Monday, January 31, 2011

New Year, New Resolutions!

It's been sometime, ne?

Yeah, I don't even remember when the last post was (figure of speech). But here we are, in a new year. Well, we are one month done, but still a new year!

Let us read! We shall provide online copies of materials for each week and we are going to READ them and post comments on them and meet as well, whenever possible. :)

And for the first session we are reading J. L. Austin's first lecture from How to Do Things with Words

This is one of the essays which are oft-quoted, but seldom read.

But many of us will remember this quote and its performative significance.
'I name this ship the Queen Elizabeth' as uttered when smashing the bottle against the stem.
And thus,

What are we to call a sentence or an utterance of this type? I propose to call it a performative sentence or a performative utterance, or, for short, 'a performative.'

Now that the context is laid out, let's start with...

J. L. Austin was born in Lancaster and educated at Oxford, where he became a professor of philosophy following several years of service in British intelligence during World War II. Although greatly admired as a teacher, Austin published little of his philosophical work during his brief lifetime. Students gathered his papers and lectures in books that were published posthumously, including Philosophical Papers (1961) and Sense and Sensibilia (1962). Austin

In "A Plea for Excuses" (1956), Austin explained and illustrated his method of approaching philosophical issues by first Austin patiently analyzing the subtleties of ordinary language. In How to Do Things with Words (1961), the transcription of Austin's James lectures at Harvard, application of this method distinguishes between what we say, what we mean when we say it, and what we accomplish by saying it, or between speech acts involving locution, illocution (or "performative utterance"), and perlocution.

So now, on to the essay itself...
Click to View

Read about his Lectures, or, if you are feeling adventurous,read the whole of the lectures.

Notes on the Reading Club
"You changed everything!" Yes, some arbitrary decisions, I hope will provoke some reactions.
A complete re-design is what you least expected, I am sure! But it was much-needed is what I believe. The question remains however: what is the re-design you had in mind? Comments welcome!

We will be showing films as a reading club. We are a reading club which shows movies. Cool enough, right? ;)