Descriptive fallacy

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The descriptive fallacy refers to reasoning which treats a speech act as a logical proposition, which would be mistaken when the meaning of the statement is not based on its truth condition.[1] It was suggested by the British philosopher of language J. L. Austin in 1955 in the lectures now known as How to Do Things With Words. Austin argued that performative utterances are not meaningfully evaluated as true or false but rather by other measures, which would hold that a statement such as "thank you" is not meant to describe a fact and to interpret it as such would be to commit the descriptive fallacy.


  1. ^ Bunnin, Nicholas; Yu, Jiyuan, eds. (2004). "Descriptive fallacy". The Blackwell Dictionary of Western Philosophy. ISBN 978-1-4051-0679-5.