[hist-analytic] Aristotle's Metaphysics: The Izz and the Hazz

Jlsperanza at aol.com Jlsperanza at aol.com
Sun May 17 14:05:32 EDT 2009

In a message dated 5/15/2009 7:02:10 A.M. Eastern Daylight Time,  
rbj at rbjones.com writes:

>I have spend some time cogitating 
>on Speranza's interesting
>pastiche on Aristotle's  metaphysics.

Excellent you found it interesting. And pastiche is _so_ Speranza!
>There is resonance with the direction I am heading  with
>metaphysical positivism, and in some future message I
>hope to  give an account of where I stand there and what
>kind of interest in  Aristotle it engenders.

Yes, but remember Hobbes's motto (I learned it via the OED):
       "That's not philosophy, that's  Aristotelity!"
"That study is not properly Philosophy, but Aristotelity."
          Leviathan (1651) IV  xlvi 370
Also remember that Grice loved, rather, "Ariskant" (vide Chapman, _Grice_,  
now in paperback), a.k.a. Kantotle (vide "Life and Opinions of Paul Grice" 
and  "In the tradition of Kantotle" -- the latter being J. F. Bennett's 
reply of a  book aptly called, Philosophical Grounds of Rationality: Intentions, 
Categories,  Ends [PGRICE], for the TLS).
>However, for now, some minor observations on  Speranza's
>When I first read of the IZZing and HAZZing  distinction
>it made my think of the conflation in Aristotle's  notion
>of predication of two things which set theory  carefully
>distinguishes, viz. set membership and set inclusion  and
>for a very short while I though the two distinctions
>connected  (I now see that they are pretty much orthogonal).
Excellent. In "Reply to Richards", which Grice contributed to PGRICE, there 
 is some extense treatment of what Grice calls "extensionalism". I think he 
sees  himself as pilgrim in the path to the holly of hollies, and being 
attacked by  (as I recall counting them) _nine_ betes noires. One is 
Extensionalism. He goes  on to express why it fails. As I understood him, it has to do 
with, er, well,  the inability to account for _intensions_. I think in 
Aristotelian idiotic  parlance (I'm using 'idiotic' to refer to his view of the 
_idion_ or proper --  'idiosyncratic' is a more polite term) it's the 
problem of
'man' (anthropos) = {R. B. Jones, J. L. Speranza, Steven Bayne,  etc...}
extension of man
Then there's 'definition'
c) man = class of 'featherless bipeds' ({J. L. Speranza, R. B. Jones,  
Steven Bayne... etc}
Then there's the class
b) man = homo ridens ({R. B. Jones, Steven Bayne, J. L. Speranza...})
Finally, there's the class
a) man = zoon logikon ({R. B. Jones, J. L. Speranza [in his best moments],  
Steven Bayne...}
For Aristotle (and Porphyry -- my views here are helped by discussion with  
M. Chase who wrote his PhD on Porphyry): (a) is _horismos_ or definitio per 
 genus et differentiam specificam (that Porphyry calls 'quality of the 
being' --  ousious poiotes); (b) is by 'proprium', which is not so good (indeed 
what I call  "Aristotle's idiocy"); (c) is even worse, by 'sumbebekos' 
(accidens). There is a  lot of Aristotelian confusion here. The Romans translated 
'sumbebekos' by  'contingens', which is an essentially modal notion (as 
everything we are  discussing here is -- if we don't use modal logic if because 
with Grice/Code,  we're over-respecting or abiding by what D. Kaplan calls 
'a lingering prejudice'  -- vide the online pdf by B. Partee on the 
memorable Summer Institute at Irvine  1971).
Aristotle uses "haplos idion" with the example of 'triangle' -- the passage 
 is in a googlebook on Aristotle on modality). Apparently he did realise 
the  _proprium_ can be either 'essential' or not. And yet not accidental. 
_Very_ hard  to formalise in modal logic, or in the more primitive logic of 
izzing and  hazzing, I claim (Never mind testing the validity of the postulates 
or  theorems). 
R. B. Jones continues:
>I played with giving an account of Aristotelean predication
>in  terms of both for a while.  This would have taken us
>along the lines  of treating Aristotlean predication using
>a predicate calculus, which we  are assured is common though
>Speranza had no examples of this apart from  the material
>he supplied at the end (of which more anon).

