Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Abby and Austin

[Click for a larger view.]

I rediscovered the above clipping between pages 10 and 11 in my copy of J.L. Austin’s How to Do Things with Words (1962). On page 10:
“For one who says “promising is not merely a matter of uttering words! It is an inward and spiritual act!” is apt to appear as a solid moralist standing out against a generation of superficial theorizers: we see him as he sees himself, surveying the invisible depths of ethical space, with all the distinction of a specialist in the sui generis. Yet he provides Hippolytus with a let-out, the bigamist with an excuse for his “I do” and the welsher with a defense for his “I bet.” Accuracy and morality alike are on the side of the plain saying that our word is our bond.
Other posts with J.L. Austin
William Labov
Write 5 sentence [sic] about cat

[Austin gives this translation of a line from Euripides’ Hippolytus: “My tongue swore to, but my heart (or mind or other backstage artiste) did not.” “Our word is our bond” alludes to the motto of the London Stock Exchange: “Dictum meum pactum,” My word is my bond.]