[hist-analytic] Aristotle's Metaphysics: The Izz and the Hazz
Jlsperanza at aol.com
Jlsperanza at aol.com
Fri May 22 13:45:52 EDT 2009
R. B. Jones on post of 19/5:
>I am trying an exposition, for a hypothetical
>audience consisting of Carnap, of why a positivist
>should take metaphysics a bit more seriously and
>what point there might be in looking at Aristotle's
>I am an extensionalist in this respect, that I believe
>that an extensional set theory suffices for abstract
>semantics, even for non-extensional languages.
>For example, the semantics for modal logics can
>be given using an extensional language.
>I'm playing with ProofPower HOL which is a polymorphic w-order logic.
>Thus, in most treatments "izz" and "hazz" will be predicates
>(in some modern sense) though of course they are not predicates
>in Aristotle's sense.
I love the idea of the ProofPower HOL and you are perfectly right about the
other points. I'm not sure what Grice meant by "Extensionalism". A
consideration of his 'Retrospective Epilogue' (WOW, 1989), 'Strand 5' (I think)
may be in order. He himself has not used, as far as I know, _modal_
formalisms ('nec' and 'poss'). His talk of 'intensional' dates back, as I can see,
to his 6th William James Lecture on 'word-meaning'. When concluding what a
definition of '... means ...' in terms of '... believes ...' (or at least
'... displays psychological attitude ...') he makes a point that the audience
(which included, if not Carnap, Quine) would have to _bear_ (if that's the
word) with, e.g. 'the use of quantification in intensional contexts'
("utterer believes that there is no inference element such that ..."). I believe
in his more formal 'Vacuous Names' (in the Quine festschrift, "Words and
Objections [sic!]", he has a final section on '... believes ...' predicates
per se, and how a semantics of 'vacuous' names should account for some
'intensional'/'extensional' ambiguity (of the simple type, "There is an honest
man such that Diogenes is looking for" -- also discussed in Grice's
colleague, J. O. Urmson, in "Criteria of Intensionality", Proceedings of the
Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society: I just _love_ that title!
But back to the history of analytic philosophy.
While Grice indeed seems to be treating izzing and hazzing as predicates,
one wonders. At one point R. B. Jones mentions the 'grasp[ing] of [the
problem] with ' = '. At that point, I was referring to what I think rather loose
use of ' = ' by, of all people, linguists:
'cat' = 'chat'
'Gavagai' = ????
If Grice has things like
I(x, y) & I(y, z) ----> x = y
One may like to compare that with the usual definition of " = " as per
Leibniz's Law of the identity of indiscernibles:
(x)(y) Fx <----> Fy ----> x = y
What I do like about (b) is its _formal_ abstract general 'aspect': it does
not mention _which_ property (for which F stands for): _any_ property. In
this case, Grice's (or Aristotle's) (a) seems, rather, to mention a
specific (albeit pretty abstract) predicate: "I". I would think that when
interpreting any formal system is best to deal with "uninterpreted" predicates in
ways which "I" is _not_.
I think there is a good hope of providing a ProofPower HOL for Aristotle's
basics. After all, all that can be said in Aristotle's metaphysics, one
hopes, is retrievable (if that's the word) alla Venn -- if not
algorithmically, at least in some way procedurally (if that's the word).
The izz and the hazz are perhaps best seen, alas, as 'didactical' tools for
the expression of Aristotle's thought.
But back to the Dialogue with Carnap!
Perhaps we should try a little fancification (if that's the word) of what
the dialogue or conversation should look like (or flow like).
I would fix the setting (to reprimand good ol' Grice for his 'redneck'
stuff about the Viennese) in: Vienna.
C: standing for Carnap.
Q: standing for Quine.
A: standing for Ayer.
It's sad there was no 'would-be' Oxonian in the group. Ayer perhaps is the
closest. After all, if he was in Vienna, it was because, of all people,
Gilbert Ryle. And Grice does mention, in "Life and Opinions" how Ayer was
indeed thought as the 'enfant terrible' of Oxford at the time.
S. R. Chapman has noted the affinities (albeit vague) between Ayer and
Grice in some respects. The connection has to be made via J. L. Austin, who
perhaps provided the link. Ayer and Austin did meet in Oxford in the 1930s
(with Ayer back from Vienna and his book for Gollancz -- "Language, Truth, and
Logic" published -- he wrote it in 3 weeks, I think).
Grice did not (meet with them regularly), but Chapman quotes from
unpublished views by Grice on, of all topics, 'negation', 'intention', besides his
'Personal Identity' and suggests that they should be seen as
'post-verificationist' attempts to _provide_ some sense for notions the verificationists
failed to provide.
In the case of Grice: pretty basic ideas like "I", 'I want to go to
London', and 'My wallet is _not_ empty'.
Consider "I" (as in "I am J. L. Speranza). I try and try and try but I'm
not happy with either
J. L. Speranza IZZ J. L. Speranza
J. L. Speranza HAZZ J. L. Speranza
Not because of Kripkean considerations ("I could have been named, "Yoko
Ono""), or even duncier ones (after Duns Scotus, the 'haecceity' of J. L.
Speranza). But more because I feel like I _want_ to 'conjugate' the predicate!
I AM J. L. Speranza
---- Obviously, logicians ignore that, but J. R. Perry does not (vide his
"Identity" papers in his own University of California Press edited book and
the PGRICE festschrift).
