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Philosophical Writings$
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P. F. Strawson

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199587292

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199587292.001.0001

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‘The Post-Linguistic Thaw’ 1

‘The Post-Linguistic Thaw’ 1

Chapter:
(p.71) 5 ‘The Post-Linguistic Thaw’1
Source:
Philosophical Writings
Author(s):

P. F. Strawson

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199587292.003.0005

This chapter explores the linguistic movement, which created an atmosphere of particular and informal clarities that caused genuine bafflement and uneasiness in many whose conception of philosophy was more elevated than definite. What was clear seemed obscure to those whose unconscious demand was for obscurity, and the study of the familiar seemed contemptuously esoteric in a region where everything was expected to be strange. But to the genuine student of the subject, accustomed but not reconciled to pseudoprecise terminology and stale controversy, the new movement offered an unparalleled freshness of approach, and a real hope of replacing forever collapsing theories with actually ascertainable truths. This was sufficient reason for its appeal. The self-conscious employment of the linguistic method produced brilliant and often amusing results. It destroyed much and revealed much. It should continue to play a great part in philosophy, acting as an indispensable control on extravagance, absurdity, and over-simplification; revealing more and more of the fascinating substructure of our thinking. The movement was associated primarily with one place — Oxford — and there it centred on one man — Austin — its most explicit advocate and most acute and whole-hearted practitioner.

Keywords:   linguistic method, philosophy, linguistic movement, Austin

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