is skepticism's desire (for certainty)--the seeming gap between us and the world--then (yes) language gives us the sense of an intellectual lack, then we (philosophers) try to fix language by removing its context and stripping its ordinary criteria (replaced with certainty, universalism, etc), and then we have to put those back to see the mess we got into. Unfortunately this is a desire created by our human condition so it happens over and over (eternally recurring as it were).

    whatever your philosophical inclination, you will eventually have to make a place for ordinary language.Banno

    Just to be clear, this isn't to say: "you must listen to what OLP says is ordinary usage!" Wittgenstein says "Look at the use!" to get people to see how ordinary use reflects on philosophical issues. Nor is it to say that traditional philosophical concerns are nonsense or not important or not valid (well, some).

    Neat Austin references in the OP, by the way - I wonder who saw them.Banno

    No one. No one saw them.
  • Antony Nickles
    237

    I had taken one of the starting-points for this approach to be Moore's 'Refutation of Idealism', and the subsequent tendency to reduce philosophy to what can always be rendered in crisp propositions.Wayfarer

    All of us at OLP deeply apologize for Moore's over-enthusiasm. Austin also did not take skepticism seriously enough, among other fallouts he just brushed over--"What's the point of all these examples again?"--though he is the best at stunning you with criterial distinctions: why do we ordinarily ask "how" you know something, but not usually "why" you know it?

    one consequence often seems to me to try and cast every idea in philosophy in terms of what can easily be spoken or written, leaving aside the larger issue that philosophy often has to plumb difficult questions about the limits of language or of reason and the nature of truth.Wayfarer

    Again, as discussed above, easy is not the point. At times it will almost seems Austin or Wittgenstein are belaboring something instead of just telling us--this comes from OLP trying to get us to see the same thing from a different angle, the point being to reflect how you got to the old viewpoint in the first place (whew! Did I say not easy?) And OLP isn't avoiding the difficult questions, just trying to make it clearer what we are actually asking ourselves (and why).

    And thank you for the encouragement. If you ever venture another try, may I suggest any of the essays by J.L. Austin, especially Sense and Sensibilia (along with reading Ayer's Truth, Language, and Logic), or any essay from Stanley Cavell's first set, Must We Mean What We Say (though maybe start with the one about later Wittgenstein).
  • Wayfarer
    11.3k
    Ayer's Truth, Language, and Logic.Antony Nickles

    I did an entire semester on that book, back in the day. It was a book I loved to hate, although I've gotten over that.

    I'm a sixties type. We're after a cosmic philosophy, something to fill the 'God-shaped hole'. None of those mentioned will do that, but I'm starting to learn to appreciate them on their merits, now that the enthusiasm of adolesence has dissipated somewhat.
  • Pantagruel
    1.4k
    Both Collingwood and Habermas agree on the ultimate importance of ordinary language versus technical.

    Collingwood says that "technical terms" are not fundamental within language because they require explanation, and:

    The business of language is to express or explain; if language cannot explain itself, nothing else can explain it.

    Habermas says that our communicative actions derive from a massively shared lifeworld (lebenswelt). This is a background set of assumptions so fundamental that they resist analysis. His observations on specialized languages are that the value of special theoretical domains can only be measured to the extent that they manage to re-integrate themselves into the universal community. Therefore, they must eventually find a way to communicate in everyday language. In fact, Habermas says that everyday language is the best meta-language. I'd agree.
  • Antony Nickles
    237

    [A.J Ayer's book] was a book I loved to hateWayfarer

    Well you'll be happy to read Sense and Sensibilia. Austin basically just punches him in the face repeatedly. Logical positivism and the principal that only emperically-verifiable statements have the value of truth bear the brunt of Austin's wrath and they serve as the Interloctor in the later Wittgenstein's Philosophical Investigations, so basically he is talking to himself--the earlier author of the Tractatus--who set up the path to positivism.
  • Antony Nickles
    237

    Habermas says that our communicative actions derive from a massively shared lifeworld (lebenswelt). This is a background set of assumptions so fundamental that they resist analysis. His observations on specialized languages are that the value of special theoretical domains can only be measured to the extent that they manage to re-integrate themselves into the universal community. Therefore, they must eventually find a way to communicate in everyday language. In fact, Habermas says that everyday language is the best meta-language. I'd agree.Pantagruel

    One point of OLP is that we are able to individually examine our concepts because they each have their own ways of being meaningful, so that one over-arching theory need not explain meaning universally, such as a representational theory or a pragmatic explanation of how language is used.

