chapter  2
20 Pages

Saying Equals Doing

This chapter shows that the constative is in all its features assimilable to the performative. Besides chronicling a discovery, How to Do Things with Words ruthlessly and relentlessly challenges what it discovered. In Austin's other essays on speech acts as well as in the Harvard lectures, he interrogated his most famous concept as soon as he introduced it. The result is a demonstration of how to do things with a mind as well as a seminal description of how to do things with words. Even before introducing the concept of the performative, Austin used his first-lecture to define the constative as that to which he was not devoting attention because it was wholly caught up in the irrelevant problematic of truth and falsity. Speech acts - performatives - were first contrasted to speech statements, constatives. However, the contrast immediately broke down when faulty statements turned out to be faulty for reasons with clear analogies to the factors debilitating failed performatives.