[hist-analytic] Intending, Choosing, and Deciding

steve bayne baynesrb at yahoo.com
Sun Jul 12 09:16:08 EDT 2009


JlS,

Having trouble keeping up with your posts. I read every word of all
of them on Hist-Analytic. This book is going to press soon, so I've 
got to get the citations and credits down exactly right. So I'll go back
and collect your contributions to the Grice/Anscombe discussion.
This has to be done soon. But I thought I'd enter one comment here.

You mention Grice on "trying"; this is a very interesting verb. In fact,
in fact in my book I argue that it is one of an entire class of mental
verbs of a very special sort. Suppose I'm doing my morning "thing"
feeding my two birds. I've reached over the same shelf to get the
"avi-cakes" for years. One day, I reach and, and suddenly, my
arm freezes up (or gets thrown out of the sockets, whateva). I let
go with a brief "yipe" and someone comes in and ask: "What 
happened?" I reply "I was trying to get the avi-cakes and my arm
came out of its socket." Here is what to notice: Had someone
come in as I was reaching, just before the arm came out of its
socket, and asked: "What are you doing?" I would NOT have
said "I'm trying to get the avi-cakes. 

It is only if I FAIL that I say "I was trying..." Now this has been
noticed with respect to individual verbs but no one has noticed
that this is a class, It is a condition of use that I am thwarted
or that there is a special circumstance. Ryle's use of 'voluntary'
is like this; but the same sort of thing is, I suspect, in play
in the cse of Grice's 'look's' and, here I'm alluding to his
doubt or denial condition. This can be extended to "My intention
was..." Notice, also, the tense connnection. 

Regards

Steve

--- On Sat, 7/11/09, Jlsperanza at aol.com <Jlsperanza at aol.com> wrote:

From: Jlsperanza at aol.com <Jlsperanza at aol.com>
Subject: Intending, Choosing, and Deciding
To: hist-analytic at simplelists.co.uk
Date: Saturday, July 11, 2009, 11:05 AM

-- the Grice/Pears Collaborations

Grice/Thomson,  Grice/Pears

A brief historical note. When Grice recalls his philosophical  
collaborations in "Reply to Richards" ('Life and Opinions of Paul Grice') he  first and 
foremost cites Strawson -- where the actual collaboration is  _visible_: "In 
defense of a dogma". He goes on to mention collaboration with  Judy Baker 
in 'ethics': (again visible: "Davidson on weakness of the will" -- in  
Vermazen/Hintikka) and a few interesting less known  pairs:

Grice/Warnock  work on philosophy of perception. Warnock, b.  1923.
Indeed, this fascinated Grice and Warnock, things like 'visa',  etc.

Grice/Staal -- work on logic

and here's the interesting (to  me) quote vis a vis the history of the 
philosophy of action:

"work in the  philosophy of action" 

Grice/Thompson (which I have been so far unable to  locate -- this is J. F. 
Thompson,  
of Christ  Church, Oxford, and later of MIT -- husband to Judith Jarvis)

Grice/Pears  --
This motivated me to look for and find Pears, Problems  in the philosophy
of mind, London:  Duckworth.
--- 

It is in connection with Pears --  that the 'deliberation and grammar' 
thing may interact. Unlike 'intending',  Pears, (and Grice/Pears) was interested 
in  

"deciding"

which I find it's like 'deliberating' with a  vengeance.

In the "Unpubications" of Grice, Grandy/Warner cite lectures  on "Trying" 
given by Grice at Princeton which I always thought had the right  title to 
them. Harman should have attended them. That was early  1960s.

---

Pears is credited in "Intention and Uncertainty" by  Grice (very last 
page), and inded Pears went on to lecture at the British  Academy (or was it 
before that) on "Deciding".

Pears has written  extensively on "Intention and Belief" and other 
paradoxes of 'irrationality',  and I can't read Pears without thinking Grice! (to 
the Mill).

And I'm NOT  very familiar with the Hampshire/Hart CERTAINTY theory of 
decision that Grice is  apparently trying to 'water-down'.

The Grice/Pears discussions fall within the context of Austin, "Ifs and  
Cans" and similar work undertaken by people like Nowell-Smith on 'choosing'.  

Seeing that deliberate is cognate with libra, scale, I think that  
Nowell-Smith was possibly right when he says that 'choice' pre-dates decision  (if 
not intention). All very tricky! -- but fascinating.
 
And I'm glad Bayne is using 'philosophical psychology' in the subtitle to  
his book. This is the phrase preferred by Grice too. Why he found 
'philosophy of  mind' too pompous we can only guess (and rightly!). -- All I know is 
that if you  say, 'philosophical psychology' to _STICH_ he feels offended but 
that's _his_  problem! :) (He says 'psychology' can only be EMPIRICAL -- 
cfr. 'philosophical  linguistics' -- but he's at Rutgers, right? :-))
 
Cheers,

J. L. Speranza
 
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