    I think it is important to point out again that OLP is not investigating norms, nor arguing for what is normal (language). The goal is not to re-integrate philosophical language (they are, as @Banno points out, the same words) so much as see it in relief to ordinary criteria and the context in which they work, to provide a larger picture and reflect the context and criteria philosophy has perhaps created or abandoned; not that normal language is better or necessary for communicating philosophy--it is the criteria which are ordinary, given voice in a context to differentiate them.
  • Pantagruel
    1.4k
    Hmm. I thought OLP was all about what words actually mean in everyday use. As opposed to artificially constructed types of contexts which create the problems which they then try to solve.
  • Ciceronianus the White
    1.5k

    I must join Banno and express my surprise that you claim Frantic Freddie Nietzsche exemplifies OLP. I suppose that surprise may result from the fact I look on OLP and analytic and linguistic philosophy (largely) as being a kind of tonic, serving to restore rigor to philosophical thought by disposing of faux problems arising from misuse of language, and as Banno suggested in another thread an emetic, serving to purge philosophy of its extravagance. Nietzsche with his hyperbolic claims, often ending in exclamation points, mixed with rhetorical questions, and brimming with certainty, is more a philosophical rabble-rouser than physician.
  • Joshs
    1.1k
    But I'm puzzled by your inclusion of the Great Moustache, since I find him relatively obscure.Banno

    Derrida wrote:
    “ Austin was obliged to free the analysis of the performative from the author­ity of the truth value, from the true/false opposition, at least in its classical form, and to substitute for it at times the value of force, of difference of force (illocutio­nary or perlocutionary force). In this line of thought, which is nothing less than Nietzschean, this in particular strikes me as moving in the direction of Nietzsche himself, who often acknowledged a certain affinity for a vein of English thought.”
    Limited, Inc.
  • Pantagruel
    1.4k
    Nietzsche with his hyperbolic claims, often ending in exclamation points, mixed with rhetorical questions, and brimming with certainty, is more a philosophical rabble-rouser than physician.Ciceronianus the White

    I guess you could ask yourself, does ordinary mean typical? Or exemplary? Perhaps Nietzsche was not typical. Could he be exemplary?
  • Antony Nickles
    237

    I thought OLP was all about what words actually mean in everyday use. As opposed to artificially constructed types of contexts which create the problems which they then try to solve.Pantagruel

    Trying to unpack this a little, OLP is not trying to solve (all) the "problems" philosophy has (skepticism, moral disagreement, etc.), but, yes, one point is to show the constructed criteria (striped of context). Philosophy is not, however, being "opposed" to "what words actually mean" (my emphasis)--this idea of "meaning" as an independent thing (that could be "actual") is even one target of OLP. As part of their Grammar concepts have multiple (public) senses in which they can be meant; imagining a context clarifies which sense is being used (which criteria come into play--or even how concepts are extended), but the idea is not that words used in ordinary circumstances have a meaning which is a solution for (or normalizes) philosophy.
  • Joshs
    1.1k
    I must join Banno and express my surprise that you claim Frantic Freddie Nietzsche exemplifies OLP.Ciceronianus the White

    In case you missed my response to Banno,

    Derrida wrote:
    “ Austin was obliged to free the analysis of the performative from the author­ity of the truth value, from the true/false opposition, at least in its classical form, and to substitute for it at times the value of force, of difference of force (illocutio­nary or perlocutionary force). In this line of thought, which is nothing less than Nietzschean, this in particular strikes me as moving in the direction of Nietzsche himself, who often acknowledged a certain affinity for a vein of English thought.”
    Limited, Inc.
  • Pantagruel
    1.4k
    So what is ordinary then? If there is a universe of discourse with a vocabulary of, say, 100,000 words. There is probably a core vocabulary of, say, 5,000 words that are well-known by 90 percent of the population. Maybe another 5,000 words that are well-known by another 9 percent of the population (in addition to the core set). From there, the vocabulary-groups begin to splinter into parallel factions associated with increasingly specific topics. So some experts know an additional 10,000 words in a certain area, some in another. Etc.

