J. L. Austin
(1911-1960)

Died aged c. 49

John Langshaw "J. L." Austin (26 March 1911 – 8 February 1960) was a British philosopher of language and leading proponent of ordinary language philosophy, perhaps best known for developing the theory of speech acts. Prior to Austin, the attention of linguistic and analytic philosophers had been directed almost exclusively to statements, assertions, and propositions — to linguistic acts that (at least in theory) have truth-value. This led to problems when analyzing certain types of statements, for example in determining the truth conditions for such statements as "I promise to do so-and-so." Austin pointed out that we use language to do things as well as to assert things, and that the utterance of a statement like "I promise to do so-and-so" is best understood as doing something — making a promise — rather than making an assertion about anything. Hence the name of one of his best-known works How to Do Things with Words.

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J. L. Austin philosopher was born here March 26th 1911

4 Hillside, Lancaster, United Kingdom where he was born (1911)