Jlsperanza at aol.com
Jlsperanza at aol.com
Mon Feb 2 09:46:32 EST 2009
Yesterday I was watching this silly film on TV, about a cheerleader -- set
in the USA. At one point one of the characters, getting angry, says:
"eff why you, you're out"
or words to that effect, where the first clause is the oral equivalent of
"f. y. i.", which if Grice is right in his teleological justification of the
cooperative principle, should preface _all_ our conversational moves (For
Grice, even moves of the "!" force are basically attempts at _informing_ -- the
symmetrical view that all moves are attempts at _influencing_ is just as valid,
if not more -- see Grice, "Method" for the reduction of "Belief" to "Desire"
-- and similar attempts by others -- JP, 1979, footnote, ... :)).
Anyway, when Grice dealt with irony he noted (moved by comments of Albritton
-- who had invited him to deliver the William James, incidentally) that
"He's a scoundrel"
can be used _ironically_; but, Grice suggests, to say, "Ironically, he is a
scoundrel", _kills_, as it were, the purpose of "irony".
"Tautologically" works similarly. Grice's examples are two:
War is war
Women are women
-- These could be taken as 'analytic' and so you know where I'm heading to.
It would be otiose to say,
"Tautologically, war is war"
"Tautologically, women are women."
What about 'analytic'.
Many -- e.g. G. N. Leech -- have suggested that so-called analytic sentences
Bachelors are unmarried men
Occulists are eye-doctors
can have a _didactic_ purpose: they explain about the rules of the language.
If they are within the class of _tautologies_, they are uninformative,
though at the 'f. y. i.' level -- unless of course we include 'didactic' under
'informative' (and why wouldn't we).
The point I'm trying to make -- in a rush as usual -- is that there's little
(job-wise) analytic sentences do for us. "War is war", or "Bachelors _are_
unmarried, you know" seem to work best at the level of the 'implicature'.
For this to happen we have to wed to the idea of a calculus as the one Grice
describes at the beginning of "Logic and Conversation" and define, strictly,
a tautology and an analytic sentence within a system. Provided this works,
_then_ we can extend the scope of what an Utterer may _mean_ by uttering an
I was amused one to note that "Women are women" and "War is war" can be
answers to the same question:
A: So you would condone the policies
undertaken by Margaret Thatcher during the Falklands War?
B (Gurkha): (a) Well, war is war
(b) Well, [amused], women are women.
The implicatures _differ_.
There may be other uses for 'analytically' as this sort of parenthetical
alla Urmson (see his "Parentheticals" repr. in Caton). Symmetrically,
"Synthetically" would seem just as otiose,
"Synthetically, f. y. i., my cat has grown quite fat".
Which leads you to think that perhaps the analytic-synthetic distinction, a
top-dogma at that, should after all be best left for the _rationalists_ (at
J. L. Speranza
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