    So does ordinary usage mean resolving more expansive universes of discourse down to less expansive, but therefore more universal, ones? Or can vocabulary be said to be of ordinary usage, even though it resides with a universe of discourse which, owing to its high degree of specificity, is itself not "ordinary"?
  • Joshs
    1.1k
    my knowledge of Derrida is not even being able to get through his attempt to read Austin (in Signature Event Context);Antony Nickles

    I re-read Signiature-Event-Context today, and my take on it is this. Derrida zeros in on the concept(s) of context, which is central to the argument of olp. He claims that Austin believes one can exhaustively determine a context of word uses such that no remainder is left over.

    “Austin’s analyses at all times require a value of context, and even of a context exhaustively determined, in theory or teleologically; the long list of "infelicities" which in their variety may affect the performative event always comes back to an element in what Austin calls the total context.6 One of those essential elements-and not one among others-remains, classically , consciousness, the conscious presence of the intention of the speaking subject in the totality of his speech act. As a result, performative communication becomes once more the communication of an in­ meaning, even if that meaning has no referent in the form of a thing or of a prior or exterior state of things. The conscious presence of speakers or re­ceivers participating in the accomplishment of a performative, their conscious and intentional presence in the totality of the operation, implies teleologically that no residue [reste] escapes the present totalization. No residue, either in the definition of the requisite conventions, or in the internal and linguistic context, or in the grammatical form, or in the semantic determination of the words em­ployed; no irreducible polysemy, that is, no "dissemination" escaping the horizon of the unity of meaning. “

    What does he mean by this? I can tell you that the treatment of context , not just by Austin but also Wittgenstein, leaves me with questions similar to Derrida’s. What is the minimal requirement for a context of use?At least two people, no? There is a speech act involving an utterance and a response. Is the the context a unity between these two aspects, between my intent and the other’s response, between what I send out and what comes back? Do these together constitute a single intent and single context? Or are there two contexts here, the context which forms the circumstances of my utterance , and the changed context which marks the other’s response, which can surprise my expectations?
  • Ciceronianus the White
    1.5k

    I would say the that Derrida's odd insertion of a vague but suggestive concept of "force" or "the value of force" into the mix may in some manner invoke Nietzsche, but doesn't seem like something Austin would have contemplated.
  • Joshs
    1.1k
    Got this from spark notes.

    “One of the greatest deceptions of language, according to Nietzsche, is the subject-predicate form of grammar. Because all sentences are divided into a subject and a predicate, we are led to believe that there are actors (subjects) and deed (predicates) and that the two can be separated. As a result, we come to think of killing as something distinct from a bird of prey, something that it does. Nietzsche points out that grammar would similarly suggest to us that flashing is something distinct from lightning, something that it does. And just as there is no lightning distinct from the flash, Nietzsche suggests that there is no bird of prey distinct from the killing.

    This argument does not simply suggest that killing is in a bird of prey's "nature" and that "it wouldn't be a bird of prey if it didn't kill things." In Nietzschean metaphysics, there is no such thing as the bird of prey as common wisdom would understand it. Gilles Deleuze interprets Nietzsche as suggesting that nothing exists but forces. We might simplify Deleuze's analysis by suggesting that only verbs truly exist: nouns and subjects are just the conveniences of grammar. While we might talk about a bird of prey killing a lamb, really there is just one force acting upon another. Of course, using "force" as a noun is a mistake, as it simply substitutes one noun for another.”
  • Antony Nickles
    237

    I look on OLP and analytic and linguistic philosophy (largely) as being a kind of tonic, serving to restore rigor to philosophical thought by disposing of faux problems arising from misuse of language... serving to purge philosophy of its extravagance.Ciceronianus the White

    Again, it's not that philosophy is "misusing" language, and OLP is arguing that it is using it correctly. The "rigor" of OLP is its attention to its examples and fleshing out of the context, but the point is not right/wrong but to shed light on what philosophy means by what it is saying, not in contrast to normal words, but in light of ordinary criteria (and their context)--not cure, but diagnose maybe. This is not to dispose of problems like skepticism, identity, justice, etc. but to expose what we actually (still) want from philosophy's questions. Sometimes finding the criteria for philosophical claims involves creating wildly fantastic scenarios; you want extravagance, you can't go further than Wittgenstein or Cavell, or Nietzsche. Austin, of course, is British, so he scaled it down a bit.

