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Aspects du sujet dans la philosophie du langage ordinaire

Abstract : What kind of a notion of subject do we need in order to account for our practices, and especially our practice of language? The issue of subject and subjectivity is raised anew within the ordinary language philosophy, more particularly within J.L. Austin's speech acts theory. As a matter of fact, if language has a meaning only inasmuch as it is a speech—the speech act of a subject—language cannot be a process devoid of subject. There must be an agent to perform an act, and if the act is a speech act, the agent must be able to understand what is meant, in other words, what seems to be needed is a thinking, psychological subject. Austin's first interpretations actually went down that path. Speech acts gave birth to a new theory: pragmatics, in which intention plays a key role in meaning. Nevertheless, ordinary language philosophy is in continuity with the original project of analytical philosophy as conducted by Frege, Russell and the first Wittgenstein, who separated the meaning from the subjectivity of representations and linked it instead to the reference or denotation. The psychological subject is then excluded from the field of thought and truth. Austin continues and toughens that project. Within the speech acts theory, truth becomes the assessment dimension of some utterances within the more general category of felicity—such an assessment being possible only when the issuing of the utterance is inserted in its whole context. Therefore, what enables comprehension is context, not inwardness. So, the subject of speech acts isn't the intentional subject of mentalism. In fact, it's a subject whose thought is to be read in their behaviour, a subject whose public thought is based on and expressed in social conventions which make them responsible for what they say. The speaking subject is a social subject whose issue is to find their voice and make themselves heard, although they speak in other people's words, a responsible subject in a vulnerable position as they must answer for more than they care for.
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Valérie Boutevin-Bonnet. Aspects du sujet dans la philosophie du langage ordinaire. Philosophie. Université Michel de Montaigne - Bordeaux III, 2012. Français. ⟨NNT : 2012BOR30022⟩. ⟨tel-00748536⟩

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