Yes. What surprised me slightly in reading Grice's formalization is
    x I y
x izz y
(strictly, Grice uses, "x izzES y") 
This he symbolises as a two-place predicate
I(x, y).
The problems are: avoidance of "=", but surely we don't want the 'is' of  
"identity" _everytime_. In fact, Myro-Grice developed this theory of  
time-relative identity where you hardly get to get 'identity' in _no_  time.
The other problem is Pears/Thomson (I think it is), in Strawson,  
"Philosophical Logic": Is existence a predicate? It would seem, on the face of  it, 
that if one sees this
    I(x, y)
one needs an elaboration or justification to the fact that 'izz' is _not_ a 
 predicate. The Romans apparently were pretty confused about this, and 
Hobbes  too. I read and reread Kretzmann on this ("History of Semantics", in 
Edwards,  Encyclopaedia of Philosophy) and other places, but could never 
understand the  _subtlety_ (call it _nice_ distinction alla how many angels can 
dance on the  head of a pin) of treating:
    'animal rationalis' as predicate
    'is animal rationalis' as predicate
-- it's all, apparently, about the copulation.
---- Strawson was so fascinated about this that all of his students in  
Oxford as from circa 1959 wrote their theses on this, starting, I hope, with J. 
 R. Searle: Predication.

>It wasn't very clear what milage was made out of IZZing
>and  HAZZing, since Grice seems here to be providing duplicates
>for  Aristotle's use of SAID OF and IN, and Code apparently
>in discussing  Grice declined to use his terms and invented
>a third pair for the same  purpose.

I see. Beautiful you were able to re-translate the izz back to the 'said  
of' and the hazz to the 'in'. Will think about this. This is an occasional  
reply, seeing that I _have_ to leave the house soon, but would rather send 
this  as it is.
The 'said of' is very interesting as it may connect to 'ta legomena' (what  
is said). Particularly, I believe the verb 'say' is overused. Man is said 
to be  musical, yes, and white, and cultured, and grammatikos. Surely who 
says what for  what purpose is of no amount when it comes to things that matter 
(Butterflies --  are they what they are because they are _said_ to be this 
or that? If so, surely  the Categories of Aristotle by far define 
exclusively what he meant by the  Metaphysics). The 'in' sounds more promising. Count 
me in for that  analysis.

>I am guessing that the virtue in the exercise was not  in
>this colourful terminology but in some substantive  analysis
>which followed, and perhaps yielded the conclusions
>which  Speranza presented in a formal manner.

Well, yes. I counted the things Code notes in his "Aristotle: Essence and  
Accident" (I think the title is) in PGRICE. I counted 31. I once tried to  
formalise them in terms of System G -- This I called System G-HP, which is a  
variant of Myro's System G (for Grice) The HP is not for Herbert-Paul but 
for  hopefully plausible/highly powerful, I forget what). Myro is ironising 
on  Grice's use of System Q in his tribute to Quine. So there are quite a few 
 systems -- i.e. predicate calculus with or without identity which we can 
work on  here, and they need not be first-order only. Indeed, most of 
Metaphysics seems  (as Strawson notes) to be about 'substantiation' which is 
licensed by _grammar_:  "Grice's musicality is admirable".

>My knowledge of Aristotle is not good enough to give a
>proper  critique of Speranza's 31 propositions, but
>some things stuck out and I  shall mention  them.

>>            A  izz A

>>           (A  izz B & B izz C) ---> A izz C

>>           A  hazz B  ---> ~(A izz B)

>>           A hazz  B <---> A hazz Some-Thing that izz B

>>            Each  universal is a form.

[Yes, Code skips formalising that, for better or worse. I followed his blue 
 suit and blue print]

>>        (A hazz B & A is  a particular) ---> there is a  C such that (C 
=/= A) 
                                                               & (A izz B).

>The premise ... entails (using (3)) the denial of the second conjunct  in 
>conclusion.  Is there a typo here?

