[hist-analytic] The Annals of Analysis
Jlsperanza at aol.com
Jlsperanza at aol.com
Wed Jan 28 14:05:18 EST 2009
Thanks to R. B. Jones for refreshing for us those notes. I recall having
read and enjoyed them. Some running comments of a 'constructive' (if not
downright analytic) nature:
R. B. Jones writes:
>This heritage spans over 2000 years and
>includes works originally written in many
>different languages, including Greek, Latin,
>and German. English is really the only language
>I know well.
Well, for Italians, 'analitico' was anathema. I remember trying to read
Italian 'filosofia' as they spell it, and failing: it's all Abbagnano with them.
I'm less sure about French 'analytique'. I would think that since Port-Royal
(philosophers and linguistics teachers love to roll the 'r's on that one --
it's so Parisian), the French mind has shown some analytic trends.
>It may be helpful to distinguish three periods in the use of the word as
>Ancient - analysis as a method of proof
I loved that. Indeed, if one just goes by "Liddell/Scott" (he of Alice
Hargreaves fame), we encounter a few considerations. I believe we should, as a
token to Aristotle, basically focus on the Stagirite's use of the neuter plural,
abbreviated by scholars (or 'schoolers' as I prefer) "Anal." -- priora and
posteriora, of course. Liddell/Scott read:
"ta analutika" [are the] principles of analysis,
Then there's the Greek sentence fragment:
"apaideusia tôn a.
and a reference to ["analutica"] [being]
"[the] title of A.'s treatises [two, to date] on this subject."
--- I note that the reference is indeed to Book IV of the Metaphysics, which
Perseus allows us to browse. It reads: [1005b].
So indeed we do find the sentence fragment: "apaideusian ton analutikon
touto drosin" ("Esti de sophia tis kai hê phusikê, all' ou prôtê. hosa d'
encheirousi tôn legontôn tines peri tês alêtheias hon tropon dei apodechesthai, di'
apaideusian  tôn analutikôn touto drôsin")
Perhaps oddly, W. Ross does not use 'analytic' at all in the translation,
which goes, smoothly, for the opening passage:
"Natural philosophy is a kind of Wisdom,
but not the primary kind. As for the attempts of
some of those who discuss how the truth
should be received, they are due to
lack of training in logic"
So, it would seem this is odd, of sorts. The 'attempts' are due to 'lack of
training', and it's this "in logic" that Aristotle calls "ton analutikon",
i.e. a genitive plural neuter. Hence his idea, one guesses of presenting to the
students his brilliant "Analytica" priora and posteriora. (I say students,
because when it came to teach the general population, Aristotle preferred the
dialogue format, and I see why).
R. B. Jones continues one step earlier in the analysis -- which reminds me
of A. N. Whitehead's brilliant quip, "All philosophy is footnotes to Plato".
>Plato is credited (by Proclus) with the invention
>of a method of proof known as analysis.
Jones rightly notes:
>Since this method is observed in earlier Greek mathematics
>it is doubtful that it does originate with Plato.
Exactly. Here I found of use Thomas's Loeb "Greek mathematics" volumes. I
believe Proclus is indeed the second volume. I would think it is indeed a
pre-socratic (i.e. pre-Platonic) thing. I for one would relate it perhaps to the
'reductio ad absurdum' proof of sorts. The problem with the presocratic
philosophers is, alas, the lack of 'quote' signs. Thus we read, "Thales wrote
refutations". And it's not clear whether he wrote refutations or he wrote a
treatise by the name, "Refutations". It becomes more annoying when we read things
like "In his refutations, Thales used this method"; where, for lack of proper
orthography, that could well mean, "In his treatise entitled, 'refutations',
Thales used this method". Etc.
I'm pleased that RBJ notes the connection with "reductio ad absurdum" and
the asymmetry, as it were, between analysis as a backward proof and 'synthesis'
as a forward proof.
