ordinary language philosophy(redirected from Ordinary language philosophers)
ordinary language philosophya 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