[hist-analytic] The Many and the Wise
Jlsperanza at aol.com
Jlsperanza at aol.com
Mon Feb 16 12:34:17 EST 2009
S. R. Bayne is considering the 'scope' of 'qua' mentioned by Anscombe in her
expansion of 'under a description', in particular in terms of subject or
predicate scope in terms of Aristotle's syllogistics in Analytica Priora, 49a.
A not so irrelevant excursus, I hope.
One point of agreement or overlap between what Grice calls "Oxonian
dialectics" and "Athenian dialectics" -- in his 'Valediction' in WOW -- concerns the
distinction, often made between i and ii
i. the many (hoi polloi)
ii. the wise
Ordinary-language philosophers are not, Grice seems to be stating,
necessarily concerned _only_ with 'the many', or more specifically with 'ta legomena'
(the sayings, what is being said' of or by the Many. The purpose of the
activity should be an elucidation of the 'legomenon' -- at least one, let's say --
of the 'wise'!
In this respect, in "Life and Opinions of [myself]", Grice notes that Austin
was sometimes not fully _consistent_: philosophically, he was into the
legomena of the many, as it were -- which you need to be armed with the right type
of patience, as R. B. Jones testify. On the other hand, meta-philosoph
ically, or _methodologically_, Austin was known to include the technical (i.e. not
a legomenon by hoi polloi) term every now and then (witness his
'per-locution', 'il-locution', 'phatic' act, etc. Nothing extra-ordinary, but perhaps
_so_. (Incidentally, I once came across reading Cicero, in the Loeb for the Latin
for 'extra-ordinary' versus, say, _ordinary_ language -- what has _order_ to
do with anything?).
The same, Grice seems to be saying, ditto for Aristotle. The problem is that
perhaps we shouldn't be wasting our time on a technical legomenon when there
are so many 'ordinary' ones that provide so much more pleasure. And I refer
to the 'qua' of Aristotle!
For what is worth, Allan Back -- as summarised his views in formalontology
web pages -- seem to go with Anscombe:
I offer truth conditions for
[qua] propositions in Aristotle.
I show that in general Aristotle
views expressions of the form "qua S" in i or ii
S qua S is P
S is P qua S
as making a claim not about the subject "S",
but about the *predication* of "P" of "S".
I develop necessary and sufficient truth
conditions for propositions of the form "S qua S is P".
A. Bäck in Idealization: Historical Studies on Abstraction
and Idealization. Ed. F. Coniglione et al.
Amsterdam: Rodopi 2004. pp. 37-58
But of course we are not just interested in the somewhat vacuous
S qua S
A qua B
--- I was thinking indeed in Porphyry's tree. For an Aristotelian, there is
indeed a chain of being. For 'man' there are not so many infinite things we
can say, 'man qua rational', 'man qua animal', man qua 'being', etc.
Aquinas apparently does use 'qua' but also 'in quantum' ('ens inquantum ens'
say). The idea being indeed, perhaps that it's a _formal_ examination, not a
But my point remains:
i. if it _is_ a turn of phrase coined by Aristotle, that no ordinary Greek
speaker need to have recourse to,
ii. Can it be _basic_ philosophically speaking?
iii. Or we would need to trust Aristotle and the other wise, that here we
have a case where it's not what the many say or fail to say, but what the wise
are trying to teach them!
Code, Alan. Aristotle, in PGRICE
Grice, Multiplicity of being in Aristotle, PPQ 1989
Owen, The snares of ontology (reviewed by Grice above)
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