[hist-analytic] The Annals of Analysis

Jlsperanza at aol.com Jlsperanza at aol.com
Wed Jan 28 14:05:18 EST 2009


Thanks to R. B. Jones for refreshing for us those notes. I recall having  
read and enjoyed them. Some running comments of a 'constructive' (if not  
downright analytic) nature:

R. B. Jones writes:
 
>This heritage spans over 2000 years and 
>includes works originally written in many 
>different languages, including Greek, Latin, 
>and German. English is really the only language 
>I know well.
 
Well, for Italians, 'analitico' was anathema. I remember trying to read  
Italian 'filosofia' as they spell it, and failing: it's all Abbagnano with them.  
I'm less sure about French 'analytique'. I would think that since Port-Royal  
(philosophers and linguistics teachers love to roll the 'r's on that one -- 
it's  so Parisian), the French mind has shown some analytic trends. 
 
>It may be helpful to distinguish three periods in the use of the word  as 
follows: 
>Ancient - analysis as a method of proof 
 
I loved that. Indeed, if one just goes by "Liddell/Scott" (he of Alice  
Hargreaves fame), we encounter a few considerations. I believe we should, as a  
token to Aristotle, basically focus on the Stagirite's use of the neuter plural,  
abbreviated by scholars (or 'schoolers' as I prefer) "Anal." -- priora and  
posteriora, of course.  Liddell/Scott read:
 
"ta analutika" [are the] principles of analysis, 
 
Then there's the Greek sentence fragment:
 
"apaideusia tôn a. 
Arist.Metaph.1005b4"
 
and a reference to ["analutica"] [being]
 
"[the] title of A.'s treatises [two, to date] on this subject."
 
--- I note that the reference is indeed to Book IV of the Metaphysics,  which 
Perseus allows us to browse. It reads: [1005b][1]. 
 
So indeed we do find the sentence fragment: "apaideusian ton analutikon  
touto drosin" ("Esti de sophia tis kai hê phusikê, all' ou prôtê. hosa d'  
encheirousi tôn legontôn tines peri tês alêtheias hon tropon dei apodechesthai,  di' 
apaideusian [4]  tôn analutikôn touto drôsin")
 
Perhaps oddly, W. Ross does not use 'analytic' at all in the translation,  
which goes, smoothly, for the opening passage: 
 
        "Natural philosophy is a kind of  Wisdom, 
         but not the primary kind.  As for the attempts of 
         some of those who discuss  how the truth 
         should be received, they  are due to 
         lack of training in logic" 
 
So, it would seem this is odd, of sorts. The 'attempts' are due to 'lack of  
training', and it's this "in logic" that Aristotle calls "ton analutikon", 
i.e.  a genitive plural neuter. Hence his idea, one guesses of presenting to the  
students his brilliant "Analytica" priora and posteriora. (I say students,  
because when it came to teach the general population, Aristotle preferred the  
dialogue format, and I see why). 
 
R. B. Jones continues one step earlier in the analysis -- which reminds me  
of A. N. Whitehead's brilliant quip, "All philosophy is footnotes to Plato". 
 
>Plato is credited (by Proclus) with the invention 
>of a method of proof known as analysis. 
 
Jones rightly notes: 
 
>Since this method is observed in earlier Greek mathematics 
>it is doubtful that it does originate with Plato. 

Exactly. Here I found of use Thomas's Loeb "Greek mathematics" volumes. I  
believe Proclus is indeed the second volume. I would think it is indeed a  
pre-socratic (i.e. pre-Platonic) thing. I for one would relate it perhaps to the  
'reductio ad absurdum' proof of sorts. The problem with the presocratic  
philosophers is, alas, the lack of 'quote' signs. Thus we read, "Thales wrote  
refutations". And it's not clear whether he wrote refutations or he wrote a  
treatise by the name, "Refutations". It becomes more annoying when we read  things 
like "In his refutations, Thales used this method"; where, for lack of  proper 
orthography, that could well mean, "In his treatise entitled,  'refutations', 
Thales used this method". Etc. 
 
I'm pleased that RBJ notes the connection with "reductio ad absurdum" and  
the asymmetry, as it were, between analysis as a backward proof and 'synthesis'  
as a forward proof. 
 