I think there is! Will double check. Note that the clumsy "=/=" is meant to 
 symbolise the inequality sign -- as Rawls calls it [Just joking after his  
_Theory of Justice_.]. Why wonders why all this fuss is they are going to 
use  "=" and define it alla Leibniz, but I should revise that too. It pained 
me to  write, "There is a C..." perhaps it's best to retranslate A, B, and 
C, as x, y,  and z. "There is a C" may make sense in second-order logic, 
Imagine the problem with Aristotle: no proper history of logic and those  
old parchment full of Greek symbols. I wonder how he manage to _think_  

>>         A is  predicable of B <---> ((B izz A) 
                                                v  (B hazz Something that 
izz A)

>>      A is essentially predicable of  B  <---> B izz A
In this and other uses of the biconditional, I am I think retransliterating 
 Code's more harmless, "=df", which I avoid since it implies "=", and I'd 
rather  keep this as extensional as I can.

>>          A is  accidentally predicable of B 
              <--->  B hazz something that izz A

>>          A =  B <---> A izz B & B izz A
-- And Lebniz is turning on his grave. :)
>>          A is  an  individual <---> 
              (Nec)(For all B) B izz A ---> A izz B

Again, for commodity, seems ok. But best to symbolise whatever B _stands_  
for as 'y'.
>>           A is  a  particular <----> 
                (Nec)(For all B) A is predicable of B ---> 
                (A izz B & B izz A)

>>           A is a  universal <----> 
               (Poss) (There is a B) A is predicable of A 
                          & -(A izz B & B izz A)

-- and Ockham is turning on his grave. 
>>              If A is Some Thing, A is an  individual.

>>               If A is a Form, A is Some Thing and Universal.

Oddly, "Formosa" the country in the Philippines, I believe is something  
but hardly universal.
>>         A is   predicable of B <----> (B izz A) 
                                                      v (B hazz Some Thing 
that Izz A)

>>              A  is essentially predicable of A
-- Problem here is otiosity. Surely one can say, "My horse is a horse". As  
opposed to a _toy_ horse? I trust every instantiation of the above theorem  
yields a flout to Grice's conversational maxim of informativeness (cfr. 
"War is  war"; "women is women" discussed in WOW, ii)

>>           A  is accidentally predicable of B --->  A =/= B

>>          ~(A is  accidentally predicable of B) ---> A =/= B.

This must involve some typo too. I shall check.

>On the face of it 18 and 19 (with excluded middle) give A =/=  A.

Right. I'll find the typo for you.

>>          A is a  particular ---> A is an individual
cfr. Strawson, "Individuals: an essay in descriptive metaphysics". All the  
words have value there. And Grice says, "a reflection by yours truly found 
in  the proceedings, unacknowledged" -- or words to that effect.

>>    A is a particular  ---> No Thing  that is Not Identical with A izz A

>>     No Thing is both  particular  & a Form.

>>      A is a Form ---> nothing that  is not identical with A izz A

>>      X is a particular --->  there is no form B such that A izz B

>No X on right hand side, so we can delete the condition (if there  are
>any particulars) and hence conclude -(A izz A)?

No. I wouldn't. I rather blame it on a typo -- _somewhere. Perhaps "B is a  

Admittedly, by this stage, the izz and the hazz has evaporated and Code is  
just using some telegraphic thing which he calls "exegesis of Aristotle"! 
(Just  joking. I love the man).
>>         A is a form  ---> ((A is predicable of B & A =/=  B) 
                                     ---> B hazz A)

>>      (A is a form & B is a  particular) ---> 
           (A is  predicable of B <----> B hazz A)

>>     (A is particular & B is  a  universal & predicable of A) 
        ---> there is a C such that  (A =/= C  
        & C is essentially  predicable of A)

I have a suspicion this "C" is what Aristotle called the _trittos  
anthropos". I have a suspicion that Code thinks all this is monumentally  important 
to prove Plato _false_. Indeed he provides "Platonic theorems" which I  
avoided them since my spellchecker couldn't make neither _reason_ or *rhyme*  
with them.

>>        If there are  particulars, of  which universals are predicable, 
            not  every universal is Some Thing.

