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07 NOVEMBER 2013

The Strange Death of Ordinary Language Philosophy

Ordinary Language Philosophy (OLP) "was identified mainly with British analytic philosophers of the last mid–century and more specifically those at the University of Oxford. Its chief practitioners were regarded to be such philosophers as Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889–1951), Gilbert Ryle (1900–1976), J. L. Austin (1911–1960), P. F. Strawson (1919–), Paul Grice (1913–1988) and John Wisdom (1904–1993). From the late 1940s to the early 1960s OLP was an integral part of the mainstream of analytic philosophy; as Stephen Mulhall (1994: 444) has pointed out, when a leading introductory textbook of the era spoke simply of 'contemporary philosophy,' it was OLP that was being referred to. Currently, however, OLP is not generally viewed as a legitimate intellectual option for philosophers, analytic or otherwise. In fact it's safe to say that, with the possible exception of Bergson's and Driesch's vitalism, OLP is the most deeply unfashionable of all the main currents of twentieth–century Western philosophy. It has fallen victim to what Stan Godlovitch has called philosophy's equivalent of 're–touching family photos, old Kremlin–style' (2000: 6)."

(Tommi Uschanov, April 2001)


20th century • analytic philosophy • British • contemporary philosophy • erasure • Gilbert Ryle • Hans Driesch • Henri Bergsonhistory of ideasintellectual history • John Austin • John Wisdom • languagelegitimate knowledge • legitimate scholarly texts • legitimationlinguistic philosophyLudwig Wittgensteinmid-century • ordinary language philosophy • Oxford analysis • Paul Grice • Peter Strawson • philosophysociology of knowledge • Stan Godlovitch • Stephen Mulhall • unfashionable • University of OxfordWestern philosophy


Simon Perkins

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