[hist-analytic] Grice's Shopping List
Jlsperanza at aol.com
Jlsperanza at aol.com
Sat Feb 28 08:42:15 EST 2009
In a message dated 2/27/2009 8:08:18 A.M. Eastern Standard Time,
baynesrb at yahoo.com writes in "Re: A note from inside the teapot"
Second, as I move in the direction of completing the Anscombe
book, I'm curious about his ties to Anscombe. If you have any
cases of citations that may be of interest, let me (us) know,
please. Obviously, there is some conceptual connection with
respect to the role of intention in meaning etc. But it hasn't
been explored in the way I think it could be.
---- You have become a true Grice scholar when the anaphoric 'his' you take,
ceteris paribus, to mean Grice. (No mention of him earlier in Baynes' post!)
I don't have the first page of "Intention and Uncertainty" by Grice
(Clarendon, 1971 -- a separata, or offprint, really from the Proceedings of the
British Academy), but I seem to recall he refers to Anscombe's shopping list. This
would be to:
"Elizabeth Anscombe (1957, 56) considers a mere “shopping list”. ...
plato.stanford.edu/entries/intentionality by P. Jacob.
Yes, a moot point -- I think Grice is introducing the topic vis a vis
'directions of fit', without possibly using that expression (which we know draws
from Austin, "How to talk: some simple ways", although not used in the manner
that Searle will later do.
In the same passage Grice cites Kenny -- his book on intention. I mentioned
that to Kenny once, and we discussed the bit.
I don't think Grice himself goes on to cite Anscombe in other pieces. He was
of course familiar with Anscombe's translation of Wittgenstein. In a sort of
amusing passage in "Method in philosophical psychology", Grice out of the
blues uses quotes to the effect, "No psychological predicates without traits of
behaviour that these predicates are attempting to 'explain'" -- or words to
that effect. Which would be Anscombe's translation of the Wittgenstein piece
in Philosophical Investigations.
I would have to revise Anscombe's Oxford years.
"went on to read "Mods & Greats" (a course of study in classics, ancient
history, and philosophy) at St Hugh's College of the University of Oxford,
graduating with a First in 1941."
So this would coincide with Grice, although Grice was older (b. 1913),
Anscombe b. 1919 -- like Urmson, I would think).
St. Hugh's is on St Margaret's Road Oxford OX2 6LE
St. Hugh's would be closer to the Grices' real abode -- a falt on Woodstock
Road, rather than St. John's proper.
I would think that St. Hugh's was a female-only?
I did some research on the 'greats' and I'm surprised it's listed as 'mods
and greats'. The Greats is just sland for 'great go' as opposed to the 'little
go'. The technical name of the programme would be "Littera Humaniores". So it
would be exactly the same programme Grice completed. Grice graduated with a
first in 1938.
I undestand (via reading Chapman's book on Grice) that in the first two or
three years of the programme they did not have any philosophy _at all_. It was
'classics' by which they meant literature, then -- Homer, who knows, tragedy,
who knows, Plato I _Hope_). The ancient history was Thucydides, and
Herodotos, I would think. And then philosophy, and here is where the 'mod' comes in
(for "modern") in that they had a sprinkling of Locke, Hume, Kant -- plus the
standard Plato and Aristotle. The readings -- mandatory -- were Ethica
Nichomachea. I sometimes read their syllabus and wonder. "Having gone through
those classics for years -- it's unimaginable that _I_ would show _any_ interest
in same in later years -- e.g. practical syllogism --," but there you are.
Another rpoint of contact:
"I always hated phenomenalism and felt trapped by it. I couldn't see my way
out of it but I didn't believe it."
the wiki has Anscombe saying. In this, like Grice -- but while Anscombe was
reading Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus as an undergraduate, who knows what
Grice was reading. (Certainly not the Tractatus, seriously). I would think he
was concerned seriously with phenomenalism as only the philosophers of his
generation could -- witness essays by Isaiah Berlin in the 1930s, actually just
one. And then Ayer's _empiricism_ loose free. The fashionable thing in Oxford
seems not to have been to focus too much neither on the logical nor the
positivistic sides to 'logical positivism' -- by which I would mean the
'verificationist'. It was really a reconsideration of what was to be a respectable
empiricist, or how to challenge the charge of phenomenalism if at all.
