Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Words and Deeds

I've been spending all of my time reading Austin's 'Sense and Sensibilia' lecture notes. Since today is probably my last day in the library, I browsed through the two volumes of his notes for 'How to Do Things With Words'. The most remarkable thing about these notes is that from pp.152-222 (70 pages), on A3 (legal size) sheets of pink paper (some covered front and back), Austin has written densely packed lists of hundreds (probably thousands) of verbs. On a randomly chosen page of 'behabitives', I counted 65 in one column on a four column page! There must be extensive repetition, however, because the verbs are first listed under 'Behabitives', 'Verdictives', 'Exercitives', 'Commissives', etc. , then they are grouped together in a general list that distinguishes between 'explicit', 'implicit', 'descriptive', 'suiting action', and 'non-perfomatives'. It is remarkable.

(If I were allowed to take a picture of these pages, I would, but I'm not, so I won't.)

The first listed verb in the massive list is the verdictive 'absolve' (p. 153) and the last is in a list of 'rights, claims, votes, consents': 'yield'.

No comments: