[hist-analytic] Understandable!

Jlsperanza at aol.com Jlsperanza at aol.com
Sun Feb 1 17:53:20 EST 2009

In a message dated 1/31/2009 1:01:44 P.M. Eastern Standard Time,  
rbj at rbjones.com writes in "Re: Quine's "two dogmas"":

Hunting for specific references, I see that he says that in "Two Dogmas  
Reconsidered" (p270) (and in Word and Object section 12) Quine accepts  
explicitly that "all batchelors are unmarried" is  analtyic.


Very good. 

It may do, here, to reconsider Grice/Strawson's two examples (in "In  defense 
of a dogma" -- Strawson had the courtesy of _never_ reprinting this  essay, 
although the (c) is indeed Strawson/Grice). Anyway, their two examples  involve 
descriptions rather than 'terms' proper, and are pretty convoluted. We  will 
see that they are not interested in the sentences themselves  ('theirselves'? 
:)) but in the replies they elicit from  addressees:

i. My three-year old  daughter
is an adult

ii.  And she understands Russell's  Theory
of Types

--- The addressee, as he interrupts the utterer  goes:

"My three-year old  daughter
is an adult"


"... and she understands  Russell's
Theory of  Types."


So it boils down, in G/S's picture that the good reply for  an analytically 
TRUE (now) utterance, now would be as per the subject-header,  
"Understandable!", while "Believable!" we can keep for synthetically true (now)  utterance. I 
fail to see if this is an advancement:

It could be hard to  sustain that analytically true sentences we _don't_ 
believe, but that's just as  well.

But back to the unmarried bachelor. I fail to see if I am  one.

But I once saw this American film, with a woman I then loved, Jill  
Clayborough (she of the Blackwell list of "ill-dressed"). The title, and it was  with 
Alan Bates, was "An Unmarried Woman". I don't think "Bachelorette" would  do. 
But a man who is divorced (or has gone through a divorce) may be said to  
re-become a 'bachelor'. Of course we shouldn't be concerned with etymologies,  
since I would be surprised if that sentence, in Latin, say, makes _sense_  
(analytic or other!). It's not a 'bachelor of arts', for example. And we are not  
talking of 'civil unions' here, either. 

"All bachelors are  unmarried"

Since this is, in the Grice/Strawson diagnosis, meant to be  analytically 
true, the elicitation is, "Understandable!". I.e. it's not  something we may come 
to _believe_. Why?

The reason may have to do with  'meaning postulates' -- the only bit in 
Carnap (nice guy, ultimately),  Introduction to Semantics, I guess I still keep at 
the Swimming-Pool Library. He  uses "M" for Married, "U" for 'unmarried', and 
"B" for bachelor. So, we then  need the "horseshoe" for entailment. We need a 
predicate calculus, and we need  something we don't have, a predicate calculus 
which is _decidable_. I.e. one  that for each utterance or sentence it tells 
us, alla Turing, or  algorithmically, if it is a theorem or not. So the idea 
behind the  meaning-postulate is that we, qua designers of the System -- let's 
call it  System Q, alla Quine, as Grice did --, postulate:

It will be assigned the  truth-value "1" for the following material  

"If B, U"

Or better

for "(x) Bx ) Ux"     --  where ")" is the horseshoe

we are postulating, as 'meaning', i.e. as an  _interpretation_ of the 
relevant fragment of System Q, that the class of married  bachelors is _null_, and 
more, that it _has_ to be null. The sense of necessity  coming from making it a 
'theorem', i.e. true under every interpretation.  

I don't know about Quine, but I'd analyse 'unmarried' as involving the  "~". 
This is controversial. A. Zwicky for example, the lingust, thinks that  
'isn't' has a different logical form from "is not". And it has been said that  "The 
king of France is unbald" is pretty believable, too. If we use 'married'  
though we could simplify the formula "(x) Bx ) Ux" or provide a more basic  

~(Ex)Bx & Mx

--- but I fear that Carnap requires  meaning postulates to be of the '(x)' 
type. There's a further problem with  'all', as Strawson notes in "Introduction 
to logical theory" -- and any account  of Quine's reception in England should 
pay some detail to his "A Logician's  Landscape" for the PQ? --. "All" fails 
to provide 'substitutional'  quantification in most cases. We need "every", 
which apparently does. "Every  bachelor is unmarried", or "It is not the case 
that there is at least one  bachelor who is married". 

Now you are speaking sense, I hear Humpty  Dumpty say as he pats me on my 

bachelor. And I wish  philosophers in the twentieth century (but then they 
didn't have online access  to it -- and I fear mine is not eternal either) could 
quote more from the OED  (Davidson does in "On saying that"). The OED notes 
about  'bachelor':

"The original meaning being uncertain, the  sense-development is also 

which is a Duhemite good start for  the underdogma!

The OED continues: 

The  "baccalarius" "applied in 8th c. to 
            rustics  male and female 
            who  worked for the colonus or tenant of a mansus. 
         (See Deloche, Cartulaire  de Beaulieu Introd. éclairc. xxii.) 
-- But life, some will say, is too short to see the eclairc. xxii -- I  trust 
As for the 'bacca' bit there are two theories. On one it would be cognate  
with 'vaccine' and meaning 'cow-boy' or 'cow-girl'. The OED has it:
"bacca, late L. and Romanic for vacca cow, through *baccalis (cf. ovilis  
from ovis sheep), in which case it might be ‘grazing farm,’ and baccalarius one  
employed on it."
The other theory has the baccalarius as the holder of the bacculum or  stick:
"Littré (without accounting for the sense) suggests Celtic bachall stick  (a. 
L. baculus)". I've accounted for the sense, 'the holder of the stick', male  
or female. 
The first recorded OED cite is 
"Syre ong bacheler..ow art strong & corageus."
      R. Glouc. 453, 1297. 
As for 'married' the OED is not too promising:
"of uncertain origin."

The OED being 'anglos' they discard Priscian:
"The first element is **probably**  [my emphasis. JLS]  not,  as proposed by 
Priscian and many subsequent etymologists, mari-, mas ‘man,  male’". Although 
it states that "[[mari] may be cognate with a number of words  for young men 
and women" (in languages other than Latin). As for the history,  they attest 
Italian 'maritare' (1250). Abd the first attested cite being:
"He lete hure marie to is sone at was is eir."
            1325  11000 Virgins (Corpus Cambr.) 14 in C. D'Evelyn & A. J. 
Mill S. Eng.  Legendary (1956) 443 

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