Austin on Literal Meaning

Kriterion - Journal of Philosophy 30 (3):41-64 (2016)

Abstract
In this paper, I examine the debate between Alice Crary and Nat Hansen concerning Austin’s view of ‘literal meaning’. Crary suggests that Austin thinks that there is no literal meaning, while Hansen thinks that for Austin there is literal meaning. I will argue that for Austin there is indeed a literal meaning, a fixed meaning, which sentences carry across all occasions of use, however, such meaning does not suffice to determine whether, independent of these occasions, the sentences can be used to say something true or false. Thus I suggest a middle ground between the two readings. My reading highlights the importance of Austin’s claim that ‘true’ is a dimension-word, which both Crary and Hansen overlook.
Keywords J. L. Austin  truth  literal meaning  speech acts
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References found in this work BETA

Speech Acts: An Essay in the Philosophy of Language.John R. Searle - 1969 - Philosophical Quarterly 20 (79):172-179.
How to Do Things with Words.John L. Austin - 1962 - Mind 75 (298):262-285.
Philosophical Papers.J. L. Austin - 1961 - Oxford University Press.

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