[hist-analytic] neo-Prichardianism

Jlsperanza at aol.com Jlsperanza at aol.com
Fri Jul 10 21:00:54 EDT 2009

In a message dated 7/7/2009 8:33:25 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time,  
baynesrb at yahoo.com writes:

>I have to reply piece meal since your post covers a lot of  territory.
>I note with interest that Grice does not mention the shopping  list
Actually that's a pity, but yes. No. He does mention "By Professor  
Anscombe" though, in that footnote on p. 8 of (1971) so it is true that Grice  
'seldom quoted Anscombe' (at least once in print!).
>What, specifically, do we have to relate the two in this  case.
>Before you cited something on fitting. I don't have easy access  to
>this right now, but was there a mention of Anscombe by name in  
>any of these papers?

There is a mention to Anscombe in Grice, 1971 -- by name. In connection  
with the 'vivid' example.
But not in connection with 'fit'. I mentioned 'fit' because 'direction of  
fit' as used by Searle and Anscombe was taken directly from Austin, and I  
would assume Grice was familiar with the terminology. I find it interesting 
that  only TWO directions of fit are possible. So, in the case of a 
quessertion, for  example -- what direction of fit?

Surely Grandy is being jocular and he possibly meant, 'assertion' on the  
whole. Yet, not really 'assertion assertion' but more like a 'query' to the  
philosophical audience'. Why should we only "STATE" what we _assert_? 
'Assert'  sounds so STRONG. It does have one direction of fit -- and an emphatic 
one at  that.
In the case of a question, it's more like an order:
   "Have you fed the canary?"

Cannot have direction of fit, like "No, I didn't". So the direction of fit  
is meta-linguistic: I WANT YOU (in the opposite direction of fit than an  
assertion) TO ASSERT TO "Yes, I fed the canary" or "No, I did not feed the  

Of course there are exceptions (about silly Oxford dons -- 'just  teasing' 
cfr. Grice
    "Have you stopped beating your wife?"
(Doing some research I found this was a sophisma with the French:
   "Have you stopped eating iron?"
   "Tu no cessas edere ferrum".
---- Grice wants to say that even in that case, the direction of fit is  
     "No, I haven't stopped beating my wife. I never  started"
     "Yes, I have stopped beating my wife -- and  you?"

>I can't believe that her 1957 book had no influence on Grice, but  
>given the paucity of citations of others in her own work, I don't  count
>this against Grice. 

Right. A lot of the Grice context was lecture -- as Kripke. So you  won't 
expect citations. Grice delivered a more specific paper (still  unpublished) 
which Davidson has quoted extensively. But I do not think Grice would cite  
Anscombe in that lecture either. He is concerned with an elaboration by 
Davidson  on the 'belief-condition upon intention' and indeed (as reported by 
Pears in  "Motivated Irrationality") Grice comes out as rather 'smooth': he 
would say that  the 'implicature-version' (i.e. to think that 'intends' only 
IMPLICATES belief')  is "too social to be true" (Pears's wording). Grice 
suggests rather an  'entailment-view' where, as you note, it's more like a 
'sense' of intention,  rather than a 'use' of the word. -- etc.
>Anscombe is evasive on the subject of meaning in 
>natural  language. By this I mean that she rarely addresses the idea of 
>meaning  directly.

