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07/01/2015

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Nat Hansen

That Murphy paper is super interesting!

Emmanuel Chemla and I ran experiments testing some of J.L. Austin's claims about how we would use terms (like "intentionally" and "deliberately", "by mistake", and "by accident") and found mixed results:

https://www.academia.edu/11783001/Linguistic_Experiments_and_Ordinary_Language_Philosophy

One interesting twist in the debate between Austin and Naess that Murphy discusses is that Austin sometimes describes what he's doing as gathering "experimental data":

'First let us consider some cases. Actual cases would of course be excellent: we might observe what words have actually been used by commentators on real incidents, or by narrators of fictitious incidents. However, we do not have the time or space to do that here. We must instead imagine some cases (imagine them carefully and in detail and comprehensively) and try to reach agreement upon what we should in fact say concerning them. If we can reach this agreement, we shall have some data ("experimental" data, in fact) which we can then go on to explain. Here, the explanation will be an account of the meanings of these expressions, which we shall hope to reach by using such methods as those of "Agreement" and "Difference": what is in fact present in the cases where we do use, say, "deliberately", and what is absent when we don't. Of course, we shall then have arrived at nothing more than an account of certain ordinary "concepts" employed by English speakers: but also at no less a thing'. ("Three Ways of Spilling Ink")

Anyway, Emmanuel and I talk about Austin's methods and how they relate to current methods in philosophy of language and semantics and pragmatics.

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