[hist-analytic] "A Pretty Good Guide To Logical Form"

Jlsperanza at aol.com Jlsperanza at aol.com
Sun Feb 8 19:29:29 EST 2009

"By virtue of grammar".  "By virtue of its form -- and form  only"?
       -- Open the door. It's I, Tom!
        -- He's not Tom. He's the  master!
        -- How do you know?
        -- Tom would never say,  "It's I" -- 
How virtuous is the 'homo grammaticus'? -- or the abuses of 'the logical  
grammar of ...' in the annals of analytic philosophy (with a wink to C. W. K.  
Mundle, "A Critique of Linguistic Philosophy"  -- Excellent book by this  
         "Nein!" (Was: Frege) 
I enjoyed B. Aune's reply to S. R. Bayne.  ("But not all statements ar  of 
the 'All Bs are B' form", etc.)
It motivated to re-read Frege! Anyway, two  little points:

* 'in virtue of', etc. It may amuse philosophers that this  is all, of 
course, 'out of Africa', almost, and due to the equivocation in the  Greek concept 
of 'arete'. Arete meant 'excellence' (as in The Age of  Excellence). Cicero was 
not a noble, but a vulgus; and so, wiki tells us, he  wanted to say that men 
were virtuous 'by virtue of 'virtue''! The phrase stuck,  and as M. McDonnell 
notes in his "Roman manliness" (p 103) -- google books --,  

"The phrases 'by virtue of' and 'en vertu  de' 
are both traceable to the effect of a  cultic 
use of Greek 'arete' on Roman 'virtus'  "

* As for Frege; again from wiki: "Frege argues that without ever having  any 
intuition toward any of the numbers in the following equation [*] we  
nevertheless can assert it as [analytischlig] true". 
Frege's example being: 

" 135664 + 37863 =  173527"

The "Nein!" in the header comes from his typically German  emphatic answer to 
"Could Kant be right that this is synthetic?" And I am amused  that, if M. 
Gardner ("Annotated Alice") is right and Humpty Dumpty is Lewis  Carroll's 
caricature of the Oxford philo-sophico-philo-logicus fella, then I'd  say that, 
like to Humpty, to verify whether Frege is _right_ would take me a  few!

* By virtue of grammar? Now back to 
"All Bs are B"
and B. Aune's commentary ("Frege in his Foundations of Arithmetic tried to  
improve on Kant’s definition of an analytic truth; he tried to bring it up to  
date in a way we are all familiar with" -- and again: "But not all statements  
are of the “All Bs are B” form. What about them?"). I was recently reading  
(and discussing in CHORA-L) J. K. Jerome's Three men in a bummel. He is  
discussing German overuses of 'ought' (This is not what I want, but what I ought  
to want). Ditto, I can imagine Frege saying:
      -- But not all statements are of the "All Bs  are B" form.
      -- Well, they *should*!
If we use 'horseshoe' to formalise the above, indeed it seems like we can  
'verify' it holds for 'all truth-conditions' (I'm speaking vaguely) for _any_  
(x) Fx  ) Fx
where ')' stands for ')'. So, it wouldn't be so much 'by virtue of its  
meaning -- _and meaning only_" [This closure to appease S. R. Bayne?] but, as  
Bayne also suggests, 'by virtue of its _logical_ form"? And here it is where  
Analytic Philosophy got interesting, I found. When it started to speak, albeit  
vaguely, but with some degree of impertinence, of 'the logical grammar  of...':
    "You just can't say "The pillar box is red".
     'Red' does not apply to 'material-objects'
     but to 'sense-datum'"
"The logic of colour-words", "The logical grammar of ..." this and that.  And 
as a pro-Oxonian, I would even go with Russell that grammar is a "pretty  
good guide" _to_ logical form (where grammar means ordinary-language, nicely  
fitting what Russell had as 'stone-age metaphysics"! Let Eddington play with  
quanta! -- Cheers,   -- JL. 


J. L. S.
Author of "And now to  bed", etc. *
    * Why did J. L. Austin ever feel the _need_  to *translate* Frege?! He's 
so transparent! (Just joking).  

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