13 Pages

Austin's Argument from Illusion

IT is unlikely that the philosophical genius of the late John Austin will ever be adequately appreciated by those who have merely read his words in print; and even to listen to his lectures, brilliant as they sometimes were, was to feel only reverberations of the extraordinary analytical power that has made him one of the most influential philosophers of his generation. It was during periods of creative philosophical discussion that Austin’s genius was most fully displayed, for he was above all else master of a philosophical art that he taught to others by example-an art that is perhaps best described as the topography of concepts. This art is not of course the whole of philosophy. But without it philosophy is impossible, and it is doubtful that any philosopher who has had the privilege of watching John Austin in action has failed to become for that reason a better philosopher.