Jones then uses 'orthogonal':
>this ancient distinction between analytic and synthetic proofs
>is orthogonal to the more modern distinction between analytic
>and synthetic statements.
which is a refreshing lexical dose. Oddly, the OED does not recognise
between 'lit.' and 'fig.' uses of this thing. For one, the cite below seems otiose
"Psychopathology should be viewed
in terms of a continuum of difficulties,
rather than in terms of discrete, orthogonally unrelated states."
Journal of General Psychology, 1970, p. 73
But I tangentially disgress.
Arriving at Aristotle, RBJ notes:
>Aristotle distinguises analytic and dialectical proof.
------ It may do here to analyse not so much 'analytic' (or as I prefer, the
neuter plural -- this escapes complications. For example, my surname, means
"Hope" in English, but it's from _vulgar_ Latin, 'sperantia' -- things to be
hoped for. Although we don't find the _things_: it's merely neuter plural.
What annoys me even is that in iconographical representations, this neuter
plural becomes _feminine_: in Spenser's Faerie Queane, for example, Speranza [sic]
is represented as a Lady Cute and True with an Anchor in her Lilywhite Hand.
'Proof' sometimes Aristotle uses 'semeion' -- and this is a favourite of
mine. A disciple of Umberto Eco has written extensively on the Greek use of
'semeion' (or even 'sema') as proof. And thus 'analytic' signs, if one wishes,
are of the sort, I wish to think, like Grice's "The present budget MEANS [i.e.
is an analytic proof, almost] that we will have a hard year".
RBJ turns to the Moderns:
>Leibniz claims that necessary truths
>can be established by analysis.
By this time, I would assume it's the mathematical sense, as when an
engineer student will make me lose my face by saying, "I'm currently attending a
class in analysis". Since Leibniz is credited with the 'infinitesimal analysis',
this may be the case. Cfr. Cartesius for his brilliant considerations on
orthogonal geometrical projections of basic algebra.
RBJ rightly notes that Locke does not use 'analytic'. He "talks [instead] Of
Trivial Propositions." Indeed. Also 'trifle'? If 'trivial', I am amused. In
"Aspects of Reason" Grice speaks of 'trivial' reasoning -- which the OED has
as "woman's reason". "p, because p". A trifle, or to use Cartesian,
'orthogono-analytic' (what Hume would possibly have as 'a piece of cake').
We reach "Ariskant":
>Kant certainly does use the words ... speaking
>Of The Difference between Analytical and Synthetical Judgements.
Grice I'm never sure what Kant translation he used. The standard one that
Harvard U. P. uses in Kant-in-English. I would assume that the distinction of
opposing 'analytic' _versus_ 'synthetic' (never mind Kant's pretentious
'judgement') is due to Bauman. Kant hardly travelled (unless you call 'go to the
grocer's' a kind of travel) but apparently Bauman and others taught him -- into
the schoolers' jargon.
>Analytic philosophy emerged at the beginning of this century from two
revolutions in philosophy both of which had their epicentre at the University of
This above R. B. Jones writes just to annoy _me_: an Oxonian of Oxonian
He goes on:
"The origin begins with the rejection by [one] young Cambridge
"This lead to some of the most influential work by English speaking
philosophers in this century, e.g. ... work by Oxford philosophers such as J.L.Austin
"This trend in contemporary philosophy has been labelled by some "linguistic
philosophy" and has provoked acerbic criticism from outsiders (e.g.
Gellner), as well as sustained opposition from other philosophical camps."
Gellner is indeed an outsider. He was born in Paris, but taught in London.
My favourite outsider is Bergmann, though. Grice recalls how sad he felt when
Bergmann refused an invitation to the Saturday morning group. It was too early
for him and he would rather be seen slept than wasting his busy morning with
"some bunch of English futilitarians".
---- But my thesis advisor -- he tr., can you believe it, "How to do things
with words" into the vernacular, E. A. Rabossi -- would tremble at the idea of
the Moore --> Oxford connection. I would not. Conservatives (like Rabossi)
want to see Oxford philosophy as _Oxford_ indeed, and so they quote from J. C.
