# [hist-analytic] A 'Series' of Anscombianisms!

Jlsperanza at aol.com Jlsperanza at aol.com
Fri Feb 6 08:32:05 EST 2009

Investigations". He writes down a 'series' of Wittgenstein quotes:

143,  145, 151:

To wit:

143:

>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!

145:
>Suppose the pupil now writes
>the series 0 to 9 to
>our satisfaction"

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
satisfaction".

Finally,

151:
>[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
otiose:

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
time.

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

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
State.
(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
deduce.

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

law

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
equations.

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.

Cheers,

JL

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