Austin and Ayer and the role of language in philosophy.

Title: Austin and Ayer and the role of language in philosophy.
Authors: Graham, Delwin John.
Date: 2001
Abstract: The aim of this thesis is to study a dispute between J. L. Austin and A. J. Ayer, and in so doing consider the relevance of a linguistic investigation for philosophy. The dispute is confined for the most part to Austin's criticisms of the sense-datum theory, particularly as it has been supported by the argument from illusion, in Sense and Sensibilia (S&S) and Ayer's reply to these in "Has Austin Refuted the Sense-Datum Theory?" (ARS). The argument from illusion is a traditional philosophical argument whereby incidents of non-veridical perception, e.g., the partly immersed stick that looks bent, are taken to support the claim that we do not (directly) perceive material objects, but must perceive something else, i.e., sense-data. In S&S , Austin contends that the argument is typically philosophical because it over-simplifies and misrepresents the facts of ordinary language and normal perception. In ARS, Ayer replies that the argument is essentially philosophical because it is logical and not factual: it shows that the truth of a material object statement is never entailed by the truth of the experiential statement upon which it is based. The Austin-Ayer dispute is best characterized as a clash of philosophical vision, that is, as a conflict about the proper aim and method of a philosophical investigation, and the role of an "analysis of language" for philosophy. This thesis, then, sets out (a) to describe the philosophical vision of Austin and Ayer, (b) to show how the criticisms that are offered by each philosopher are informed by their respective philosophical viewpoints, and (c) to establish that each philosopher presupposes the legitimacy of his own method in criticizing the other. As a result, (d) the arguments that each philosopher makes in defence of his position are seen as begging the question by presuming the validity of the claims that they must establish.
CollectionTh├Ęses, 1910 - 2010 // Theses, 1910 - 2010
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