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The philosophical puzzles of the British Socrates

After vital work for British intelligence during the second world war, why did J.L. Austin devote the rest of his life to considering literally asinine questions?

17 June 2023

9:00 AM

17 June 2023

9:00 AM

J.L. Austin: Philosopher and D-Day Intelligence Officer M.W. Rowe

OUP, pp.660, 30

Imagine your donkey and mine graze in the same field. One day I conceive a dislike for my donkey and shoot it: on examining the victim, though, I realise with horror I’ve shot your donkey. Or imagine a slightly different scenario. As before, I draw a bead, but just as I pull the trigger, my donkey – perhaps more invested in this vale of tears than yours – steps out of the firing line and I shoot your donkey.

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