[hist-analytic] The History of Analytic Philosophy -- of History

Baynesr at comcast.net Baynesr at comcast.net
Mon Jun 22 09:14:44 EDT 2009

Thanks, Speranza. I had no idea I would be putting that book up. 
It occurred to me that a lot of the issues related explaining human 
action "fit" some of the arguments that go back to problems 
related to the covering law model. 

In particular, I happened to notice (or imagine) that Anscombe in 
her work on causation (1971) was addressing issues first raised 
by Russell. Her "singularist" position has as a consequence her 
view that not all causes are necessitating. But here is one interesting 
fact: if one maintains that some are necessitating and others 
are not Armstrong's defense against Anscombe collapses. 
In _A World of States of Affairs_. p. 218, Armstrong grants her 
criticism of Davidson's type of view, although he ignores 
Davidson's attempting to walk a tightrope between singularism 
and regularity. 

I think Roger Bishop Jone's would really find this interesting, 
insofar as it introduces issues connected with analyticity etc. 
in connection with a wider reality than, pure, semantics. 
Armstrong seems to think that there is a necessary 
a posteriori connection, ala Kripke, between causality and 
lawlikeness. I take a radical singularist view, along the 
lines of Ducasse, but with a couple of twists. This make me, 
ultimately, I would imagine a historicist. Egad! 

By the way, I'm going to be mentioning Grice. Do you 
remain firm in your belief that there is little connection, either 
historically or "structurally"? 

I am adding a short chapter on causation in Anscombe. Let 
me share a thought that has guided me somewhat. You 
know, one of those ideas you might not publish but crowds 
your mind at the wrong times. It is this: causality and 
intentionality have a funny relation. If Dretske is right 
(does anyone recall the issue of Minn. Studies where 
he says this?) causation is king. But here's my thought: 
when intentionality is wedded to an event that event 
becomes an action; when causality is wedded to 
an accidental generaliation it becomes lawlike. The 
proper comparison is between intentionality and 
causation, compare the agent case. Armstrong and 
others tie the difference between an accidental generalization 
and lawlikeness to the semantics of counterfactuals; then, 
the muck around looking for a semantics and get lost, 
if I am right in other worlds. They, then, have the problem 
of linking causality and lawlikeness. Now there are two 
moves; one between accident and law, and the other 
between causation and law. One jump is, I think, all we 
need; or at least, at this stage, this is all I think we need. 

I have learned more about human action by looking at 
historical explanation that looking at psychology. The 
reason vs. cause debate flourishes in the fructifying 
warmth of singularity vs. regularity. I will end this morning 
ramble with this: I find no justification for the feeling of 
compulsion the regularity theorists have in somewhat 
linking causation to a law. If you have one you don't, really, 
need the other. Within a couple of weeks I have to resolve 
this to my own satisfaction. 

Popper Poverty of Historicism is a work I've had trouble 
accepting, but it has driven me much deeper into the 
very nominalism I formerly eschewed. 

----- Original Message ----- 
From: Jlsperanza at aol.com 
To: hist-analytic at simplelists.co.uk 
Sent: Monday, June 15, 2009 10:28:11 AM GMT -08:00 US/Canada Pacific 
Subject: The History of Analytic Philosophy -- of History 

Fascinating to have Dray's book available for us in hist-analytic. 
Congratulations to Dray and Bayne. 


>From the list to PHILOS-L and PHILOSOP-L I see the content of the book, 
chapter by chapter: 

In a message dated 6/14/2009 12:23:14 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time, 
baynesrb at YAHOO.COM writes: 
Laws and Explanation in History 
The Covering Law Model 
The Doctrine of Implicit Law 
Explaining and Prediction 
Causal Laws and Causal Analysis 
The Rationale of Actions 
Explaining Why and Explaining How 


I'm fascinated by Dray's CV -- which I see in his site: MA and DPhil Oxon! 


I'm also cutting and pasting the biblio he cites in his page for easy 
reference here: 

History as Re-enactment: Collingwood's Philosophy of History, Clarendon 
Philosophy of History, Englewood Cliffs 
On History and Philosophers of History. Brill. 
Perspectives on History. Routledge 
"Broadening the Historian's Subject-Matter in the Principles of History", 
in Collingwood Studies, vol. 4 
"Causes, individuals and Ideas in Christopher Hill's Interpretation of the 
English Revolution" in Court, Country, and Culture: Essays on Early Modern 
British History. University of Rochester Press, 
"Historicity, Historicism, and Self-Making", in Fackenheim. University of 
Rochester Press, "Von Wright on Explanation in History", in The Philosophy 
of G. H. Von Wright (ed. P.A. Schilpp and L. E. Hahn), La Salle, III.-- 


As S. Bayne notes in his letter to PHILOS-L and PHILOSOP-L 'philosophy of 
history' CAN'T be any longer neglected! 

