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Understanding Austin’s Way with Skepticism

April 13, 2018

Dr. Mark Kaplan (Indiana)

J.L. Austin is famous for having written as if what we say while doing epistemology needs to accord faithfully with what we would say in ordinary circumstances. Most would say, “infamous”. Not long after Austin’s death, there formed a durable consensus that Austin’s “ordinary language” approach to epistemological problems was fundamentally misguided — born of a failure properly to understand the nature of the epistemologist’s project. My brief, however, is that this consensus is based on a misreading of Austin. Austin’s way of pursuing epistemology was born, not of a misunderstanding of the epistemologist’s project, but rather of a powerful critique of how that project has been conceived — and an appreciation of how, in light of that critique, epistemology needs to be done.


April 13, 2018
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