[hist-analytic] "The Shopping List": Grice on Ascombe

Jlsperanza at aol.com Jlsperanza at aol.com
Mon Jun 22 09:35:13 EDT 2009

In a message dated 6/22/2009 9:17:33 A.M.  Eastern Daylight Time, 
Baynesr at comcast.net writes:
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 would. I don't think I have the passage exactly to hand. But Grice does  
seem to quote Anscombe only tangentially in the first page of his "Intention 
and  Uncertainty" (Proc. of the Brit. Academy, separata issued by the 
Clarendon  Press, 1971).
His example was Anscombe's 'shopping list' -- in Intention (1959), which  
has more to do with 'direction of fit' (Austin's term): 'the shopping list'  
before the shopping has a ARROW-UP direction of fit (let's get fruit salad,  
bread, milk, eggs, etc.). Once the shopping is done, it has ARROW-DOWN 
(let's  check if we got the fruit salad, the bread, the milk, the eggs, etc.) So 
nothing  extraordinarily supercalifragilistiespeallidouceously 
I tend to think that the "Play Group" to which Grice belonged was more into 
 S. N. Hampshire's "Thought and Action" which had appeared two years after  
Grice's own thoughts on action and intention are pretty conservative and  
trace back:
   -- historically, to Prichard -- seeing that J. O. Urmson, a  playgroupy,
      had edited Prichard's basic writings on  'willing' for Clarendon.
   -- non-historically: to discussions with, of all people, (he  mentions) 
(i) James
      Thomson (I have not bee able to find a trace  of what Thomson may say 
      about the philosophy of action -- but Grice  cites him as having 
      in 'joint' work with him in that area in  "Life and Opinions of Paul 
      googlebooks, PGRICE) and (ii) D. F. Pears.  Grice cites Pears at the 
      of Intention and Uncertainty which had  started by citing Anscombe. 
Grice would of course occasionally quote from _Philosophical  
Investigations_ by Witters, as tr. by Anscombe, so that may count as a  
The Oxford years of Anscombe are interesting and I wouldn't know much about 
 it. What I was surprised to see when I was in Oxford was how _separated_ 
from  the whole rest Somerville (College) is, which has given us so many true 
Griceans  like Anita Avramides (via Julie M. Jack) -- the other great 
Gricean female  hailing from Oxford -- Nuffield College has to be Deirdre Susan 
Moir  Wilson.
Oddly, Grice seems to have had more of a contact with Iris Murdoch. I seem  
to remember that the lady contributed to the same volume that Grice 
contributed:  "The nature of metaphysics", ed. by D. F. Pears --. If this was a 
Third  Programme for the BBC, I often wondered if the whole lot had to make it 
to  London (BBC House), or would they just bring the microphones to the Gown?
"Anscombe used the example of a shopping list to illustrate the difference  
(see Intention (1957), par.32). The list can be a straightforward 
observational  report of what is actually bought (thereby acting like a cognitive 
state), or it  can function as a conative state such as a command or desire, 
dictating what the  agent should buy. If the agent fails to buy what is 
listed, we do not say that  the list is untrue or incorrect; we say that the 
mistake is in the action, not  the belief."
J. L. Speranza
**************Make your summer sizzle with fast and easy recipes for the 
grill. (http://food.aol.com/grilling?ncid=emlcntusfood00000004)

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