I was happy to have a good tutor in the area: Daniel Brauer. We did a good 
work on various things. He was a Hintikkian, from what I recall, since he 
tortured us with "Explanation and Understanding". I find Hintikka's prose 
flowing in the vernacular (Finnish) but not so much in other lingo's (sic). 

Brauer has a PhD from Germany and was aggressive with the Brits. We did 
Gibbons, "Decline and Fall" -- I recall I used the J. L. Borges's edition -- 
just to prove how confused Gibbons was about the causes -- and so it is nice 
to see that Dray has considered the "English Revolution", too. I love 
Sellars and Yeatman, on things or people being good or bad as 'causes' of this 
or that. 

Brauer eventually heard me talk of Danto -- but I don't think he was 

We didn't pay much attention to the law-covering thing, but some to 
"Cleopatra's Nose" and the impredictability of history. 

On top of that, I think Brauer was 'eschatological' at heart, so we did a 
bit of St. Augustine! 

As an Argentine, I also had to endure a course on "History of Philosophical 
Ideas in Argentina". Fortunately, there is only one: "Revolution!". So I 
did (under Oscar Moran) a study of the Causes and Consequences of the 
Argentine Revolution. 

I grasped that the cause was a man (dutily poisoned afterwards) called 
"Mariano Moreno". He had the cheek to translate Rousseau's "Social Contract" 
into the vernacular, and publish it too! 


I see the latter chapters of Dray's book sound like Winch -- the very idea 
of a social science. Historians sometimes forget that! 

Laws and Explanation in History 
The Covering Law Model 

--- what R. B. Jones would call "Barbara". Just joking. 
I could never understand this model. But then I never 
understood why this raven needs to be black 
because every raven is black. I like the word 
'nomological' but don't use it _every day_. 

The Doctrine of Implicit Law 

--- This is good -- how emplicit. This reminds me of 

(Jack has broken his crown) 
Jill: "You'll survive, Jack. You are an Englishman; 
therefore you'll be brave." 

Apparently Jill is reassuring Jack on account of an 
implicit premise, which Grice fails to make explicit 
-- in "Aspects of Reason". "With implicit things, 
which some call 'subterranean' it's very difficult 
to see what people mean." 

Explaining and Prediction 

This is so good. Wasn't there this book, 
"Historical Impredictability". So I guess where 
Dray is going to! 

Hintikka would say that 'predict' applies to 
'statitive' (?) illocutionary forces: 

"I will go to London" is a prediction. 

"I shall go to London" is not -- it's a 
future-intentional, not future indicative. 

Or the other way round, I forget. Depends 
if it's first person or second person. 
I suppose in history it should be the 
third person: 

The Canadian Prime Minister shall do it. 
The Canadian Prime Minister will do it. 

For all I know, what is safe to say is that 
as things are, the Canadian Prime 
minister (the current one) will die. 
The rest is a nebulosa of intentional agencies 
that escapes me. 

This is different from saying, ex post facto, 
which is the only thing Brauer allowed, that 
we cannot explain (for we _can_) the 
actions of the Prime Minister, in terms of 
his intentions, you know. 

Causal Laws and Causal Analysis 

This is good. Sellars and Yeatman use 
'cause' a lot. 
"The cause of the war with the Zulus: 
the Zulus. 
The Consequence: the extermination 
of the Zulus.: 

The Rationale of Actions 

This is good. At one stage of my 
philosophical I grew so otiose that I 
introduced, alla Grice, izz and hazz, 
the word, 

reassssson versus reason 

or reaZon versus reaSon 

Reason is any old reason. But 
a reaZon is a reason which has been 
'effectual' (as opposed to ineffectual). 

My reaZon for going to Ascot 
is to be seen, not to see (the horses). 

When we appeal to a reason 
which is not a reaZon we call it 
(or rather Anna Freud called it) 
'rationalization', which is just 
'reaZon' sounding German. 

"Rationale" sounds like 

Explaining Why and Explaining How 

This is excellent as it relates to that song, 
"I don't know why I love you like I do. 
(I just do)" 

It seems to me that 'explaining-that' 
can be redundant. 

"He explained to me that the house 
was rat-infested" (to use Strawson's 
example contra Grice). 

i He explained to me why the house 
was rat-infested (the previous owner 
as hardly hygienic, there's a sewer 
next to it, and the cat died) 

He explained to me how the house 
was cat-infested. 

i.e. alla von Wright: 

he explained to me how it came to 
pass that the house, due to the 
_reasons_ and causes mentioned in (i) 
became rat-infested. 

------ I was reading the other day Grice on 

"the bridge collapsed -- because it was made of cellophane". 

He says something terrifically funny, I find: "Surely to say that the fact 
that it was made of cellophane was a _bad_ reason why the bridge collapsed 
is _terrible_." 


JL Speranza (Mr, etc. etc, Esq., etc. etc.) 
Bordighera, Imperia (etc. etc. etc. etc.) 

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