[hist-analytic] R. B. Jones's Aristotle

Jlsperanza at aol.com Jlsperanza at aol.com
Wed Jun 3 11:42:57 EDT 2009

I am fascinated by the pdf that R. B. Jones has made public to


and not just because it mentions Grice!


I intend to  spend some time browsing at it, and hopefully providing VERY
constructive  commentary.

i.  I loved R. B. Jones's idea that indeed it's best to  work with the
underlying logic in Aristotle's system with any 'calculus' that  may have been
available to Aristotle. Jones provides three models for the  syllogistic --
none of which involves the standard first-order predicate logic  with which
some of us are familiar. These three models concern the standard  syllogistic
-- without the 'existential fallacy'; the  syllogistic-cum-existential
fallacy; and the modal syllogistic.

ii. R. B.  Jones has nicely harmonized the passage from the syllogistic --
and I'm pleased  the Ell. Soph. is now available at his site -- to the
metaphysics, and I'm also  pleased he has been able to find the Greek titles for
the books -- apres Smith.

iii. This is not meant as a criticism, but I loved his square bracket
references sections, and I'm pleased he has been able to make such good use of
the Code. Since Grice is not credited as _author_ per se in the references,
allow me to drop them here. I would have:

Grice  [1979]. Aristotle on being and good. The
              Philosophy of Aristotle. A conference at the
              University of Victoria, sponsored by the
              Canada Council. January. Section III:
              "Semantic Multiplicity and Copulative

as quoted by Code in his  footnote.

In any case, that  reference may now be updated -- Code was writing in 1986
-- and his paper was  published in 1988, as R. B. Jones notes --. In 1988
Grice died, in August. In  September (I assume) 1988, Brian Loar was able to
submit the Grice paper on  Aristotle (referred to by Code) to the Pacific
Philosophical  Quarterly.

The reference being

Grice 1988.  Aristotle on the multiplicity of  being.
Pacific Philosophical  Quarterly. 69:175-200.

Indeed, as Code notes, Grice's interest in that  study is many and varied,
but there is a _specific_ section where he develops  the 'izz' and the
'hazz'. Grice was able to add the Code reference in a footnote  -- with words to
the effect: Code has provided some formal definitions in terms  of izz and
hazz in "Aristotle: Essence and Accident".


I know  R. B. Jones is trying to be Aristotelian and rightly so, rather
than Gricean (I  _know_ I don't have a lot of time in my hands as I write this
post, so I'll  summarise). But it strikes me that a _good_ (very good)
reference to deal with  the 'existential fallacy' is indeed Grice's "Vacuous
Names", which he presented  to the Quine festschrift. "Words and Objections" ed.
Davidson and Hintikka --  with a "Reply to Grice" by Quine himself. While
not necessarily focusing on the  existential  fallacy:

All of the books I own are in  French

But I have no books.

--- Strawson 1952 -- quoting "H. P. Grice" for the  account of this oddity
in terms of 'implicature' -- Grice deals with even  perhaps more basic
stuff: the existential 'commitments' of any claim, and not  just 'universal'.

I particularly like that essay by Grice because it is  _very_ formal. Grice
somehow recollected his formalistic years with endearment.  "I stopped
being so formal when, of all people, Hilary Putnam, advised me too".  ('Life and


I think it is _very_ plausible (but  surely hardwork but none of it to be
wasted) to provide a unified account of  Aristotle's
syllogistic-cum-metaphysics, to include, even, the modal inferences.

This to let R. B. Jones have my appreciation for the neat work he has

All best,

J. L. Speranza

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