Oddly, when I read in a rush the sentence above, I read it as "I COULD see
my way out of it, but I didn't believe in it" (i.e. the way). That would have
been more interesting!
I would say Grice never felt too trapped by it -- he had perhaps a bigger
common sense! -- but he loved the logical exercise of turning 'phenomeanlist'
verbs (like 'seems a yellow packet") and noumenalist verbs ("definitely _is_ a
yellow packet). As you see, that great 'doubt or denial' consideration. The
mention of the yellow packet is Anscombe's:
"I would spend time, in cafés, for example, staring at
objects saying to myself: "I see a packet. But what
do I really see? How can I say that I see here anything
more than a yellow expanse?"
"After her fellowship at Cambridge ended, she was awarded a research
fellowship at Somerville College, Oxford"
--- this would link with the 'school' that gave us some anti-Griceans like
Mrs. Julie Jack, and pro-Griceans like Anita Avramides. I've been to the school
(from the outside -- it's a female-only one) and can well feel that they
have a sisterhood in there!
"Anscombe remained at Somerville College from 1946 to 1970."
So this would be the hey-day of linguistic philosophy. I would not think she
would mix with the playgroup. Grice was responsible for the playgroup from
1960 to 1967, and then he was gone to UC/Berkeley.
They would have common acquaintances. Grice's pubs for example where "Flag
and Lamb" (on the sunny side of St. Giles) and "Eagle and the Baby" (across the
street). This was the haunt of C. S. Lewis. I read from wiki:
"In 1948 Anscombe presented a paper at a meeting of Oxford's Socratic Club
in which she disputed C. S. Lewis's argument that naturalism was
His loss was so humiliating that he abandoned theological argument and
turned entirely to children's literature."
Anscombe disagrees. Did meet with Lewis later on, and, she states, "neither
Dr. Havard (who had Lewis and me to dinner a few weeks later) nor Professor
Jack Bennet remembered any such feelings on Lewis's part." And in any case,
Lewis did rewrite the thing in _Miracles_ to meet Anscombe's objections.
Reading from wiki:
"The aim of Intention (1957) was to make plain the character of human action
and will. Anscombe approaches the matter through the concept of intention,
which, as she famously notes, has three modes of appearance in our language."
She is X'ing intentionally --- intentional action
She is X'ing with the intention of doing Y
or ...She is X'ing in order to Y "intention with which"
or further intention in acting
She intends to Y
or... She has expressed the intention to do Y
"expression of intention for the future"
(what is expressed is what Davidson later called a pure intending)"
I am reminded of Grice's mention of Hart in "Prolegomena" (WOW, 1989 -- Stud
ies in the Way of Words). The reference is to 'unpublished' Hart, but it
deals with the abuse sometimes felt on the adverb 'intentionally' -- and which
Grice links with Austin's "no aberration without modification" that Roger Bishop
Jones discuss in his web-pages.
--- I am also reminded of an essay that I have discussed with Baynes
elsehwere, Lombard/Stine, "Grice's Intentions". This is a minutiae account of the
'intentional idiom' in Grice -- as it connects with the standard 'Meaning'. I
think we have to wait for Grice 1971 ("Intention and Uncertainty") to get a
clearer, more serious account of Grice on intention -- much discussed in
literature of action-theory emanating from UC/Berkeley -- Bratman, etc.
In Grice, in the early "Meaning", the action seems to be always the uttering
of x. So he is interested in that sort of intention that underlies the
uttering of something (uttering taken broadly to mean any sort of 'activity' act
-- even to mention Vendler).
