[hist-analytic] Philosophical Grounds of Rationality: Intentions, Categories, Ends

Jlsperanza at aol.com Jlsperanza at aol.com
Fri Jul 10 20:25:04 EDT 2009

Grice on Anscombe
Then, yes, we can say that Grice did quote "Anscombe" by name in (1971), p. 
 8, footnote 1.

So it makes more than little sense to make a few "Gricean points".
Bayne is very right in bringing to some sort of fore the work of Sir Stuart 
 N. Hampshire.
His "Thought and Action" is a masterpiece -- and he has explored more  
issues in his "Freedom of Mind" and other essays --. Hampshire indeed of course  
hails from the best of the Oxford tradition. He gathered with Austin, 
Berlin,  and others in the 'early beginnings of Oxford philosophy' (the meetings 
at All  Souls College on Thursdays -- Grice would not attend these because, 
as S. R.  Chapman notes, he was 'born on the wrong side of the tracks'. Of 
course he  wasn't!). After the Second World War, Hampshire would occasionally 
attend the  Saturday Mornings -- and indeed Grice lists him as a member of 
the 'Play Group'  -- but I fear his "Thought and Action" had separated them 
from the English  'futilitarians' as Grice called himself and his friends 
(alla Bergman).
Grice did cite Anscombe then in the footnote 1 on p. 8 of "Intention and  
Uncertainty" (for the record). 
Bayne is very correct in noting in Grice -- and the previous  generation, 
like Ryle -- a focus on 'logical constructions'. This is best  seen in 
Grice's very early "Personal Identity". He is not going to be  concerned with 'the 
self' (and cfr. Anscombe on "The First Person!") but on  statements 
including "I" (or 'this person'). E.g. "This person was hit by a bat"  (his mind? 
His body? both?) 

In her "Grice" (Chapman, Macmillan -- and I'll see if I can paraphrase her  
in another post, as I have the book with me right now), Chapman notes that  
'intention' was perhaps the Basic Gricean Idea Ever. I recall my joy when  
reading Suppes's contribution to PGRICE (ed. Grandy/Warner) when I saw 
Suppes  taking up some criticism by Biro and calling Grice an 'intentionalist' 
rather  than a 'behaviourist'!

Now, as for the intention vs. intenSion, Grice notably refers to  
'intentions' in WoW, googlebooks, ch. 6, closing section. He has just introduced  his 
LOOONG definition of 'utterer's meaning' (or rather, as S. Bayne would  
prefer, and I too) a 'statement' of the form:
      By uttering x, U meant-nn that p iff U  intended that there exists 
some addressee A, such that
                              and intends that there is no inference 
element such that the Addressee believes  that...
This was WJ-40, as L. Horn quotes it, i.e. more than 40 years ago in the  
WJames Lectures, so Grice NEEDED to provide a caveat for his extenstionalist  
audience (which included Quine):

"Please do not despair over my use of quantifiers in  INTENSIONAL
    contexts [Quantifying In. JLS]. There's nothing we can  do about 
    it. Meaning is per se an INTENSIONAL Notion. So you love  it or
    leave it" (Words to that effect, of course).
He (a year or so later) in "Vacuous Names" provides an intensional  
treatment of 'propositional attitudes' which he regards as dealing with  questions 
of scope.
He uses 'want-1' and 'want-2'. The idea (later rephrased in what he calls  
square-bracket device for the assignment of common-ground status) is
         :I am looking for (WANT TO  MEET, or plain 'want') [that there 
exists] an honest man"
I.e. "an honest man" we want.
Surely this is 'ambiguous' not in the 'semantic' sense but the scope  
syntactic sense:
     we want that there is a honest man (?)
     there is a honest man and we want him.
                  (QUANTIFYING OUT).
---- I should get back to this later. Just to reconsider the problems of  
INTENSIONAL contexts that obsessed Grice in a good way -- recall also his  
attitude towards or against Extensionalism in "Reply to Richards", where  
Extensionalism is regarded as a bete-noire, and which I have discussed here with 
 R. B. Jones in "Criteria of Intensionality". In that post I mentioned J. 
O.  Urmson, whose essay by that title I find of great help. (Proc. Arist.  
Bayne is very correct in identifying Anscombe within the linguistic turn  
(as Bergman called it, indeed) -- along with Wittgenstein, Ryle, and Grice. 
The focus was 'linguistic' or in terms of 'logical constructions' (in  
Grice): they were into the 'logical grammar' of things -- not substances per se. 
 It was, if you will, and in my view, Empiricism with a Twist. For surely 
there  has to be progress in philosophy. And, as Grice says, if philosophy 
generated no  new problems it would be dead! -- What Grice and Anscombe did 
was to  re-emphasise the linguistic interface, as it were. The mechanisms by 
which  sensible talk on this or that can be brought to the fore.
In Grice's case, it was his attempt to minimise the 'bombshells' of the  
Logical Positivism brought by Ayer after his soujourn in Vienna. They (Grice 
and  perhaps Anscombe) had no agenda like Ayer had -- and could deal with the 
 'linguistic idiosyncrasies' of our talk over this and that over a cup of 
tea or  something. I cherish Warnock's remembering of Grice's uttering, "How 
_clever_  language is!" (for, Warnock says, 'language makes the right 
distinctions just  where we need them' -- from memory in "Saturday Mornings"). 
And I'm very pleased that Grice's name was "P. Grice" so that the  
festchrift could go:
   P.            philosophical
   G.            grounds of
   R.            rationality:
    I.            intentions,
   C.           categories,
   E.           ends.
--- For it's the "I" of GrIce we's [sic] talking here!
I'll try an acronym for Anscombe


Grounds of Existential Meaning: Analysis, Necessity, Sophisms, and Concepts 
 -- Or, Morality, Beauty and Eudaimonia (?). Sorry, not too inspired  
JL Speranza
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