Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Are we displacing behaviour yet?

I just want the world to know that when I read the following passage, I had reached such a degree of vexation with J. L. Austin's article that I was in fact standing on my head:

Observation of animal behaviour shows that regularly, when an animal is embarked on some recognizable pattern of behaviour but meets in the course of it with an insuperable obstacle, it will betake itself to energetic, but quite unrelated, activity of some wild kind, such as standing on its head. This phenomenon is called "displacement behaviour" and is well identifiable. If now, in the light of this, we look back at ordinary human life, we see that displacement behaviour bulks quite large in it: yet we have apparently no word, or at least no clear and simple word, for it.

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