He does say that the phrase "mean to" -- which would relate to "intention
with which" -- is _natural_ and outside his present account.
Oddly, Grice -- perhaps as if feeling some of the criticisms of Vendler to
the progressive aspect, ungrammatical, as applied to things like 'mean' ("Tom
has been meaning that the cat is on the mat for the last half an hour"), he
produces his analysandum in the past:
"utterer U meant that p by x" iff
Naturally, the analysans then becomes also in the past, iff
U intended ...
Now, the natural collocation for Grice, since he is into 'interpersonal'
scenarios, is to have the 'that'-clause collapsed as it were in a 'transformed'
U intends A to believe ...
---- which I take a transformation of
U intends that A believe that ...
where A is addressee.
Perhaps closer to Anscombe's subtle distinctions comes from those who wanted
to associate Austin's work on perlocution/illocution with Grice's
'pragmatics'. So following Austin, one would say that
_BY_ uttering x, U meant that p.
that's 'meanng' proper.
It's not so much
_in_ uttering x.
The emphasis on the 'by' led some to think that Grice was a
'consequentialist' (word apparently coined by Anscombe!) and that he is analysing 'meaning'
(or 'action' or intention in terms of the mediate, rather than immediate
consequences. Austin does make a point that it's the 'by' versus 'in' collocations
that mark the distinction between perlocution and illocution, respectively.
"To do Y" or "because I want to do Y" would be typical answers to this sort
of "why?"; though they are not the only ones, they are crucial to the
constitution of the phenomenon as a typical phenomenon of human life (sections
This I would relate more to Grice's meticulous account of 'reasons for
actions' and psychological attitudes in _Aspects of Reason_. "reasons for",
'reasons why', etc. I have written extensively elsewhere and Harman and Dancy have
good online reviews of Grice's book. Grice is not so much concerned with
'intentional action' itself, but with 'why' questions related to the holding of a
propositional attitude. So, not so much with "Why did you do that?" but why
would someone _conclude_ that? What is the reason to draw the conclusion q out
of the premise p, and so forth. He is perhaps seeing the phenomenon more
generally, since he spends a few pages on explaining to us why the bridge
Then, yes, there is the 'shopping list' example cited by Grice in 1971. He
must have found Anscombe's phrasing of the phenomenon appealing:
"If the agent fails to buy what is listed,
we do not say that the list is untrue or incorrect;
we say that the mistake is in the action, not the belief."
This "we would not say", etc. combines with PDA -- paradigm cases arguments!
Then there would be connections on "I" -- Grice's Personal Identity (Mind,
1941) and I read from wiki:
"Her paper "The First Person" follows up remarks by
Wittgenstein, coming to the now-notorious conclusion
that the first-person pronoun, "I", does not refer to anything (not, e.g.,
to the speaker)."
The early Grice would of couse -- but then _EVERYBODY_ would -- disagree, as
he proffers an analysis of "I" in terms of 'logical construction': a series
of mnemonic states. I don't totally buy that picture, and would think Grice
may have come to realise the importance of spatio-temoral continuity too (he
dedicated one semester or two to Wiggins on Sameness and Substance -- and he
cherished Strawson too much to ignore Strawson's conception of persons and
parsons). Here it's Perry who'd done the most serous work on this, in PGRICE
(ed. Grandy/Warner, Oxford Clarenon: Philosophical Grounds of Rationality:
Intentions, Categories, Ends) and also by previously editing Grice's "Personal
Identity" in his 1976 influential collection (for University of California Press
Finally, Grice does use, like Anscombe, 'transubstantial', but I think Grice
is being more general, and using it not just for the wine --> blood, bread
---> body, but for any eschatological cross-epitheting, as I think he calls
I _think_ Grice uses 'shopping list' in _another_ unrelated context, when he
is precisely describing what eschatology should do for us. I'm retaining that
as a header, for it connects with the starting point of our discussion of
the Anscombe-Grice interface.
J. L. Speranza
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