[hist-analytic] I Don't Know Why (I Just Do)

Jlsperanza at aol.com Jlsperanza at aol.com
Fri May 29 18:52:57 EDT 2009

Aitiology -- Revisited.
Further to R. B. Jones's consideration of Aristotle -- and the idea of a  
proof tool, I wonder about -- we know Ryle on knowing how and knowing that -- 
'knowing why' It seems Aristotle is exaggerating things a bit when he  says 
in Metaphysics 983a: -- cfr.  

epei de  phaneron
        it is clear 
hoti tôn ex archês aitiôn dei labein  
        that it is required to obtain  knowledge OFF causes
epistêmên tote gar eidenai phamen hekaston 
        because it is when we think we  understand
hotan tên prôtên aitian oiômetha gnôrizein 
         its primary cause that we  CLAIM to know each particular thing
ta d' aitia legetai tetrachôs 
         Now, 'cause' is said  fourfoldly
hôn mian men aitian phamen 
         Of this we hold that one  such way is
einai tên ousian 
        the essence
kai to ti ên einai anagetai 
         and the essential nature  of the thing
gar to dia ti eis ton logon eschaton 
         because the "why" of a  each thing goes towards the word
aition de kai archê to dia ti prôton de TO DIA TI 
         and the why which is first  is a cause and principle)."

But is this so? Suppose I  say:

"I love  you."

You ask,  'Why do you say so?' -- And I, echoing Tony Bennett,  go:

All day long you're asking me 
          _What_ I 'see' in  you. 
All day long I'm answering 
          But what good does  it do? (None).
I have *nothing* to explain.
                       -- cfr. Brody, "Aristotle and scientific explanation"
                                 Brit.  Journal Phil. Sc.
                               cfr. Dirk Bogaarde, "Never explain, never 

I *just* love you (love you) and I'll tell you once  again  

I don't know why I love you like I do.  
I don't know why -- I just do.  
I don't know why you thrill me like you do.  
I don't know _why_  -- you *just* do 

You never *seem* to want my romancing  
The only time you hold me is when we're dancing  

I don't know why I love you like I do  
I don't know why, I just do 

Possible answers (Gricean included). I'll ignore the counterfactual: "I  
should NOT be loving you -- since you reject my other-than-kinetic  romancing

First caveat: 
Bennett is _not_ saying

(i) I don't know why I love you.

but the Aristotelian answer to a specific 'why' question -- cfr. Why did  
Jenny Wren kill Cock Robin _like she did_?

(ii) I don't know why I love you LIKE I DO.

i.e. +> (implicating)

(iii) Tony Bennett is unaware of the reason for 
      his abnormal (say) intensity of the  feeling he experiences 
      towards his addressee.

But the  title of the song (as per the header) is then confusing -- and 
ambiguously  so in a good _way_ in leaving the _object_ of knowledge unstated.

Reply to First Caveat:
It may be argued that, by transformation, we can 'simplify' (ii) into  (i), 
thus having (iii) yield (iv): 

(iv) Tony Bennett is unaware of the reason (_simpliciter_) 
      why he feels any feeling at all towards his  addressee.

In any way, the cheek which he displays is enough to have The Stagirite  
turning in his one.

Second Caveat: Gettier
It may be argued that unless you can answer 'why' you are not entitled to  
say "know" ('knowing why' as * _factive_) 
Apply to Tony Bennett (using "~" as external negation only). 
(* For the analysis of 'reason why' as (sometimes) factive I owe to H. P.  
Grice in First Lecture of _Aspects of Reason_)

J. L. Speranza
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