Austin by G.J. Warnock

By G.J. Warnock

This publication is out there both separately, or as a part of the specially-priced Arguments of the Philosphers assortment.

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In such a case, indeed, I didn’t know (as it turns out); but it does not follow that I was not justified in saying that I did. To be mistaken in saying something is not necessarily to be unjustified in saying it. Austin: The Arguments of the Philosophers We may note here that Austin takes up a couple of points which we have come across before (see p. 24). 6 This is the case of ‘a man’s knowledge of his own sensations’. Of course a man may say falsely that he has a certain sensation; but that is lying, not being mistaken.

In fact, p’s being true, he says—and of course one might wish that he had said the same (which he perfectly well knew to be true) about p’s being known—does not necessarily involve anyone’s saying anything at all. 1 That part of the controversy, then, which consists in suggesting that Austin had somehow failed to see, had culpably overlooked, that ‘…is true’ has (many) performative roles, is beside the point. Austin saw that quite clearly, but saw also, and said, that it is substantially irrelevant to the question, as one might put it, what ‘…is true’ means.

If we pose it in that way, we almost literally do not know what we are talking about. 19 Very similarly—in conclusion—with his obiter dictum about the Theory of Knowledge: if you ask what kind of sentence it is in which are expressed propositions which, uniquely, are incorrigibly certain; which, uniquely, can be known; which, uniquely, constitute evidence for other propositions; which, uniquely, can be conclusively or ‘directly’ verified— and so on: then, since there is no such kind of sentence, if the Theory of Knowledge were supposed to be the answer to that question, there would be no such thing.

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