[hist-analytic] Prof. Strumpell's Wonderful Anaesthetic Boy

Jlsperanza at aol.com Jlsperanza at aol.com
Fri Feb 20 07:27:12 EST 2009


Verificationism Verified.
 
Wonder is the source of philosophy -- Socrates.
 
William James's anaesthetic boy
-- And what he _can_ verify or fail to. 
 
 
     "Professor A. Strumpell of his wonderful  anaesthetic boy, whose only 
sources of feeling..."
                 W. James
 
In a message dated 2/19/2009 8:05:29 P.M. Eastern Standard Time,  
baynesrb at yahoo.com writes:
By the way, verificationism has a terrific  intellectual history, going back 
a good way further than Ayer. The ties to  pragmatism, the link to Russell's
priniciple of acquaintance are, also,   rich and well worth the effort to 
study.

----

Yep.

And I  forgot to mention in yesterday's post that I was also impressed by 
Anscombe's  reference to 'the anaesthetic boy' in William James (the reviewer 
cites from p.  769 of the one-volume edition.

>verificationism has a terrific ...  history.

or about the dry martini

> I may have said  that.

But did you _mean_ it? 'Terrific' _now_ means 'excellent', but ask  
Kripkenstein for a private-language option!
 
I know S. R. Bayne is our resident _expert_ in Americana (American  
philosophy). Have a close look at the name-drop in the martini post:
 
>Kaplan, Castenada, Lewis, Sellars, 
>Chisholm, Bergmann,  Marcus,  Findlay,
 
Impressive!
 
And now he drops for good measure (talking of martinis), 
 
>the ties [of verificationism] to pragmatism.
 
By which we mean William James.
 
Indeed, if truth is the useful, I guess they would be interested in  'verify' 
as almost synonymous with 'to live'!
 
------
 
Two quotes from the OED pre-dating Ayer:
 
1932 M. SCHLICK Gesammelte Aufsätze (1938) viii. 181 
 
"The meaning of a proposition is the method of its verification."
 
1934 C. I. LEWIS in Philos. Rev. XLIII. 131 
 
"Suppose it maintained that no issue is meaningful unless it can be put to  
the test of decisive verification."
 
-- this must have been pinched by R. Hall.  
 
And some for the quotation of pragmatism with the true:
 
1898 W. JAMES Philos. Concept. & Pract. Results 5 
 
The principle of practicalism or pragmatism, as he [sc. C. S. Peirce]  called 
it, 
when I first heard him enunciate it at Cambridge [Mass.] in the early '70s,  
is 
the clue..by following which..we may keep our feet upon the proper  trail.
 
----
1906 Academy 4 Aug. 106/1 
 
The most recent and (philosophically speaking) fashionable ‘ism’ that the  
new century has producedknown, by some as Humanism, and by others as 
Pragmatism. 
 
 
a1914 C. S. PEIRCE Coll. Papers (1958) VIII. II. ix. 247 But if this  
occasion did in actuality not arise, such habit of thought as the conditional  
proposition might produce would be a nullity pragmatistically and practically. 
 
The first five hits in google's 9 for "William James"  "anaesthetic boy" are 
worth a look (the remaining 4 are mirrors of (1)):  

1. 
The principles of psychology William James - 1893 - Psychology
... we  get such results as are given in the following account by Professor 
A. Strumpell  of his wonderful anaesthetic boy, whose only sources of feeling  
...
books.google.com/books?id=aW19AAAAMAAJ...
 
2.  Comptes Rendus Biologies : The origin of voluntary action. History  ...  
William James defended the opinion that the consciousness of our  movements is 
... including Strümpell's “wonderful anaesthetic boy”, whose only  sources 
of ...
linkinghub.elsevier.com/retrieve/pii/S1631069106000424 by M  Jeannerod 
 
3. 17/9/07 1  cases such as William James’s ‘anaesthetic boy’, cited  by 
Anscombe. 8. James’s boy, we are told, could see and hear but had no bodily  
sensation whatsoever. ...
_www.philosophy.ox.ac.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0014/1148/Wittg_and_Bod_self-k
n.pdf_ 
(http://www.philosophy.ox.ac.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0014/1148/Wittg_and_Bod_self-kn.pdf)    by E Harcourt
 
4. Action and Its Explanation - Google Books Result  by David-Hillel  Ruben - 
2003 - 
The wonderful anaesthetic boy falsely believed that he opened his hand;  
Landry's patient falsely believed that he had executed a certain movement with a  
...
books.google.com/books?isbn=0198235887...

5.  Could I feel a sensation to be located in someone else’s  body?  The “
anaesthetic boy” example of William James, quoted by Anscombe,  shows that a 
body may be truly mine, yet I may not be able to feel pains in it.  ...
_www.theotodman.com/SensationsInSomeoneElsesBody.pdf_ 
(http://www.theotodman.com/SensationsInSomeoneElsesBody.pdf)  
 
Cheers,
 
JL
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