[hist-analytic] Diva Goes Through The Motions

Jlsperanza at aol.com Jlsperanza at aol.com
Sun Feb 1 15:23:03 EST 2009

Almost ---

Re-reading S. R. Bayne's quote  from Davidson (AE, p. 51):

When I tie my shoelaces, there is on the  one  hand the movement of my 
fingers, and on the other, the movement of the  laces. 


I am amused that it seems to be always _motions_  this, _motions_ that. Like 
a level of physical description (what Grice has as  Level 1, say) is 
mandatory. Of course, a description of an action could  be:

"Stay quiet" (i.e. do not  stand up -- provided all  the
members of the jury are seated).

By staying quiet (i.e. not going through  any motion), the agent A 
_convicted_ the convict.


A perhaps  more amusing example. I was reading an interview to La Stupenda, 
Joan  Sutherland. The interviewer, in the typical bitchy way, asked  her,

"I guess you have to practise a lot -- everyday"

The  Dame, with all the dame-dignity, replied,

"Actually, a lot of my  rehearsals are _mental_."

It's like an actor (a mime) going through the  motions, to use Davidson's 
example, of tying his shoe. Surely he can do that  without moving the lace (which 
is nonexistent, in this case). Perhaps the mime  learns to do this because 
we, as humans, can do things _as if_ (als ob --  Weininger). 

But in any case, not always _motions_ are required. And we  should allow that 
even for actions whose 'sub specie' is physical: like Dame  Joan's singing -- 
we should allow for 'going through the motions' (rehearsing  mentally, in a 
sort of vocal-thinking). 

The other day I was reading this  history of Opera and there's a fascimile of 
a letter Wagner wrote to the  Director of the Covent Garden (an Italian at 
that time):

"I  have no intention to have my 
opera translated into  Italian"

Wagner wrote. The fascimile shows, however, and the caption  reads, that the 
handwriting is _his_ secretary. So _who_ is being  rude?



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