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6 - Common Sense and Ordinary Language: Wittgenstein and Austin

from Part I

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  06 November 2020

Rik Peels
Affiliation:
Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam
René van Woudenberg
Affiliation:
Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam
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Summary

What role does ordinary-language philosophy play in the defence of common-sense beliefs? J. L. Austin and Ludwig Wittgenstein each give central place to ordinary language in their responses to sceptical challenges to common-sense beliefs. But Austin and Wittgenstein do not always respond to such challenges in the same way, and their working methods are different. This chapter compares Austin’s and Wittgenstein’s metaphilosophical positions and shows that they share many metaphilosophical commitments. It then examines Austin’s and Wittgenstein’s respective takes on the problem of other minds and the problem of our knowledge of the external world. Interestingly, we find Wittgenstein employing methods more frequently associated with Austin and vice versa. Moreover, we find that a variety of defences of common-sense beliefs are compatible with ordinary-language philosophy.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2020

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