ordinary language philosophy

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ordinary language philosophy

a detailed analysis of language in use. Also referred to as linguistic philosophy (or analysis), and Oxford philosophy the term applies to a group of Oxford philosophers (including Austin and Ryle) influenced by the philosophy of WITTGENSTEIN. The aim of this ordinary language philosophy is to analyse natural language as a flexibly rule-governed practice. This approach contrasts with that of the logical positivists (see LOGICAL POSITIVISM), who wished to rid language of metaphysics by reducing it to an ‘object language’ capable of rigorous logical investigation. Ordinary language philosophers prefer to dissolve rather than solve problems, demonstrating that puzzlement often occurs only when metaphysics is used. Their own image of it is as a form of philosophy dispelling linguistic confusions, a view reflected in the title of Austin's How to Do Things with Words (1962).

Approaches in sociology which emphasize the importance of everyday language and talk (e.g. ETHNOMETHODOLOGY and CONVERSATIONAL ANALYSIS), have been influenced by ordinary language philosophy (see also SPEECH ACTS).

Collins Dictionary of Sociology, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2000
References in periodicals archive ?
An Ordinary Language Philosopher may reply to Cappelen: Ordinary Language Philosophy does not rest its claims on intuitions.
He does question Ebersole's unwillingness to say why his investigations only yield negative results, and he also has something to say about classifying Ebersole as an ordinary language philosopher. However, the author's main focus is on trying to engage critically with what Ebersole actually does in his work.
The most celebrated essay is the polemical review-letter, "Was Valla an Ordinary Language Philosopher?", which has also been reprinted in the series Renaissance Essays selected from the Journal of the History of Ideas.
Whereas the positivists' use of symbolic logic in deconstructing philosophical problems was motivated by Wittgenstein's Tractatus, the ordinary language philosopher's conviction that philosophical problems originate in ordinary language uses was indebted to Wittgenstein's Philosophical Investigations.
The book starts off with a chapter instructively sketching conceptions of metaphilosophy proposed by Russell, the logical positivists, Oxford style ordinary language philosophers, and Quine.