[hist-analytic] The Annals of Analysis

Jlsperanza at aol.com Jlsperanza at aol.com
Thu Jan 29 08:52:31 EST 2009


In a message dated 1/29/2009 4:26:08 A.M.  Eastern Standard Time, 
rbj at rbjones.com writes:
I doubt this "analysis" of  Leibniz's usage in this case..
This was a big topic for Leibniz because of  his ideas on the lingua 
characteristica and calculus ratiocinator, which are  only very remotely 
connected with his work on the differential and integral  calculus.
(of course the topics are both about "calculi" and the calculus  ratiocinator 
would have to encompass the other calculi since it was expected  to be 
universal).
I think It is fairly clear from his writings that the  kind of analysis which 
Leibniz had in mind here was logical rather than  infinitesimal or 
mathematical.
---- I stand corrected. I have read quite  a bit on this 'characteristica 
universalis'. For some reason, I always was  interested in its developments in 
England (rather than Scotland, say) and  centred around the "Royal Academy": 
Wilkins on top. (J. L. Borges was fascinated  by this). I was able to read some 
of the reprints in the so-called "Scolar  Press", based in Marston, Yorkshire 
-- fascimiles of the originals. And, to say  the least, I was disappointed. At 
least the English authors on 'characteristica  universalis' were:

-- too much into 'phonetics' to my taste.  They were interested in how things 
got pronounced.
-- too  arbitrary, and scholastic. I mean, hardly 'experimental' philosophy. 
They would  start with very general, 'eschatological' even (in Grice's sense, 
"Philosophical  Eschatology" in his WOW], usually Aristotelian. So, say, the 
would have a term  for 'res cogitans' versus 'res extensa', and so on. Their 
idea of 'necessity',  or 'analytic', perhaps derived from Aristotle's 
considerations on essence and  specific difference. Thus, 'homo' would be 'retranslated' 
into this  characteristica as 'rationalis animal', or something. I think W. 
C. Kneale  develops quite at some length Leibniz's views on the topic (in his 
"Growth of  Logic" lectures at Oxford, later published as "Development of 
Logic"). The  Oxford scene was never too wedded, for better or worse, to Leibniz. I 
seem to  recall that G. H. R. Parkinson (editor of "Meaning" for the Oxford 
Readings in  Philosophy, super-edited by Warnock) has something on Leibniz. 
More  vernacularly, I recall when one of my teachers -- way back down under -- 
was  celebrated (Ezequiel de Olaso, his name) for having made popular Leibniz's  
philosophical writings to the wider population of ... Buenos  Aires!







work by Oxford philosophers such as  
> J.L.Austin and G.Ryle."
I suspect that when I wrote this that I had  not even heard of (or least 
properly registered) Grice, who I would now be  inclined to rank higher than 
Austin or Ryle (Wittgenstein is  incomparable).

-----

Indeed he is. But we should analyse the logic  of such statements! In 
"Prolegomena", Grice uses a similar example, "Heidegger  is incomparable". This was 
possibly a joke, but the result is that Heidegger did  make it to the name 
index of that prestigious publication!

As a  joke:

-- Wittgenstein cannot be compared 
-- Wittgenstein _has_ been  compared, but all comparisons (so far) has been 
_odious_.
etc.

-----  Well, I doubt Grice would rank himself (or hisself, as I prefer) than 
Austin.  The man (Grice) _needed_ a sense of tradition. I know because I felt 
precisely  the same in my environs -- and thus _looked_ for Rabossi as my 
'mentor'. It's  surprising, to some, not to me, that in his "Valedictory" (i.e. 
Retrospective  Epilogue) but notably in his "The Life and Times of Paul Grice" 
(actually 'Life  and Opinions', now in "Reply to Richards', in Warner/Grandy, 
Philosophical  Grounds of Rationality: Intentions, Categories, Ends -- 
Clarendon Press -- the  title acronym for P.G.R.I.C.E. -- the man expands so 
delightfully or charmingly,  shall I say, on J. L. Austin. Austin died of cancer when , 
... well, when he  died of cancer. Grice and Austin were never _personal_ 
friends; but those  "Saturday Mornings" could not have been _without_ Austin. As 
G. E. L. Owens  notes in his obit. of Ryle, the mornings were further 
organised by Grice after  Austin's demise, but it wasn't really the same, and by 1967 
Grice was gone for  good to the California S. F. Bay. 

