Topic outline

  • Background information

    • There are several copies of this TV programme on YouTube. you can see the whole video here posted by "Manufacturing Intellect". The programme was presented by Bryan Magee who was himself a philosopher, as well as a presenter on TV and radio. The guest is John Searle.

      Searle, as a philosopher of language, is interested in the connection between reality and language.  He talks about how this field developed in the 20th century, especially following the work of Ludwig Wittgenstein. He describes three lines of development:

      1. Based on the early Wittgenstein - his first book "Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus" published in English translation in 1922. These philosophers were interested in "truth conditions". They connected the meaning of any statement with the method for verifying it.
      2. Based on later Wittgenstein, and Searle's own work, is more concerned with language use, a human behaviour. (Wittgenstein's later book "Philosophical Investigations" was published in English in 1953). This tradition looks at how language comes to contain meaning, without such concern about truth.
      3. The science of linguistics, and especially the work of Noam Chomsky, has come to interact with philosophy.

      In the excerpt, Searle talks about the second of these traditions. What are philosophers trying to understand when they talk about a "speech act"?
    • Forum icon

      If you have any questions about this video or the exercises, please write in this forum.

  • Listen and make notes

  • Understanding the ideas

  • English for philosophy

  • NAWL

    • There are just two words from NAWL in this video, "rejection" and "linguistic"

      Note that these two verbs are opposites:

      accept - to agree or say "yes" to something.
      reject - to NOT accept something.

      From the verb "reject" we get two different nouns:

      a reject - a product that had a mistake in its manufacture, which is not good enough, or maybe a person who is not wanted.

      a rejection - the action of not accepting someone. We sometimes talk about "rejections" when we mean replies from unsuccessful applications (for example asking for a job).

      rejection is the opposite of acceptance