Talk:Performative utterance

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Philosophy of language


OK, now I've shifted this page to Performative speech act and back again. I recall that Austin used this term himself, so it should stay here. This is really a bit of an unfortunate page though - I can see why we want this as a page of its own (especially for the WikiProject Critical Theory), but please keep this separate from a potential page on performativity. This page can hint at the Derridean discussion, but the concept of performativity as used by theorists such as Derrida and Butler really merits a page of its own. Pteron 01:23, 11 May 2004 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The plan was to talk about the term as Austin and Eve Sedgwick use it. I'll leave the Derrida stuff to the deconstructionists. -Seth Mahoney 06:49, 11 May 2004 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The page on performativity has stated gathering stuff on the use of the notion in gender studies and science and technology studies. As suggested by Pteron. -- Typewritten 16:51, 18 November 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Sedgwick's account of performatives[edit]

This section is in dire need of citation(s). If it is a summarization of her discussion of the periperformative in chapter two of Touching Feeling then it needs to be noted as such. This author has provided an incomplete and unethical account of Sedgwick's words as they relate (especially) to the rest of this article. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:07, 23 April 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Distinguishing Performative Utterances[edit]

"There is a most thorough and accurate study of how "performatives" might be defined following Austin by Jan S. Andersson, "How to define 'Performative'". (However, unfortunately it has been almost completely ignored by the scholarship of the Anglo-American tradition -- perhaps because it is both very densely written and accurately worked out, and thus not easy to read.)"

Umm, weasel words a little. I mean, that is blatantly biased not to mention that there's more than a hint of original scholarship when the author draws a causal connection between the style of prose and analytic philosophy.

agreed. I just delved into editing for the first time, and not being terribly familiar with the author in question nor with how to handle this, I did the weak thing and added the template for Wikipedia:No_original_research and some of the specific sections that seemed most egregious-but-correctible. I'm not even sure how to tackle the style, though. Alas, for lack of a background in mid-20th-century language theory.Dizzyjosh (talk) 05:09, 26 June 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Quote: 'Austin found great difficulty in drawing a completely clear distinction between "performatives" and "constatives"; among other things he came to the conclusion that to state something is to perform an illocutionary act, which renders all constatives as performatives;'

The 2nd sentence is accurate (Austin, pp. 148-149). However, by saying that Austin "found great difficulty in drawing a completely clear distinction," it suggests that Austin was in fact trying to make a clear distinction in the first place. Considering that Austin resolved his so-called "difficulties" in lecture 12, it seems unlikely that he was ever truly trying to make a such a distinction in the first place. Rather, he was challenging long-held assumptions in philosophy and linguistics, and in order to render his lecture series more persuasive, he had to address counterarguments.

Hypothetically, he could have put lecture 12 first and just cut to the chase, but then his piece would have come across as a manifesto, which he explicitly stated he did NOT wish to do (Austin, p. 164). Rather, he seems to have adopted the strategy of slowly easing the audience into what at the time must have been a very radical notion, namely that everything, including constative utterances (aka statements of fact) could be described as illocutionary acts. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Shawn 06:31, 21 February 2010 (UTC)

Excellent Job![edit]

So clear and brief, yet accurate, that I could assign it to nonmajor Fr. and Sophs. In my multicultural school, I have to worry about many excellent students who are already doing their best to read English as a second language. I don't want to inflict another twenty dollar book on them for the sake of five or six key concepts. A fine use for Wiki. Thanks so much. George J. Leonard, Prof of Interdisciplinary Humanities, San Francisco State University Profhum (talk) 21:18, 14 January 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Reference Mistake[edit]

Could someone who knows how to edit this page correct the reference to "Jackobson" The correct reference is "Jacobsen Klaus" and its Philosophy Quarterly vol. 21 no. 85 (not 1985) but 1971. Thanks. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:10, 18 August 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Done. --Wikiain (talk) 04:02, 20 September 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]


"Go" is listed as an example of a performative utterance. I don't think this is right. It seems to me that saying "I order you to go" would be a performative utterance, whereas simply saying "Go" would be the performance of a speech act, but not a performative. Let me know if I'm mistaken. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Cailean8 (talkcontribs) 01:22, 9 January 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I agree and, there being no other comment, have made that change.Wikiain (talk) 00:33, 8 June 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Buying butter[edit]

So, I'm reading along, and I see examples of performative sentences such as this:

"I give and bequeath my watch to my brother"

Fine. Farther down in the article:

Words on a list can be either descriptive or performative. 'Butter' on a shopping list implies that "I will buy butter" (a promise to yourself). But 'Butter' printed on your till receipt means "you have purchased butter" (simply a description).

Hang on! That cash register receipt is de facto saying "I give and bequeath thee this stick of butter" and if you don't believe this, trying walking out of Frye's Electronics without that receipt in your hand. You'll have store security all over you in no time. The whole point of receipts is that they are performative; you don't otherwise need one, because you already know what you bought. It's not like you go home and say to yourself "gee, I wonder what I bought? Let me look at the receipt." It's not descriptive in any way, shape or form. WTF. Why are we just making stuff up for Wikipedia articles? (talk) 21:03, 28 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Hmm. I added a "citation needed" tag, but, on second thought, that paragraph is so insane that it seems simplest to just delete it outright. I can't begin to imagine a rational, coherent defense of it. (talk) 21:11, 28 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]