People as Actors

J.Z. Young

  • Social Being by Rom Harré
    Blackwell, 438 pp, £15.00, November 1980, ISBN 0 631 10691 X

We often read attacks on linguistic philosophy as an arid, inhumane and unproductive academicism. It is refreshing to find a sustained and ingenious attempt to build a whole theory of human action on ‘the extremely subtle analysis of ordinary language developed by the Oxford School of Philosophers’ – especially, one may add, by John Austin. Unfortunately Dr Harré finds it necessary to develop his thesis by the use of language that is very far from ordinary. Those who are not familiar with the jargons of philosophy and sociology will find it hard to follow. Nevertheless, for me, the effort has been well worth while.

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