Good. Perhaps Grice should NOT have focused so much on meaning either (I'm  
not on one of my days). Consider that one of the earliest apparitions of 
Grice  in the literature is in a footnote in H. L. A. Hart, "Words and Signs: 
a review  of Holloway, Language and Intelligence" Philosophical Quarterly 
Grice is considering 'mean' in connection with cases brought up by  
Stevenson ("Ethics and Language") -- it's not really 'word' meaning but the uses  
of 'mean' as in 
        Those spots mean measles
--- while indeed Grice's geniality (and few philosophers would be studying  
him otherwise) rests on his having extended a concept of 'meaning' that 
covers  both the 'natural' and the 'non-natural' cases. I tend to think that a 
good push  for the popularity of Grice, "Meaning" was his constant 
references in the  literature meant for undergraduates, like Parkinson, "Theories of 
Meaning"  (Oxford Readings in Philosophy) where Grice's theory is listed as 
a 'causal  theory of meaning' or Alston's Philosophy of Language (Prentice 
Hall Textbooks)  where Grice's theory is dubbed 'ideational' alla Locke.
So I wouldn't think Anscombe (who was much more influenced, first hand by  
Wittgenstein's 'pragmatism') would care much for 'entities' like 'meaning' 
in  the way that one may think Grice was (but he wasn't!).

>If we can get hold of Grices British Academy Lecture I would put it  
<on Hist-Analytic in a heart beat. The British Academy is remarkably  
<generous in allowing others to use the lectures; they are a model and  
<I would not in this regard anticipate any difficulty. So if we can get  
<this I could put it up.  

Will work on that. I have the  quote alright. When I get my hand on my copy 
of the lecture, I'll let you  know.

>'And then Grice writes (all emphasis  mine)
"This  point _may_ be (and *I think* _has_  been
[Footnote 1 -- "1 By Professor  Anscombe"])
put vividly by saying  that
if a  man  fails to fulfil an  intention
we do  not criticise his state of  mind
for  failing to conform to the  facts,
we  criticise the  facts
for  failing to conform to  this
state  of  mind."'

Bayne comments:

>Yes, this is thematic in Anscombe; one finds something like  
>it Prichard. 
Prichard _is_ cited by Grice. And indeed, as you say, there's little in the 
 way of predecessors here and there. But Prichard seems to have been a 
must. As  Aristotle.
Grice goes on to mention even "Stout"! -- 
I would think that the popularity of Prichard here has to be credited to J. 
 O. Urmson, who reprinted Prichard's main papers for OUP -- paperback. His  
"Willing" etc. Obscure little papers. Oddly, philosophers like Harman (in  
PGRICE) who have done very interesting work on the 'history' of  
intentional-theory manage to quote Stout directly and ditto Prichard. 
>By the way, your notation on fitting is fine; I think 
>Searle's  method is elegant but where does one go from there?!

Well, for Austin ("The Meaning of a Word" or rather "How to Talk (Some  
Simple Ways") the collocation is indeed, "Direction of fit', rather than  
'fitting' but I get your point!
I do like Searle's attempt (In "A Taxonomy of Illocutionary Acts", repr. in 
 Meaning and Expression) of dividing everything in terms of the two main  
directions of fit: assertive and boulomaic, if you wish.
Actually I wedded for a while to SCHIFFER's more complex taxonomy in his  
"Meaning" (now Oxford paperback). And in VERY FACT -- I recall -- I was 
always  ENAMOURED by a little footnote in S. Levinson's "Pragmatics" (Cambridge  
Textbooks in Linguistics). He says, "Grice has attempted to reduce all  
illocutionary forces to either 'believing' or 'wanting'". When I read Grice's  
METHOD (in philosophical psychology) I was fascinated that he even explores 
the  way of reducing believing TO wanting!
(Grandy, in The Journal of Philosophy, 1976 -- which I read _BEFORE_ the  
Grice piece, "Method" --, notes that the reduction can go either way, and 
that  it involves a notion of 'modulo'. In fact, he also favours the reduction  
'belief' to 'want' rather than the other way round).
>Or to use Grice's example above (crediting Anscombe) for the   vividness.
>Oh, I see you followed my comments on Zeleny; he is a very  bright 
>fellow, and more importantly, somewhat interesting. When I say  things 
>"a man fails to fulfil his intention"
>There is an  evaluation of his action as accomplishing his end, but
>I don't mean that  he is morally benefited by satisfying his intentions; 
>for example if  they are evil, etc.

I see. Yes, all those things are tricky. And recall that the road to Heaven 
 (or is it Hell?) is paved with ...