----- We know Aristotle could not grasp the problems of the 'predications'
of J. L. Speranza, but he's constantly speaking of _Socrates_ who, to me,
is less existent than _me_
I would think that the Carnap would start with an account of the "Unity of
Science": so there would (as Grice would say) the 'devil of scientism'
lurking large! I would imagine that 'predicates' accepted in the calculus would
be 'observational', and the rest is the basic logic.
One idea that has Carnapian resonances here is Grice's idea (and rejection)
I never saw one. But I think he means, primarily, Strawson's problem with
'if'. For Strawson, 'if' cannot be just _extensional_ or truth-functional.
There is a 'metaphysical excrescence' attached to it (Grice, WOW, ii).
Both the formalists (like the heirs of Principia Mathematica) and the
neotraditionalists of Aristotelian vintage, like Strawson, would have to deal
with the _excrescence_: the formalists by rejecting its relevance in the
regimentation of the language; the neotraditionalists by tweaking the logic so
as to include it -- e.g. with ideas like 'truth-value gaps' and other.
But one would think that if Grice discovered a 'common mistake' (I think
it's the phrase he uses, WOW, ii) in both formalists and neo-traditionalists,
he grew more and more incomfortable with the _limitations_ of this or that
In the "Unity of Science" approach, there are then predicates for
'observational' (and here the problem of 'dispositions' arises -- the
counterfactual account of 'breakable' or 'fragile' for example?). Then comes the baggage
of 'psychological' predicates. Not genuine for the verificationist. Why?
Grice experimented here (at a later stage, granted) with the _metaphysics_
of psychological properties (the "Ontological Marxism" with which R. B.
Jones started this thread). This is in connection with his "Functionalism"
(alla Ned Block). So a psychological property is defined functionalistically
as a 'link' (alla Turing) between TWO observational predicates:
sensorial -------> (( BLACK BOX ------> behavioural
input psychological output
'property' PSI ))
Now, so far so good. But I think Grice points to the problem of
'irreductibility' of 'psychological' laws. A _phsyicalist_ explanation of the
'relevant' "observational" predicates attached to a simple psychological
explanation, alla practical syllogism:
I want to go to London
This limousine leads me to London
I hire the limousine
(sorry, I distrust the underground)
---- may leave me _cold_. Especially as it relates to 'allegedly'
observational predicates _inside_ my cranium [the identity theory of Smart], which
only counterfactually could be open with me being still alive!
--- And then, there's the moral predicates. Hardly observational, and
perhaps with Blackburn, hardly 'real'! But in need of some explanation, too
(Recall that for Ayer 'should' amounts to "!", "Ouch!"):
There is a protest against the war in London
I should support it
I'm hiring a limo to Trafalgar Square
where the moral is the 'should', say.
To conjugate all these complexities, Grice borrowed from Carnap ("Thank
'pirot''s the word.
A pirot is a creature (like a human, maybe -- Carnap only says that a pirot
karulises elatically), who is:
1. a spatio-temporal continuant
(i.e. an occupant in the scheme of things
that a physical theory need to 'explain'
or account for, 'describe' perhaps)
2. agent of psychological predicates
like '... believes that ...' which have to
be given some consideration.
(Grice grew so comfy with his account that he started to
ascribe psychological states to all sorts of 'creatures' like squarrels --
something like a squirrel, but _smaller_).
3. self-entrenched, self-justifying
A world with just '... believes that ...' but no " ...
thinks he _should_ ..." is,
to echo S. Bayne, "less interesting" than a world with
he should ..."
---- (Here would come Grice's notions of 'value' -- the big absent in
positivistic metaphysics, and in general his interest in showing how 'morality'
may be said to 'cash out' in a favoured notion of 'interest' -- e.g. J.
Baker in PGRICE).
"We should be alert of the devil of scienticism that will have you believe
that you don't know, but know you don't" -- or something like that, Grice
concludes his Presidential Address which J. F. Bennett qualified as
"mandatory to be learned by heart by all philosophers".
But I guess he didn't!
As Strawson would have said, "Hey: Waynflete thought it relevant to
institute a chair in Oxford of "Metaphysical Philosophy": isn't that a good
enough reason to _suspect_ there
is something to it?"
Sometimes I do feel that back in Vienna in the early 30s (when Ayer
arrived), the Viennese were really into "Continental" matters -- their target
seems to have been the 'idiocies' that Heidegger was saying -- "Nichts
nichtet", 'Nothing noths' -- and note that Ryle, who had sent Ayer to Vienna, had
published a favourable review of Heidegger in Mind for 1929!). But the way
things impacted in Oxford certainly woke up a few of the 'dreaming'
J. L. Speranza
Ayer, A. J. Language, truth and logic. Gollancz
Bennett, J. F. In the tradition of Kantotle: review of PGRICE. TLS
Grice, H. P. "Aristotle on the multiplicity of being"
Grice, H. P. "Actions and Events", PPQ
Grice, H. P., and P. F. Strawson and D. F. Pears,
'Metaphysics', in D. F. Pears, "The nature of
metaphysics". London: Macmillan.
Grice, H. P. 'Reply to Richards', in PGRICE.
Grice, H. P. The Conception of Value.
Strawson, P. F. "Entity and Identity" and other
Strawson, P. F. "Individuals: An essay in
descriptive metaphysics". London: Methuen
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