[hist-analytic] I Don't Know Why (I Just Do)
Jlsperanza at aol.com
Jlsperanza at aol.com
Fri May 29 22:00:21 EDT 2009
Just a little ps.
I realise the "I just do" of the title refers to "I just LOVE you", _not_
"I just know".
Surely it is _very_ conceivable to know that p, but not to know why p.
Although surely there is also some ambiguity in the 'why'. I recall M.
Dascal's example in "Conversational Relevance" (Journal of Pragmatics)
PRIEST: Why did you rob the bank, my son
PRISONER: Because that's where the dough is.
In any case, the song -- which I actually first heard via my friend M. E.
Rowntree, of London, getting for me the Ambrose and his orchestra version
with the great Sam Browne as 'crooner' --
touches on topics of inocorrigibility and privileged access -- of
Wittgensteinian fame, but also dealt with by Grice, in "From the banal to the
bizarre". Grice wants to formalise this in terms of iteration of operators:
KNOW that I love you
KNOW that I know that I love you.
Etc. things considered by Hintikka in his epistemic/doxastic logic.
"I have nothing to explain" (in the lyrics, where 'explain', nicely,
rhymes with 'again' -- _contra_ most Tin Pan Alley that have 'THEN' rhyme with
It's like a _reason_ for love is uncalled for. This may sound Pascalian:
'reason of the heart', which I never actually bought.
Anyway, just the note to consider the logic of interrogatives including
It strikes me (slightly) that other phrases with 'know'
-- know who did it.
-- know what colour the flag is.
etc. are _imcomplete_ -- they are x-questions, as it were, in indirect
He doesn't know WHO did it.
He doesn't know WHAT colour the flag is.
-- In the case of
He doesn't know WHY
since the answer would require a _final_ or 'causative' clause
p _because_ q
the logical form does not seem to correspond exactly to the 'know _what_',
or 'know _who_'.
It's also perhaps odd that while
"I don't know why I love you (like I do)"
is not odd at all, replacing 'know' by a _weaker_ verb (entailed by
'know') doesn't seem to have the right effect:
I don't believe why I love you like I do
(But then, 'believe who', and 'believe what' _are_ also ungrammatical).
The reason seems to be that the correct way to say this is:
"I don't THINK I _know_ why I love you like I do"
(Grice considers the weakening of factives on that obvious type in "WOW",
It may also be argued that the "~" of the 'DON'T KNOW' is external and
thus able to cancel the whole 'implicature':
A: I didn't know you were pregnant.
B: You still don't. (example by Harnish, Logical Form and Implicature
In this case, as Harnish notes, we require something like the
square-bracket device. While it's usually the third clause in Gettier's analysis that
gets cancelled (on the face of the first two clauses being 'common ground'
and thus _beyond_ doubt) B's reply challenges the very first clause ("B is
In the case of the song, the speaker may end up saying:
"You know _what_? Now that you ask (for nth time):
"I don't know why I love you like I do. Because I don't!" But that is
_not_ Ambrose for ya!
J. L. S.
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