As S. R. Chapman notes in her book on  "Grice" (Macmillan Palgrave), Grice 
was mainly concerned with the development of  his own self; and the meeting of 
J. L. Austin just fell at the right place. If  we summarise Grice's career we 
would have:

-- Grice as  'witness' of the 'first' play group, as I call it.
This  was the Thursday evenings playgroup organised by I.  Berlin.
Attendees were Austin, Hampshire, ... -- but not  Grice
Chapman writes, "He had been born on the wrong side  of
the tracks".

The result is  that pre-'Phoney' War, Grice was just a 
'post-verificationist'; his essays at  the time attempt to provide 'logical' constructions (for 
notions like "I" or  personal identity) in part in terms of experiential content, 
while not being  necessarily samples of _reductionist_ analysis. (In his 
"Valedictory Essay" he  distinguishes, almost pedantically, between an analysis 
being 'reductive' -- but  not eliminationist, and 'reductionist' -- all the  way).

-- Grice during the Phoney War.  
Was was in Intelligence at  Admiralty.
(His "Meaning" gets published  by Mind in 1941) 

-- 'post-war Oxford  philosophy'
Grice was possibly the  master here. For reasons of publicity, it was  indeed
Austin that got all the press.  But this period saw the presentation,  within
Oxford, of Grice's "Meaning"  (1948), and other papers, notably for
the Oxford Philosophical Society.  

-- The  'published' canon. With 'Meaning' published in 1957, a flurry  of
responses appear (but the big  wave came ten years later). 1956 had
seen his "Defense of a dogma" that (with Strawson) was usually  
listed in analytic-philosophy  compilations on an 'ordinary-language'
reply to Quine.

-- The oral Grice. In 1961 he provided  his Cambridge lecture on The
Causal  Theory of Perception (Arist. Soc.) that got published  in
the proceedings, and was pretty well  cited -- notably in terms of
his early  theory of 'implication'. Butler managed to publish  his
"Remarks about the senses" (1965) in  a Blackwell volume on
_Analytic  Philosophy_ --

-- And then came the Grand  William James -- which made Grice
a sort of grand name and philosopher's philosopher. His  1967
ms was only partially  published in the coming decades: ii  in
Davidson/Harman 1975, iii in  Cole. His 1970 conference on
'Presupposition' in Cole 1981. 

As a student of Grice it had been an  adventure for me. All the different 
publications I had access highlighted one  aspect of his productions, and it took 
me longer to find the underlying general  picture. The more I studied him, I 
saw the consistency: and was delighted, for  example, to discover that 1971 
"Intention and Uncertainty" British Academy  Lecture where he expands on his 
other love: action theory. His later  publications for PPQ, 1988, saw him at a 
stage where he knew his health was  precarious. But he left things pretty well 
organised for executors to have see  the light things like "Conception of 
Value" and "Aspects of Reason".  Unfortunately, as things are in consumer-oriented 
society, a book by a dead  philosopher does not really sell as hot cakes. 
Mind, I'm not sure one by a  living one does, unless you sell your full frontals 
to the New York Times Sunday  magazine, as S. Pinker has! (and that means I'm 
_not_ buying his book!).  

The qualification, 'analytic philosophy' as applied to Grice is perhaps  
restrictive but good. The blurb for _WOW_, written by Putnam, does use the  
sobriquet. In England, he would just be considered a philosopher, and notably  his 
obit. in Times saw him just as well as a 'cricketer' -- and a good amateur  
(i.e. gentleman) one at that!

Few studies in the history of analytic  philosophy have made justice to Grice 
in the proper historical context (and I'm  basically interested in his Oxford 
years, only). One would have expected so much  from P. M. S. Hacker in his 
long history of 20th century philosophy. But the man  _is_ wedded to "Witters". 
What slightly pains me is that Hacker (with Baker)  were the successors of 
Grice's post at St. John's ("the feast of reason" --  Pope). 
------

R. B. Jones continues:

>This is a curious  footnote since in retrospect the paragraph it is attached 
to 
>does  contain a reasonable description of a kind of logical analysis, not  
>however one that Russell actually employed, except perhaps in  Principia.

