Konferenser - Conferences

The 8th NWS Conference

What's wrong (and what's right) with Ordinary Language Philosophy?

Åbo Akademi University, Turku, Finland

May 5-6, 2017

The label "ordinary language philosophy" (OLP) was probably coined by its detractors. Common objections against OLP are that philosophers engaging in it gratuitously limit their attention to the most common ways of using words, that they give current or non-specialized usage normative ascendancy over more sophisticated uses, and that they neglect the need for empirical investigation in settling issues of usage.

In defence of OLP it has been suggested that much of the criticisms are due to misunderstandings of methodologies such as those adopted by Wittgenstein, Austin, and others. The ordinary language philosophers are the ones who intend to approach language without preconceptions, by attending to the way words actually occur in interaction - not so much the language of everyday as the everyday of language. Nor are ordinary language philosophers out to chart maps of current or correct usage: their aim is rather to dissolve worries that arise out of misconstruals of our own ways of speaking. They are not in the business of new discoveries but rather of reminding ourselves of how we speak.

The aim of this closing conference of our research project "The Philosophical Import of Ordinary Language Philosophy: Austin, Ryle, Wittgenstein, and their contemporary significance" (2013-17) is to explore the aspirations and procedures of ordinary language philosophy. Are they unified or diverse? Are they intelligible? Are they defensible? How do philosophical outlooks that have an apparent affinity with ordinary language philosophy, such as experimental philosophy or various contemporary forms of contextualism, relate to OLP?

Invited speakers

Avner Baz (Tufts University)
Jason Bridges (University of Chicago)
Robyn Carston (University College London)(cancelled)
Niklas Forsberg (Uppsala University)
Marina Sbisą (University of Trieste)


The conference is organized by the Nordic Wittgenstein Society and the research project "The Philosophical Import of Ordinary Language Philosophy", which is financed by the Academy of Finland and coordinated by Professor Martin Gustafsson, Åbo Akademi University. The organizers are Dr Kim-Erik Berts, Professor emeritus Lars Hertzberg, and Dr Yrsa Neuman.

See also the project webpage.

Tidigare konferenser - Past conferences

The 7th Symposium of the Nordic Wittgenstein Society: Wittgenstein and Pragmatism
University of Helsinki, Finland, June 16-17, 2016

The 6th Symposium of the Nordic Wittgenstein Society: Wittgenstein, Philosophy of Mind & Naturalism
University of Bergen, Norway, June 12-13, 2015
Details archived here.

The 5th Symposium of the Nordic Wittgenstein Society: Wittgenstein and Phenomenology
University of Stavanger, Norway, May 30-31, 2014
Details archived here.

The 4th symposium of the International Ludwig Wittgenstein Society:
The Contemporary Significance of Ordinary Language Philosophy Åbo Akademi University, Turku, Finland, May 24-25, 2013
Details archived here.

The 3rd NWS Conference: Wittgenstein, the Philosophy of Education and the Education of Philosophy
Department of Philosophy, Education and the Studies of Religion University of Southern Denmark, Odense June 8-9, 2012
Details archived here.

The 2nd NWS Conference: Culture and Context
Department of Philosophy, Åbo Akademi University, Turku, Finland May 19, 2011
Details archived here.

The 1st NWS Conference: Language, Ethics and Animal Life
Department of Philosophy, Uppsala University, Sweden March 26-28, 2010
Details archived here.