John Langshaw Austin
(1911–1960) was White's Professor of Moral Philosophy at the University of Oxford. He made a number of contributions in various areas of philosophy, including important work on knowledge, perception, action, freedom, truth, language, and the use of language in speech acts. Distinctions that Austin draws in his work on speech acts—in particular his distinction between locutionary, illocutionary, and perlocutionary acts—have assumed something like canonical status in more recent work.
Performative utterances (or performatives
) are defined in the speech acts theory
as sentences which are not only passively describing a given reality, but they are changing the (social) reality they are describing.
John Rogers Searle
(born July 31, 1932) is an American philosopher and currently the Slusser Professor of Philosophy at the University of California, Berkeley. He argued in his 1989 article How Performatives Work
that performatives are true/false just like constatives.
J. L. Austin
originally assumed that stating something and performing an illocutionary act are mutually exclusive.
To learn more about the philosophy of language, check out the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy
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