Wilson and other "Aristotelians" as the sort of thing that led to Ryle and
Grice, as we know, does dedicate a few of his early essays (i.e. time) to
Moore and in his reprint ("WOW", Way of Words) there are some perhaps dated
essays on Moore and 'common sense'. When I reviewed this for a vernacular
journal, I noted that the connection can, though, be made in terms of Grice on
'meaning'. He would say, for example, that what _we_ mean by 'cause' is not what
the Hegelian _means_ by 'cause'.
R. B. Jones then refers to Russell's "theory of descriptions".
There is a reference, "in England, A.J.Ayer."
This may connect with Ryle. I, being Ayer, would have found it annoying if
I'm a post-grad student at Oxford. Go to my tutor for advice, Ryle. And he
says, "You go to Vienna". Rude, in fact. Good ole Freddie did go, and that's
where he met his anglo-friend, Quine. Apparently, and I can see why, they were
the two who could not hold natural conversations with 'the Hun'! In "Part of my
life" Ayer recalls how he wrote (typed, actually) his Gollancz book in, say,
four weeks? His use of 'analytic' became indeed _crucial_. I especially
loved how he dismissed all ethics and aesthetics not as analytic but as
'inspirational' ("Ouch", "Ohh!"). When I was researching into art-theory, I came
across a reference to Ayer by, of all people, NY-based conceptual artist Joseph
Kosuth. Kosuth wanted to say, against Ayer, that "This is art" _is_ analytic!
A footnote reads:
>Unfortunately this little sketch of the Russellian side of
>analytic philosophy doesn't hang together properly for me,
--- a book that clarified things for me was Ayer, "Moore and Russell: the
analytic heritage" (Macmillan). That man spent his life explaining Russell.
>since I haven't found enough evidence of any systematic method in Russell's
he or anyone else could tag with this analytic label.
Well, I would think that theory of descriptions does a pretty good job. In
any case, Russell was Grice's reactionary reply to Strawson. As Strawson was
growing tiresome with his _ordinary-language_ thing, Grice was provoked to
write things like
"Definite descriptions in Russell and in the Vernacular"
Basically, this is the idea behind "Presupposition and Conversational
Implicature". Grice shows via analysis that Strawson is wrong in embracing
truth-value gaps (the term is Quine's) when a simpler square-bracket formalisation
[(Ex)Kx &] ~Bx
i.e. it is common ground that there is a king of France, and what we _state_
is that he is not bald. Grice thought the square-bracket device was a
contesting of the 'modernists' against the 'neotraditionalists' like Strawson. And
a good thing about his square-bracket device thing, Grice notes, is that it
is to be 'discarded' if that's the word ("what the eye no longer sees, the eye
no longer grieves for", he writes in his valedictory 'Retrospective
R. B. J. concludes his interesting 'historical' notes:
>Unfortunately there really havn't been any philosophers who stuck to
analytic pronouncements, so that's not a very plausible explanation of the term,
even from the logical side.
Well, there's _Analysis_, the celebrated journal still doing the rounds.
Must say it bores me. Articles so short and, well, hardly 'humanitarian', as I
call them (i.e. not along the Humanities line).
Rabossi was another one! He always felt a bit of an outsider in academia, so
he _bought_ a house (Calle Bulnes, Buenos Aires) and he founded a Society,
of which I belong -- He founded it as:
Argentine Society for "Philosophical Analysis"!
-- In Buenos Aires, one has to be careful because if you don't use the adj.
'philosophical' it _will_ mean "Freud"! The Argentine Society for
Philosophical Analysis (SADAF in the Vernacular) publishes a 'publication' that goes by
the name of "Philosophical Analysis" and it's, let's say, less boring than the
_Analysis_ Blackwell one.
now at the Swimming-Pool Library
Villa Speranza, Bordighera
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