Jones then uses 'orthogonal':

>this ancient distinction between analytic and synthetic proofs 
>is orthogonal to the more modern distinction between analytic 
>and synthetic statements. 

which is a refreshing lexical dose. Oddly, the OED does not recognise  
between 'lit.' and 'fig.' uses of this thing. For one, the cite below seems  otiose 
to me!
 
"Psychopathology should be viewed 
in terms of a continuum of difficulties, 
rather than in terms of discrete, orthogonally unrelated states."
 
     Journal of General Psychology, 1970, p. 73
 
But I tangentially disgress. 
 
Arriving at Aristotle, RBJ notes: 
 
>Aristotle distinguises analytic and dialectical proof. 

------ It may do here to analyse not so much 'analytic' (or as I prefer,  the 
neuter plural -- this escapes complications. For example, my surname, means  
"Hope" in English, but it's from _vulgar_ Latin, 'sperantia' -- things to be  
hoped for. Although we don't find the _things_: it's merely neuter plural. 
What  annoys me even is that in iconographical representations, this neuter 
plural  becomes _feminine_: in Spenser's Faerie Queane, for example, Speranza [sic] 
is  represented as a Lady Cute and True with an Anchor in her Lilywhite Hand. 
 
'Proof' sometimes Aristotle uses 'semeion' -- and this is a favourite of  
mine. A disciple of Umberto Eco has written extensively on the Greek use of  
'semeion' (or even 'sema') as proof. And thus 'analytic' signs, if one wishes,  
are of the sort, I wish to think, like Grice's "The present budget MEANS [i.e.  
is an analytic proof, almost] that we will have a hard year". 
 
RBJ turns to the Moderns: 

>Leibniz claims that necessary truths 
>can be established by analysis. 

By this time, I would assume it's the mathematical sense, as when an  
engineer student will make me lose my face by saying, "I'm currently attending a  
class in analysis". Since Leibniz is credited with the 'infinitesimal analysis',  
this may be the case. Cfr. Cartesius for his brilliant considerations on  
orthogonal geometrical projections of basic algebra. 

RBJ rightly notes that Locke does not use 'analytic'. He "talks  [instead] Of 
Trivial Propositions." Indeed. Also 'trifle'? If 'trivial', I am  amused. In 
"Aspects of Reason" Grice speaks of 'trivial' reasoning -- which the  OED has 
as "woman's reason". "p, because p". A trifle, or to use Cartesian,  
'orthogono-analytic' (what Hume would possibly have as 'a piece of cake').  

We reach "Ariskant": 
 
>Kant certainly does use the words ... speaking 
>Of The Difference between Analytical and Synthetical Judgements.  

Grice I'm never sure what Kant translation he used. The standard one that  
Harvard U. P. uses in Kant-in-English. I would assume that the distinction of  
opposing 'analytic' _versus_ 'synthetic' (never mind Kant's pretentious  
'judgement') is due to Bauman. Kant hardly travelled (unless you call 'go to the  
grocer's' a kind of travel) but apparently Bauman and others taught him -- into  
the schoolers' jargon. 
 
 
>Analytic philosophy emerged at the beginning of this century from two  
revolutions in philosophy both of which had their epicentre at the University of  
>Cambridge. 

This above R. B. Jones writes just to annoy _me_: an Oxonian of Oxonian  
sorts!
 
He goes on: 
 
"The origin begins with the rejection by [one] young Cambridge  
philosopher[...] G.E.Moore"
 
"This lead to some of the most influential work by English speaking  
philosophers in this century, e.g. ... work by Oxford philosophers such as  J.L.Austin 
and G.Ryle."
 
 
"This trend in contemporary philosophy has been labelled by some  "linguistic 
philosophy" and has provoked acerbic criticism from outsiders (e.g.  
Gellner), as well as sustained opposition from other philosophical camps."
 
Gellner is indeed an outsider. He was born in Paris, but taught in London.  
My favourite outsider is Bergmann, though. Grice recalls how sad he felt when  
Bergmann refused an invitation to the Saturday morning group. It was too early 
 for him and he would rather be seen slept than wasting his busy morning with 
 "some bunch of English futilitarians". 
 
