J.L. Austin
  • J.L. Austin

  • Date of birth: March 28, 1911
  • Died: February 08, 1960
  • Born: in Lancaster, Lancashire, The United Kingdom.

  • Description: John Langshaw Austin (March 26, 1911 – February 8, 1960) was a British philosopher of language, born in Lancaster and educated at Shrewsbury School and Balliol College, Oxford University. Austin is widely associated with the concept of the speech act and the idea that speech is itself a form of action. His work in the 1950s provided both a theoretical outline and the terminology for the modern study of speech acts developed subsequently, for example, by (the Oxford-educated American philosopher) John R. Searle, William P. Alston, François Récanati, Kent Bach, and Robert M. Harnish.

    After serving in MI6 during World War II, Austin became White's Professor of Moral Philosophy at Oxford. He occupies a place in philosophy of language alongside Wittgenstein in staunchly advocating the examination of the way words are used in order to elucidate meaning. Unlike many ordinary language philosophers, however, Austin disavowed any overt indebtedness to Wittgenstein's later philosophy. His main influence, he said, was the exact and exacting common-sense philosophy of G. E. Moore.

    He was president of the Aristotelian Society from 1956 to 1957.