Monday, July 09, 2007

Cricket examples in philosophy

Many years ago, as I began my graduate studies in Philosophy in New York City, I stumbled upon JL Austin while reading on speech acts for my Philosophy of Language class. I was delighted to note that Austin, in his discussion of performative utterances (to utter one of these sentences is not just to "say" something, but to perform an action), provided the example of a cricket umpire saying "Out". I was a lonely graduate student then, and somehow, reading about cricket, even if only in the context of an academic discussion was a small reprieve from that loneliness. I felt part of something larger, and especially in that American context, was happy to think that perhaps some of my fellow graduate students would want clarification, which, of course, I would be only too happy to provide. (They didn't; they understood the example well enough from baseball: "steeerrrikkke! You're out!"). But I digress. Austin, I suspect, was a cricket fan, and often referred to cricket. I recently re-read Sense and Sensibilia and discovered another couple of references to cricket in his (attempted) refutation of sense-data theory. This discovery prompted me to start a mini-project, which I hereby announce with a grand flourish: to collect all cricket references in the philosophical literature. I suspect they will all come from English and Australian analytic philosophers (I'm not optimistic about German continental types including references to cricket in their works). I'll start tomorrow with the excerpts from Sense and Sensibilia. This is not a philosophy blog so I won't bother trying to explain the context of each quote (besides, I'm lazy, and its too much darn work in this heat). But, hopefully, you'll find them entertaining. If anyone knows of any quotes in philosophical literature, please send them on.


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