Such as the 'square circle'? 
>>          Each  universal is Some Thing.


>Don't 28 and 29 together deny the premise of 27 (and hence make its  

I wisely erased all numbers, because I cannot concentrate on two things at  
the same time. Right now I'm trying to make sense of the formulae. At a 
later  stage I can renumber them and see what you mean. Just joking. Yes, blame 
it on a  typo. 

>>           If  A is a particular, there is no  B such that (A =/= B 
                                            &  B is essentially predicable 
of  A)

>>              (A is predicable of B & A =/= B) ---> 
                  A is accidentally predicable of B.


>Don't we have:
>A is essentially predicable of B -> - (A  is accidentally predicable of B)
>If we do then using 31 we can get 
>          A =/= B ->  -(B izz A)
>and with the above -(B izz A) for any A and B.
>31 seems to be  denying essential predicability except where A and B  are

Isn't that _deep_? Which is back to anthropos and zoon logikon.

Another problem with Aristotle here is _Socrates_. I'm surprised I  forgot 
to mention _him_ when I listed the featherless bipeds:
       MAN = {Socrates, J. L. Speranza, R. B.  Jones, S. Bayne, ...}
Aristotle, then, denies that "Socrates" can be predicated. "Socrates izz  
I would think Aristotle is into very 'eschatological' things (to echo  
Grice, "Metaphysics and Philosophical Eschatology", in WOW):
It's like, "if to be a man, you have to be a zoon, then it is essential  
that a man _breathes_, and a posteriori, is rational. So while "a man 
breathes"  is _accidental_ to his being rational, then it can be predicated provided 
..."  etc.
And then Hobbes said -- in Leviathan:
   "That study is not properly Philosophy, but  Aristotelity."
Leviathan, Book IV, section xlvi 370

>Hopefully these are mostly typos on Speranza's part  or
>misundertandings on mine.

But never both, of course! :)

>I would be interested to know the sources in Aristotle of  these
>conclusions, presumably there are references in Grice's  paper,
>and I would put up a page linking to the relevant paragraphs  if
>this information could be unearthed and any problems  resolved.

Yes. I should check with Code's and Grice's papers. Grice's would be  
"Aristotle on the multiplicity of being". Don't expect a "reference section" at  
the end of it. There's the occasional ref. to Arist. Met., Cat., Top., with 
the  good numbering of the Greek edition.
>Ideally one would come up with formal definitions of the  relevant
>concepts and prove these claims, but coming up with  suitable
>definitions could be tricky.
>I will try to come up with a  concise account of why a
>"Metaphysical Positivist" might be interested  in
>Aristotle's metaphysics and what kind of interest
>he might have  in it.

Excellent. From what I see, and you do mention Comte as coining  the thing, 
_none_! I mean, it's all contingency, accidency, and (almost) the  
apocalypse! But what _is_ interesting is that _talk_ of 'contingency',  'accidency' 
and the apocalypse is almost Gricean if not altogether Aristotelian  and 
Grecian to the core.
Chapman lists among the unpublications of Grice: From Genesis to  
Revelations: a new discourse of metaphysics. 
It would seem that the anti-metaphysical postivist _is_ somehow  
'implicated' (in the legal sense now, almost) to account for, of all things, the  
_rejection_ of Aristotelian essentialism!
What is fun about Carnap and the "logical" positivists, is that they indeed 
 found it to be so much 'over their heads' (Grice is dismissive in "Actions 
and  Events" (PPQ 1988), as Chapman notes, when he refers to the "Vienna 
rednecks")  that they thought a _logical syntax_ would do wonders. Start with:
        Nicht nichtet
--- But from a few idiocies by Heidegger, we cannot go on to claim that  
_metaphysics_ *in toto* should be forbidden from the universities!
--- In fact, as a serious student of philosophy, one is not too serious  
about Aristotle. One has to become _empiricist_ and _sceptical_. By the time 
one  resumes Aristotle's seminars (at the postgrad level with Code and Grice) 
it's  perhaps too late, but as _Plato_ said, "it's never too late" (to fall 
in  love).
And now _must_ rush... Talk to you later.

J. L. Speranza

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