Cover: When Words Are Called For: A Defense of Ordinary Language Philosophy, from Harvard University PressCover: When Words Are Called For in HARDCOVER

When Words Are Called For

A Defense of Ordinary Language Philosophy

Add to Cart

Product Details


$48.00 • £38.95 • €43.00

ISBN 9780674055223

Publication Date: 03/12/2012


256 pages

6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches


This is a revolutionary book—certainly within the context of mainstream analytic philosophy. But its appeal should be wider than the admittedly narrow circle of professional philosophers. Indeed, it addresses a popular dissatisfaction with philosophy; namely, that philosophical arguments are often seen as beside the point, ‘detached from life’ and unsatisfying… Baz believes that philosophers tend to divorce their words from reality. His view is that we make sense only when we speak in virtue of such a connection… Baz is trying to build a persuasive case for a perspective in which philosophical ‘difficulties lose their apparent force.’ He has given us a radical, subtle and patient account of an alternative to how much of philosophy proceeds today.—Craig Fox, Times Higher Education

A serious challenge to the prevailing but misguided assumption that linguistic and conceptual explorations can’t tell us anything about the nature of things… It is exciting to see ordinary language philosophy being taken seriously again in these dark philosophical times.—Constantine Sandis, Times Higher Education

The effort of this book in defense of ordinary language philosophy will have a more positive effect on the field of philosophy than any other theoretical defense of the practice that I am aware of. This book has a chance to bring distinct new interest to some of the most interesting (and I hope permanently inspiring) moments of advance in philosophy over the course of the past six or seven decades.—Stanley Cavell, Harvard University

Austin, Wittgenstein and the so-called ‘ordinary language’ tradition in philosophy are at risk of being lost. Not because they have fallen prey to clinching philosophical arguments, but because for over twenty-five years they have suffered from caricature, dogmatism, neglect, and all-too-facile dismissal by those who would pronounce their teachings dead for contemporary philosophy. Baz has written a courageous, lucid, trenchant, and provocative book, reopening the issue and developing a new outlook on the tradition’s value and prospects. It is filled with questions about history, argumentation, and philosophical method that need answering. If I had to recommend one text showing how fundamental questions of philosophical method still lie at the heart of the analytic tradition, it would be this one.—Juliet Floyd, Boston University

Recent News

Black lives matter. Black voices matter. A statement from HUP »

From Our Blog

Cover: A Theory of Justice: Original Edition, by John Rawls, from Harvard University Press

John Rawls: Speaking in a Shared Political Language

On the occasion of the anniversary of the publication of A Theory of Justice, Andrius Gališanka, author of John Rawls: The Path to a Theory of Justice, reflects on some of Rawls’s ideas on moral and political reasoning