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Life and Works|
. . Ordinary Language
. . Speech Acts
J. L. Austin was born in Lancaster and educated at Oxford, where he became a professor of philosophy following several years of service in British intelligence during World War II. Although greatly admired as a teacher, Austin published little of his philosophical work during his brief lifetime. Students gathered his papers and lectures in books that were published posthumously, including Philosophical Papers (1961) and Sense and Sensibilia (1962).
In "A Plea for Excuses" (1956), Austin explained and illustrated his method of approaching philosophical issues by first patiently analyzing the subtleties of ordinary language. In How to Do Things with Words (1961), the transcription of Austin's James lectures at Harvard, application of this method distinguishes between what we say, what we mean when we say it, and what we accomplish by saying it, or between speech acts involving locution, illocution (or "performative utterance"), and perlocution.
Additional on-line information about Austin includes: