[hist-analytic] Clarity Is Not Enough
Jlsperanza at aol.com
Jlsperanza at aol.com
Fri Feb 13 12:33:18 EST 2009
In Reply To: R. B. Jones's post, "Re: Clarity Is Not Enough"
[sorry until I get a proper mailer, this will not show as sub-thread]
In a message dated 2/13/2009 12:04:38 P.M. Eastern Standard Time,
rbj at rbjones.com writes:
I will happily coexist with people of different talents and
temper. so long as they do not get in my way.
Austin does. His book "Sense and Sensibilia" seems to me to be
a sustained attempt to deny philosophers that flexibility in
the use of language which is normal in any specialised undertaking.
That was sort of sad to read!
Again, I'm in a rush. But allow me some positive comments on that book that
you may, or make not, take in!
The thing was 'unpublished' manuscript -- note that the subtitle is "from
the manuscript notes of ...". I always found it charming that Austin (or "J.
Austin" as he was known) advertised his seminar:
Sense and Sensibilia
I can imagine a colloquial language between undergraduates, "We're doing
Austin's Sense and Sensibilia". "You mean, 'sensibility'". Etc.
---- I found the book double in that: the commentary on Ayer is a bit cold
(the book was done and passed by, as it were). But Warnock was someone Austin
was seeing _every Saturday_ (morning)! True it's not a serious book by
Warnock, just his bio of Berkeley! But still! I found some of Austin's examples
pretty good, clear, and reminiscent of the pre-socratics. I recall this
pre-socratic philosopher who said,
"Surely the sun is smaller than my finger" (as he compared both relative
-- For he was _saving_ phenomena. I tend to think that part of the problem
with the English (language) is that _seems_ hardly translates 'to appear'
(root of phenomenon) in Greek. In Italian I'm sure it's never as negative as in
English -- cpr. the aria, "M'appari tutt'amor" -- it seemed to me that all my
love; sounds negativistic, but if read, "all the love _appeared_, shone to
me", does not.
Similarly, Austin is considering "That speck in the horizon is a star", etc.
He is not trying to regiment, I would think, but to play a bit on the
different idioms that pertain to describe 'sense-data'.
As for, is the analysis of ordinary language enough? Perhaps we shouldn't
dichotomise things like that. After all, it's the same _brain_ who speaks a
natural language and speaks a formal language. It's not like both are totally
_dissociate_. Mind, some never master a _formal_ language (whether the reverse
may be harder to prove). In terms of 'cognitive content', there's not much in
which they differ.
Consider 'if'. Okay, there's a lot of metaphysical excrescences there. Does
Grice get in the way? He did for me. He notes that if you _want_ to use the
metaphysical excrescence, add 'then' before the apodosis, "If p, _then_ q". If
not, drop the 'then', and get along with Philo's paradoxes -- and I do!
But you are very right that it's personal and one shouldn't let a
supervenient or subservient purpose to overwhelm others. One may want to 'slow down' a
bit (bring back things, bring them down -- 'reduce' -- 'clarificatory
philosophy' in H. H. Price's word). But we _also_ have, they say, the _obligation_
to 'move on'!
Do not _let_ Austin get in your way!
It may remind one of Grice's not letting Dummett get in his way. His student
Michael Wrigley, of UC/Berkeley was asking Grice for advice on
interpretation of Frege:
Wrigley: I hope, Professor Grice, you are familiar
with the arguments in Dummett's Frege: Philosophy of
Grice: I have never read that book -- and I hope I *won't*!
**************Nothing says I love you like flowers! Find a florist near you
More information about the hist-analytic