[hist-analytic] Pirotologica

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


Grice:

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 
noted:

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

----

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.

Cheers,

J. L. Speranza

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