>I haven't gone into implicature; this is deserving of extended  treatment, 
>but if I march off in this direction I might never  return.

Exactly. Don't! But since you know so many things, you'll understand my  
point. The Theory of Implicature Strikes Back With A Vengeance here:
For Prichard/Grice/Anscombe (Grice calls his theory  'neo-Prichardian'):

A intends that p  (for surely we don't need to have  'p' as REFERRING to A
                                  one can intend that one's goalkeeper 
keeps most goals)
               i.   A wills that p
               ii.  A  believes that there's p(robability) > 0.5
                             that p.
               iii.   A believes that (i) will cause p?
---- In the case of 'self-intentions' as I call them, I can see the point.  
"I intend to go to London" (I will go to London, I shall go to London, 
etc.) But  "I intend that you go to London"? That sounds otiose! Surely I cannot 
expect  that my willing will have an effect on the intended effect, or can 
In any case, just focusing on the 
           A intends that  p
                 iff A believes that p is feasible with a probability > 0.5
then we have Facione and Pears rising objections. (Facione, "Meaning and  
Intention"). And Davidson thinking -- alla Sinnott-Armstrong -- 'ought'  
conversationally implies 'can' -- that what is at issue is the WEAKER notion of  
It's just OTIOSE to say "I intend that p" if you don't believe p is  
feasible. But it's not an ENTAILMENT concerning truth-conditions.

And then you have Grice getting agitated and replying ('rough handling'  I 
think Davidson called this), "The implicature view is too SOCIAL to be  
Bayne plays with my
   "I intend to buy truffles in the supermarket"
You remark:
>"of  over-rotten French mushrooms, anyways  [sic])."

>Now why am I under the impression that only someone from 
>S.  America would say this. I like this but a DO have to commend the
>French  for making interesting practically everything at which they 
>excel, from  cooking to chemistry; politics to geometry. 
OK. So perhaps it was a joke. I do LOVE trufles.

I think my example may relate to 
   "SOUR GRAPES" studies in irrationality.

I intend to buy truffles.
I do not find them ANYWHERE.
Therefore I form the intention, that I don't LIKE truffles anymore
(I actually I'm a very poor shopper and haven't even looked!)

>In fact I'm 
>thinking about putting up Nicod or Hintikka on  Descartes. He would 
>never object to this and I think I can get all other  rights in order.

Yes. And the best are the Truffles at the Savoy, as Harrison's song  goes.

>Grandy's quessertion? I'm unfamiliar with this. Sounds interesting.  
>I'll recheck WoW for it.

It's the 'quessertives' of the linguists with a vengeance. If we have . for 
 assertoric and ? for questions (and ! for orders) the quessertion, Grice 
notes,  comes complete with its own 
illocutionary force indicating device -- they were making jokes of  
linguists taking philosohers SO Seriously and coining the jargon for them  --:
       ?. (p)
i.e. the combination of '.' and '?'.
>"for the 'boulomaic' operator"
>It's things like "boulomaic  operators" that drove me to Samuel Alexander.

:). Well, but we have to CALL it somehow!
Allwood was good. Think of it, Von Wright coined 'alethic' and Grice loved  
that. I cannot think that the English Language had to wait for a Finnish  
philosopher to coin 'alethic'! (Just teasing).

I actually contacted the OED once, and they say, "Yes, Mr. Speranza;  
'boulomaic' sounds like the right word, and you are right that there is a gap in  
the OED as it stands -- maybe tomorrow. We'll call you back" (or words to 
that  effect).

But what did irritate me is people using 'epistemic' operators when  they 
mean 'doxastic' (for it's belief rather than knowledge they are talking  
about), and so 'boulomaic' does seem to fill a gap.
But we should compile a lexicon one day of the most horrid neologisms ever  
used by philosophers _EVER_ -- starting with Aristotle's 'cateogory'! (just 
J. L. Speranza
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