Sunday, November 02, 2014
Lesley Chamberlain on Austin's compatible aims.
Derrida’s performances meanwhile derived another aspect of their meaning from Heidegger. This was the idea that truth has to happen to us. It can’t just sit there and be, in a book, on the wall. We can only grasp the truth of our being here, and being in the world, as being-in-performance. Just as, to be art, the work of art has to go to work, so there are moments when beings are what they are, and we are fully in their presence when the truth of them happens. Both Austin and Heidegger were dissatisfied with thinking about consciousness as the fundament of philosophy. Moreover, although Austin was about Oxford no nonsense and about clarity, and Heidegger was German and unintelligible (at least to prejudiced Oxford minds) in fact Austin’s aims were oddly compatible with Heidegger’s, for where Austin was practical and Heidegger metaphysical, both sought meaning in performance. And when Austin’s view was parsed as saying that what language describes it simultaneously creates then no one could deny that Austinism looked like the return of metaphysics by an unexpected route; meanwhile Heidegger too was trying to reinvent metaphysics.
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