[hist-analytic] The Dawn of Analysis
Jlsperanza at aol.com
Jlsperanza at aol.com
Fri Feb 13 19:26:41 EST 2009
-- was the Dawn of Philosophy?
>From S. Soames's webpage at USC. He describes one of his specialties as
>the history of analytic philosophy.
So this should concern us! The two volumes of his opus magnum are entitled,
poetically, "The dawn of analysis" and "the age of meaning".
In his webpage introduction he expands:
>More recently I have developed interests in [...] the future of analytic
Ah well, here we are slightly more conservative (aren't we, Steve) and still
interested in her past!
Weatherson informally criticises Soames as having looked, alla T. P. U. --
our Finnish correspondent on ANALYTIC -- into 'the strange death of ...'
ordinary-language philosophy. Weatherson notes some of the similes, "Grice put the
last nail in the coffin". And later, but where _is_ the corpse?
What fascinates me about Grice is that he *changed*, and he never took
himself (or 'his self', as he'd say) too seriously. He spent most of his life
criticising his 'colleagues' ('hacks', I think he sometimes called them -- those
he met face-to-face in the convivial thing he found philosophy to be).
Apparently, Soames's book does not consider literature post-1975, and thus
is not concerned with things like 'Valediction', by Grice, is to me is _very_
20th century philosophy -- if not pure analytic!
In "Life and Opinions", Grice jocularly seems to refer to Rorty's idea of a
revolution in philosophy, a paradigm-shift and so on --. Grice does use
'revolution'; perhaps not so much to refer to Ayer and his 'playgroup' but _Ryle_
too. So, if a revolution took place (I think Grice is being slightly
exaggerated here), you're bound to create your enemies!
Soames seems to think that Grice's work on 'implicature' was the last nail.
That's one way of reading him. As Bayne noted about _other_ philosophers:
it's best to go directly to the sources, and not let exegeses guide you. One
reads "Presupposition and Conversational Implicature" for example, and one
hardly finds the spirit of a man nailing _anything_. On the contrary, one finds
the spirit of a man who is concerned about the carefulness (on the part of the
'professionals') to take words seriously before we are going to have _fun_
That same jocular attitude I see in Austin when he ends up _his_ William
James saying, "the fun comes when we apply this to philosophy" but that for a
This in connection with R. B. Jones's reservations about restraints not
being so in 'any discipline worth her name'. But philosophers _seem_ to be
different. I don't think those Oxford dons were into _instilling_ their tutees with
more and more content. They saw philosophy as a way of arguing, and they
would have been happy if their tutees left the dreaming spires with an
extra-awareness on how sloppy and muddled the chat from the chattering classes those
tuttees in their coming years will come across with!
Must say there's something poetic about "The Dawn", rather than the
"Sun-Set" of "Analysis". And one hopes one can contribute to S. Soames's research by
noting that the dawn may perhaps be traced far _earlier_ than the 20th
century? If 'analysis' is part and parcel of philosophy, perhaps it should enrich
us to see how the antecedents can be found in, say "Socrates and his ilk"?
(This is perhaps what Grice attempts in "Valediction", in a comparison that S.
R. Chapman cannot but find a bit _pretentious_!).
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