    Nietzsche with his hyperbolic claims, often ending in exclamation points, mixed with rhetorical questions, and brimming with certainty, is more a philosophical rabble-rouser than physician.Ciceronianus the White

    If you read Philosophical Investigations, it is full of open-ended questions, and confusing statements to make you turn upon yourself to verify. This is due to OLP's call to have you answer for yourself whether the criteria is described clearly, fully enough. Cavell is so aggravating in this regard it's almost as if I'm supposed to write the other half of the book (he means for us to follow our own voice, our further interest). Emerson appropriates analytical philosophy into other contexts, and is on his tiptoes encouraging us to find what (criteria) matters to us in the sea of unexamined, universalized (conformed) concepts.

    And again, the claim of OLP is hyperbolic, it is voiced to include everyone (though impossible), as if to move past resorting only to the individual and approaching a sense of the universal without erasing the context of the particular--Nietzsche will appear righteous and unabashedly anarchistic; Austin, contemptuous or condescending; and Wittgenstein, enigmatic, curt, presumptuous (as I've said elsewhere, the lion quote is used as an uncontested fact). These OLP claims can be strident (See what I see!!) because there is a moral urgency to bringing the human "voice", in a sense, back to our criteria, rather than lost to the inhuman, sterile theories that attempt to leapfrog our responsibility to our words.
  • Banno
    11k
    An odd reading of locutionary force? Derrida/s thinking is all over the place - thats what makes him worth reading. I think he's having a joke in @Joshs' quote.

    Grayling lists only Ryle, Austin and Strawson as Ordinary Language Philosophers. I'd add Moore, with a nod towards Wittgenstein. I would not include Kripke, nor Davidson.

    Including Nietzsche renders the list too irregular - a list of one's favourites, not a list of philosophers with a common approach.

    He doesn't fit. In a pink fit.
  • Pantagruel
    1.4k
    Including Nietzsche renders the list too irregular - a list of one's favourites, not a list of philosophers with a common approach.Banno

    Nietzsche's style could certainly be characterized as more ordinary language than those philosophers for whom it is a methodology.....
  • Banno
    11k
    ...but it's not style that counts here; it's method.
  • Banno
    11k
    Oh, we should add Hare - an ordinary language treatment of ethics; but too much Kant for him to be central or OLP
  • Ciceronianus the White
    1.5k


    The "role of force" the "value of force." I can't imagine any philosopher I think of as being a proponent of OLP saying such a thing. It's almost like citing to Will or elan vital (don't know how to do those accents). Ryle and Strawson for sure, and Moore I think.
  • Pantagruel
    1.4k
    ..but it's not style that counts here; it's method.Banno

    Exactly my point. If you characterize something as "ordinary language" and then you modify that meaning to abandon one of its fundamental characteristics, then you turn "ordinary language" into exactly the kind of philosophical construct it criticizes.
  • Banno
    11k
    I agree.

    Moore as progenitor, the source of the method.
  • Antony Nickles
    237
    From Derrida: “Austin was obliged to free the analysis of the performative from the author­ity of the truth value, from the true/false opposition, at least in its classical form, and to substitute for it at times the value of force, of difference of force (illocutio­nary or perlocutionary force). In this line of thought, which is nothing less than Nietzschean, this in particular strikes me as moving in the direction of Nietzsche himself, who often acknowledged a certain affinity for a vein of English thought.”Joshs

    I just read this last night. I would say taking Nietzsche as substituting truth for force (presumably, the will to power), is to miss his desire to insert the human (emphatically, which may be his downfall) back into the moral realm--in the history of, and after the limitations of, the moral; to give us that "power" (a place, as it were, "over"). @Ciceronianus the White

    Also, my understanding is that Derrida misconstrues Austin's peripheral reference to "force" in one particular category (perlocutionary) to apply it as Austin's entire goal, and overlooks that Austin more generally is still claiming truth value (adequation to the world), but calls it "felicity" (aptness) to the criteria of a concept--if an apology is done correctly, it is not true, but felicitous (apt), rather than infelicitous (botched, I think is Austin's way of putting it once). This is not a "force" more than a rationality.
  • Antony Nickles
    237

    So what is ordinary then?Pantagruel

    Creating a context that shows us the ordinary criteria for a concept, not (regular, common) words

    So does ordinary usage mean resolving more expansive universes of discourse down to less expansive, but therefore more universal, ones?Pantagruel

    We're not talking about ordinary "usage" (see above). We are not resolving, nor reducing--when we ask what we say when..., we are explicating and opening and expanding our ordinary criteria (though, yes, the claim is that these are universal, though not in there application to all contexts, but to every one of us).
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