---- But my thesis advisor -- he tr., can you believe it, "How to do things  
with words" into the vernacular, E. A. Rabossi -- would tremble at the idea of 
 the Moore --> Oxford connection. I would not. Conservatives (like Rabossi)  
want to see Oxford philosophy as _Oxford_ indeed, and so they quote from J. C. 
 Wilson and other "Aristotelians" as the sort of thing that led to Ryle and  
Austin. 
 
Grice, as we know, does dedicate a few of his early essays (i.e. time) to  
Moore and in his reprint ("WOW", Way of Words) there are some perhaps dated  
essays on Moore and 'common sense'. When I reviewed this for a vernacular  
journal, I noted that the connection can, though, be made in terms of Grice on  
'meaning'. He would say, for example, that what _we_ mean by 'cause' is not what  
the Hegelian _means_ by 'cause'. 

R. B. Jones then refers to Russell's "theory of descriptions". 

There is a reference, "in England, A.J.Ayer."
 
This may connect with Ryle. I, being Ayer, would have found it annoying if  
I'm a post-grad student at Oxford. Go to my tutor for advice, Ryle. And he 
says,  "You go to Vienna". Rude, in fact. Good ole Freddie did go, and that's 
where he  met his anglo-friend, Quine. Apparently, and I can see why, they were 
the two  who could not hold natural conversations with 'the Hun'! In "Part of my 
 life" Ayer recalls how he wrote (typed, actually) his Gollancz book in, say, 
 four weeks? His use of 'analytic' became indeed _crucial_. I especially 
loved  how he dismissed all ethics and aesthetics not as analytic but as  
'inspirational' ("Ouch", "Ohh!"). When I was researching into art-theory, I came  
across a reference to Ayer by, of all people, NY-based conceptual artist Joseph  
Kosuth. Kosuth wanted to say, against Ayer, that "This is art" _is_  analytic!
 
A footnote reads: 
 
>Unfortunately this little sketch of the Russellian side of 
>analytic philosophy doesn't hang together properly for me, 
 
--- a book that clarified things for me was Ayer, "Moore and Russell: the  
analytic heritage" (Macmillan). That man spent his life explaining Russell. 
 
>since I haven't found enough evidence of any systematic method in  Russell's 
philosophy which 
he or anyone else could tag with this analytic label. 
 
Well, I would think that theory of descriptions does a pretty good job. In  
any case, Russell was Grice's reactionary reply to Strawson. As Strawson was  
growing tiresome with his _ordinary-language_ thing, Grice was provoked to 
write  things like 
 
"Definite descriptions in Russell and in the Vernacular" 
 
Basically, this is the idea behind "Presupposition and Conversational  
Implicature". Grice shows via analysis that Strawson is wrong in embracing  
truth-value gaps (the term is Quine's) when a simpler square-bracket  formalisation 
does:
 
[(Ex)Kx &] ~Bx
 
i.e. it is common ground that there is a king of France, and what we  _state_ 
is that he is not bald. Grice thought the square-bracket device was a  
contesting of the 'modernists' against the 'neotraditionalists' like Strawson.  And 
a good thing about his square-bracket device thing, Grice notes, is that it  
is to be 'discarded' if that's the word ("what the eye no longer sees, the eye  
no longer grieves for", he writes in his valedictory 'Retrospective 
Epilogue'). 
 
R. B. J. concludes his interesting 'historical' notes:
 
>Unfortunately there really havn't been any philosophers who stuck to  
analytic pronouncements, so that's not a very plausible explanation of the term,  
even from the logical side. 

Well, there's _Analysis_, the celebrated journal still doing the rounds.  
Must say it bores me. Articles so short and, well, hardly 'humanitarian', as I  
call them (i.e. not along the Humanities line). 

Rabossi was another one! He always felt a bit of an outsider in  academia, so 
he _bought_ a house (Calle Bulnes, Buenos Aires) and he founded a  Society, 
of which I belong -- He founded it as:
 
                   Argentine Society for "Philosophical Analysis"!
 
-- In Buenos Aires, one has to be careful because if you don't use the adj.  
'philosophical' it _will_ mean "Freud"! The Argentine Society for 
Philosophical  Analysis (SADAF in the Vernacular) publishes a 'publication' that goes by 
the  name of "Philosophical Analysis" and it's, let's say, less boring than the 
 _Analysis_ Blackwell one.
 
Cheers,
 
J. L.
   now at the Swimming-Pool Library
   Villa Speranza, Bordighera
 
 


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