[hist-analytic] Davidson's Hume

Jlsperanza at aol.com Jlsperanza at aol.com
Sun May 24 11:31:10 EDT 2009


In a message dated 5/24/2009 9:39:33 A.M. Eastern Daylight Time,
Baynesr at comcast.net writes:
My use here is the best way to capture
the  meaning of the sentence when we are engaged in discussing
singular  causation.


----- as to B. Aune's attending comment, if it _joins_ with the Donnellan
thing:


I note some overlap (a good one, I hope) between

-- S. Bayne's emphasis on SINGULAR causation

and

-- B. Aune's comment on "the one and only one cause"

In his interesting post on 'Re: Causatives', S. Bayne considers:

>if we take action sentences involving [explicit] causatives  ... Davidson
>will have trouble linking prepositional phrases to verb in logical form
>using simply conjunction and modified predicates.

I discussed this with B. Aune in connection with 'conjunction', as I
recall. Aune's point is that "&" only holds between propositional structures
(whole "p's" and "q's"). In my example:

    (i) The three stooges caused Timmy's lunacy.

One _may_ want to say that while 'co-caused' is the strictly better in
terms of style, one may still want to count as true (if misleading) something
like:

    (ii) Curly caused Timmy's lunacy.

I.e., with R. M. Harnish, I would be taking 'conjunction reduction' as
'implicatural' in nature. I for one, would rather count (ii) as _true_ (if
misleading on the account that Curly in conjunction with Moe and Larry caused
...) than (iii) ~(Curly caused Timmy's lunacy).

A different thing is with "co-operate" and other verbs (well, Grice _loved_
 'co-operate') which _already_ *incorporate* the 'co-'. So
'conversationalists  follow the co-operative principle', etc. "John co-operated". I would
still hold  it true that if the latter, then "John operated" (!)

I loved S. Bayne's use of gerrymander to account for Davidson's Hume.
That's the style I enjoy on this list! I like Davidson's actual quotations from
Hume, but is one wishing for more?!

>although I don't think he is right to gerrymander Hume's position like 
this.

S. Bayne will be pleased that Russell was involved in all this:

        -- what is the origin of the  phrase 'gerrymander'?

From the OED

   "In 1812, while Elbridge Gerry was Governor of Massachusetts,
   the Democratic Legislature, in order to secure an increased
   representation of their party in the State Senate,
   districted the State in such a way that the shapes of the  towns
   forming such a district in Essex county brought out
   a territory of regular outline. This was indicated on
   a map which Russell the editor of the ‘Continent’
   hung in his office. Stuart the painter observing it
   added a head, wings, and claws, and exclaimed
   ‘That will do for a salamander!’
   ‘Gerrymander!’ said Russell, and the word became a proverb.
                        (Mem. Hist. Boston, 1881).

Cheers,

J. L. Speranza
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