[hist-analytic] "A Horse -- Does it Look Like A Horse?"

Jlsperanza at aol.com Jlsperanza at aol.com
Mon Feb 16 22:32:08 EST 2009


In a message dated 2/16/2009 8:54:41 P.M.  Eastern Standard Time, 
baynesrb at yahoo.com writes:
Grice's notion of "doubt or  denial" in his essay on perception is
very useful; quite ingenious and puts  the issue in a different 
framework, as do his remarks on "detachability" and  "cancellability."
I can't go into these in an email; but if you look  carefully, you
will see a lot of interesting things here. 
----

So  true.

And one wonders the source of it all. I'm prepared to think it was  Witters's 
solution:

"A horse does not look like a horse; he  _is_ a horse".

In "Valediction" Grice does mention that his motivation  for implicature was 
the examination of some pragmatic vs. logical aspects of  sense-datum 
sentences.

The rest is red-pillar box theory!  

>Grice's notion of "doubt or denial" in his essay on perception  is
>very useful; quite ingenious and puts the issue in a different  
>framework, 
 
--- Exactly. Because it does seem that when anglos use 'seem' there's that  
'doubt or denial' implicated!
 
I tend to believe that it was not like that for the Greeks with their  
overemphasis on phenomena, phantasmagorias, etc. 'phainetai' was how things  
appeared, how they shone. 
 
Grice is also crucial in considering the very copula:
 
The S is P  (the cat is on the mat)
The S _seems_ P
The S seems to be P
 
Note that 'seems' replaces a 'copula' and basically ranges over _any_  
sensorial modality. Quite a trick of a verb if you ask me. It's not like the cat  is 
_seen_ on the mat. Just _seems to be on the mat_. Grice discusses colours  
which is even trickier. I always thought that the red pillar box Must Seem Red.  
To be red does not even make sense to me!
 
My professor in philosophy of science (yes I had one) I recall for having  
introduced me to Tweety:
 
"I believe there seems to be a nice little cat"
"There seems to be a cat"
"Oh, oh! There is a cat"
 
 
----- I think it's Warnock who discusses similar cases of guardedness in  
"Logic and metaphysics" repr. in Flew, (Blackwell). An excellent essay by  
Warnock.
 
"There is a lion behind that bush" is bound to trigger different reactions  
from "There seems to be a lion behind that bush".
 
>Grice's notion of "doubt or denial" in his essay on perception  is
>very useful; quite ingenious and puts the issue in a different  
>framework, 
 
Because he seems to be targetting Witters:
 
    That looks like a horse +> It's not a horse
                                            I doubt it's one.
 
Surely that's implicatural!
 
Bayne:
 
>as do his remarks on "detachability" and "cancellability."

Exactly. For if the excursus is long, he wants it to be applied to the  casus 
in point, the 'doubt or denial. 
 
It is 'detachable' (the implicature is) for there are, fortunately, an open  
gamut of possibilities of expressing that doubt or denial. Not just 'seem', 
but  'believe', think, passive voice, parentheticals, etc. So it's not about the 
 _sense_ and reference (alla Frege) of _one_ expression. 
 
And it is _cancellable_ in philosophical circumstances mainly:
 
    "That horse does look like a horse"
 
When I was watching "Million Dollar Baby" with Hilary Swank and Clint  
Eastwood, I was being an Austinian-Gricean-Warnockian bit of audience, when I  heard 
the line in the libretto:
 
      HILARY:  Puajjjj!  That smells  like bleach!
 
      EASTWOOD (calmly) Yes. bleach smells like  bleach.
 
Where no implicature is cancelled. It's not cancelled, either, in Valley  
Girl Speak ("Then we saw, like, a horse, in the field, it was, er, like, a  
horse" and looked like, like, a horse -- like". 
 
"But it _was_ a horse". "Well, like, yes".
 
Old Usage? Ultra-Modern, rather!
 
Cheers,
 
JL
 
    -- a friend of mine, no disrespect, used to say that  Prince Anne looks 
like a horse.
    (I recall we were botanising as to whether you'd say a  female is 
handsome. "Yes, Prince
    Anne is".). (And she is into horses, so no wonder). 
 
----




as do his remarks on "detachability" and "cancellability."
I can't go  into these in an email; but if you look carefully, you
will see a lot of  interesting things here. 
----

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