[hist-analytic] "Analytically"

Jlsperanza at aol.com Jlsperanza at aol.com
Mon Feb 2 09:46:32 EST 2009

Yesterday I was watching this silly film on TV,  about a cheerleader -- set 
in the USA. At one point one of the characters,  getting angry, says:

"eff why you, you're  out"

or words to that effect, where the first clause is the oral  equivalent of 
"f. y. i.", which if Grice is right in his teleological  justification of the 
cooperative principle, should preface _all_ our  conversational moves (For 
Grice, even moves of the "!" force are basically  attempts at _informing_ -- the 
symmetrical view that all moves are attempts at  _influencing_ is just as valid, 
if not more -- see Grice, "Method" for the  reduction of "Belief" to "Desire" 
-- and similar attempts by others -- JP, 1979,  footnote, ... :)).

Anyway, when Grice dealt with irony he noted (moved by  comments of Albritton 
-- who had invited him to deliver the William James,  incidentally) that 

"He's a  scoundrel"

can be used _ironically_; but, Grice suggests, to say,  "Ironically, he is a 
scoundrel", _kills_, as it were, the purpose of  "irony".

"Tautologically" works similarly. Grice's examples are  two:

War is war
Women are  women

-- These could be taken as 'analytic' and so you know where I'm  heading to.

It would be otiose to say,

"Tautologically, war is war"
"Tautologically, women are  women."

What about 'analytic'.

Many -- e.g. G. N. Leech -- have  suggested that so-called analytic sentences 

Bachelors are unmarried men
Occulists are  eye-doctors


can have a _didactic_ purpose: they explain  about the rules of the language. 
If they are within the class of _tautologies_,  they are uninformative, 
though at the 'f. y. i.' level -- unless of course we  include 'didactic' under 
'informative' (and why wouldn't we).

The point  I'm trying to make -- in a rush as usual -- is that there's little 
(job-wise)  analytic sentences do for us. "War is war", or "Bachelors _are_ 
unmarried, you  know" seem to work best at the level of the 'implicature'.

For this to  happen we have to wed to the idea of a calculus as the one Grice 
describes at  the beginning of "Logic and Conversation" and define, strictly, 
a tautology and  an analytic sentence within a system. Provided this works, 
_then_ we can extend  the scope of what an Utterer may _mean_ by uttering an 
analytic sentence.  

I was amused one to note that "Women are women" and "War is war" can be  
answers to the same question:

A: So you would  condone the policies
undertaken by Margaret Thatcher during the Falklands  War?

B (Gurkha): (a) Well, war is  war
(b) Well, [amused], women are women.

The implicatures _differ_.  

There may be other uses for 'analytically' as this sort of parenthetical  
alla Urmson (see his "Parentheticals" repr. in Caton). Symmetrically,  
"Synthetically" would seem just as otiose,

"Synthetically, f. y. i., my  cat has grown quite fat".

Which leads you to think that perhaps the  analytic-synthetic distinction, a 
top-dogma at that, should after all be best  left for the _rationalists_ (at 


J. L. Speranza  

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