And indeed it's _Principia_ that people like Grice honoured as  being the 
'modernist' credo. One is not sure what _Principia_ they did read. My  guess is 
that Grice, for one, did with Strawson's _formalisations_ of the  modernist 
credo in "Introduction to Logical Theory", only to attach his  
'neo-traditionalist' variances!


>Probably my writing of this  footnote was connected with my writing a page 
>on "Varieties of  Philosophical  Analysis"
>http://rbjones.com/rbjpub/philos/history/his003.htm
>(now  linked to from the footnote)
>which happened later tha[t]  year.
>However, looking at this analysis of analysis I see that there is  omitted 
from 
>it what I now believe to be "the method" which Russell  himself thought 
>crucial and passed to Carnap, viz the idea that one  should systematically 
>eliminate ontological excess by logical  construction.
>(This I am not impressed by, being motivated primarily by  Occam's razor, to 
>which I am a conscientious objector.
>I think I  must be the most radical (or only?) anti-nominalist who denies 
being 
>a  Platonist, though I suppose Carnap was as bad).
>I don't think I had at  that time read Hylton on Russell, from which one 
>*ought* perhaps to,  come away with a clear idea of what kind of analysis 
>Russell advocated  (though I don't think I did).

---- Well, the idea of 'logical  construction' was indeed Cantab. and much 
the fashion in Cambridge and Oxford.  In his "Concepts and Categories", by the 
very Oxonian Russia-born I. Berlin,  there's this logical-construction of 
'material-object' in terms of  'phenomenalist' experience which I think set the 
Oxford trend. Grice's "Personal  Identity" (Mind 1941) makes extensive use of the 
idea of 'logical construction'  -- relying on Cambridge author Broad. As it 
transpires, Grice provides a  'logical construction' he calls it, of thinks 
like "his" in "The cricket ball  hit Jone's head" (his head). "His" in this case 
is 'physical' -- hit his cranium  and brain. In other cases, it's mixed, "The 
concert hit Jones's sensibilities"  -- his 'sensibilities'. Possibly 'mind' 
and 'soul' are involved here. Grice  wants to reduce all to 'mnemonic' states 
(Perry repr. this as late as 1975 with  a good intro).  I recall a sort of funny 
passage in Grice's 1941. He comes  up with a LOOONG analysis of "I" in terms 
of 'mnemonic states" and comments:  "Some will say this is too long a logical 
construction to be true -- how can a  simple analysandum as "I" get such a 
mouthful of an analysandum". He immediately  notes, "But this is too stupid an 
objection to merit my time"!

When it  comes to parsimony, Grice was a case. He indeed made sort of famous 
his  "Modified Occam Razor" (although Vendler, I believe had done similar 
things  earlier on) -- but this alludes to reduction of 'sense' proliferation, as 
it  were. 

In his "presidential inauguration" (for the APA Pacific Division),  "Method 
in philosophical psychology", now repr. in Conception of Value,  Clarendon, he 
introduces what he calls 'ontological  Marxism':

they work; therefore, they  exist

-- for any given entity. Rather classicist, he compares those  entities as 
the 'servants' about to do the house work. If they are efficient,  let them be! 
In this context, he has grown sceptical, perhaps, of  'post-verificationist' 
'logical constructions' and, in the case of 'theoretical'  concepts like 
'belief' he does not feel the same urgency he may have felt before  to _eliminate_ 
them -- but rather 'ramsify' them, as he says. 

S. R.  Chapman has it just right in a passage that reminded me of P. Suppes's 
 contribution to the PGRICE. While Chomsky and Searle did see the 'middle' 
Grice  as a sort of 'analytic behaviourist' alla Ryle (with all the clauses 
introducing  intensional contexts, like 'believes that desires that believes...') 
it's best  to regard Grice as an 'intentionalist'. Suppes is being jocular, 
but Chapman is  not. Having studied in part the phenomenological continental 
tradition of, say  Husserl, Brentano, and others, even Merleau Ponty, I see the 
connection. Grice,  like perhaps Hampshire (in Thought and Action), wants to 
defend the  'irreducibility' and richness of _experience_. It is evident in 
Grice's prose  which is notably, 'first-person', as he elaborates on what he fells 
when he says  that, say, he shall do this _or_ that!  (He was saddened that 
the 'shall'  idiom was losing adherents across the pond).


Cheers,

JL  

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