[hist-analytic] A 'Series' of Anscombianisms!
Jlsperanza at aol.com
Jlsperanza at aol.com
Fri Feb 6 08:32:05 EST 2009
I'm pleased with S. Bayne's careful reading of "Philosophical
Investigations". He writes down a 'series' of Wittgenstein quotes:
143, 145, 151:
>Do not balk at the expression
>"series of numbers"; it
>is not being used wrongly here."
'balk' is not part of my repertoire, and it's not a germane German word, so
I'll blame that one on Anscombe!
>Suppose the pupil now writes
>the series 0 to 9 to
Oddly, while my mother (a teacher of the old school) does use 'pupil' in
ways that irritate me, I _always_ used 'student' and 'instructee' if I must! I
associate 'pupils' with boarding schools in cold climates!
It's amusing how Wittgenstein seems to be more concerned with 'emotional'
factors than anything else: "don't balk!" "not used _wrong_!", "our
>[he] writes series of numbers down...
>tries to find a law for the sequence"
Indeed, there seems to be two 'actions' here: writing down a series, and
finding the 'law' for the sequence. This relates to some wrong uses of 'period'
(my mother pointed out to me that one!) as used by journalists! as in the
long periods of time
It is true that a 'period', mathematically, is like a series.
But it also means 'lapse'. And local journalists have been heard to use
'short lapse of time', as if it could be a short lapse of something other than
Anyway, back to series.
Is it true that a series _entails_ a 'law' or 'rule'?
It's one of those trick of Latin names, like 'species' (cfr. speciesism)
that one wonders what gender they are, and the presence of final 's' is
confusing, and in that the plural identifies the singular. Enough reasons, I find, to
GRICE (to Austin), I don't care what the dictionary says
AUSTIN: And _that_'s where you make your big mistake.
The Short/Lewis is not strictly enlightening, but it notes:
-- it can be synonymous with 'ordo' which brings me to another petpeeve,
"in no particular order". I thought this was _logically contradictory_.
Surely there _is_ a particular order, even if it is a _random_ one!
One cite in Latin refers, Short/Lewis think, to
"the connection of words"
which is a good one, "Colourless ideas furiously sleep green"
"tantum series juncturaque pollet"
and comes from Horatius, A. P. 242 .
It relates the etymology to 'serere'. This in turn they make cognate with
(via root sa-) with Greek saô, sêthô, to sift) and it's related to 'to beget': a
series being, say what is _beget_ (sp?) by a rule, or ruler, rather, since
it can mean line of descendants.
The OED brings the Romantic side to us: Italian!
English 'series' is from Latin L. series row, chain, series, f. serere to
join, connect. Cf. F. série, It., Sp., Pg. serie.] Are there any quotes worth
spreading ('diseminare')? Yes:
1812 MISS MITFORD in L'Estrange Life (1870) I. 191 In Oxfordshire, where I
saw a landscape, or rather a series of landscapes, of singular beauty.
1709 FELTON Diss. Classics (1718) 188 The worst Province an Historian can
fall upon, is a Series of barren Times, in which nothing remarkable happeneth.
1886 Act 49 & 50 Vict. c. 44 §13 That the repayment of the money to be
borrowed should be spread over a series of years.
(ordered sequence, succession. JLS)
1656 EARL OF MONMOUTH tr. Boccalini's Advts. fr. Parnass. I. lxxx. (1674)
108 [They] made a long and exact Series of many abuses which reigned in that
(In no particular order, I hope! JLS)
1748 Anson's Voy. I. x. 98 We had a series of as favourable weather, as
could well be expected.
1779 JOHNSON L.P., Watts (1868) 450 The series of his works I am not able to
I am, typically, in a rush, so I'll end this with (luckily) what I think is
the relevant 'use', which the OED has as "Math." and defines (I don't usually
do OED for definitions, but here you are) as
a set of terms in succession
(finite or infinite in number)
[*not* _pace_ Dummett!]
the value of each of which is determined
by its ordinal position according to a
definite rule known as the
of the series; [Latin 'lex', don't think so. I was
examining that English 'law' has not really
Latin cognates. JLS]
esp. a set of such terms continuously
See ARITHMETICAL, GEOMETRICAL, RECURRING, etc.
1671 J. GREGORY in Rigaud Corr. Sci. Men (1841) II. 224
Reducing all of them [sc. equations] to infinite serieses.
1736 Gentl. Mag. VI. 739/1
Any one who is conversant in Series.
1750 Phil. Trans. XLVII. 20
The operation, by having two or more series's to multiply into one another,
becomes very troublesome.
1791 Ibid. LXXXI. 148
The serieses deduced should converge.
1839 R. MURPHY Algebr. Equat. 92
Recurring Series have been much used..in the solution of algebraical
1874 GROSS Algebra II. 153
Summation of Series.
Also, the OED has it, used allusively (in that use, one expects):
1836 J. GILBERT Chr. Atonem. ii. 59
To examine in detail the series, of which the computed sum betrays at once
somewhere in the calculation so gross an error.
1853 [WHEWELL] Plural. Worlds v. 76
We have here to build a theory without materials;to sum a series of which
every term, so far as we know, is nothing.
This Whewell last should be interesting.
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