[hist-analytic] Pirotologica

Jlsperanza at aol.com Jlsperanza at aol.com
Thu Jun 11 10:29:46 EDT 2009


Against Ichthyological  Necessity

I note that in my "Davidson's Hume", I misspelled  'ichthyological', so I 
provide this post as correction.

I find Grice's  commentary _very_ funny and serious at the same time.

He writes in  "Aspects of Reason" about

it is necessary  that p

and the different 'adverbials':

it is morally  necessary
it is legally necessary
it is epistemically necessary
it is  ontologically necessary

etc. etc. He is fighting against _all_ that: do  not multiply necessities 
beyond, er, necessities (what he calls the _equi_-vocal  theory of 
'necessity' to bridge the is/ought gap).

And he brings in  _fish_ for good measure.

While he loved a gradual series alla Aristotle  (vide "Method in 
philosophical psychology") he seems to have agreed with  Guenther who as early as 1880 

"The commencement  of the history of Ichthyology coincides with that of 
Zoology  generally."


What Grice  writes needs to be paraphrased, a bit -- it's in Aspects of 
Reason, and the  collocation 'ichthyological necessity' is I think used in 
scare  quotes.

One would expect, Grice is saying, that there are special 'laws'  or 
generalities, which apply _peculiarly_ to _fish_.

But, even if this  _be_ a fact (I haven't checked with all fishermen) 
that's different from saying  that it would give one (one philosopher, even) a 
special type or kind of  'necessity', to wit: "ichthyological necessity".

It would seem as, almost  surely, any theory (cfr. 'pirotology') which 
desires to create an adverbial  (alla 'morally', 'legally', 'epistemically', 
'ontologically') to modify  'necessary' HAS TO PROVIDE for a specific type of 
GENERALITY -- that ichthyology  fails to do.


J. L. Speranza

**************Download the AOL Classifieds Toolbar for local deals at your 

More information about the hist-analytic mailing list