[hist-analytic] Grice, "Disposition and Intention"

Jlsperanza at aol.com Jlsperanza at aol.com
Sun Jul 12 11:11:14 EDT 2009


In a message dated 7/12/2009 9:50:48 A.M. Eastern Daylight Time,  
baynesrb at yahoo.com writes:

>What is the info on Chapman. I'd like to include reference to  the
>quote you made to the effect that Anscombe's intention was
>the  best Gricean idea yet. That would be interesting. Also,
>I'm curious about  Chapman. 

----
 
The reference is
 
Chapman, Siobhan (R.). Grice: philosopher and linguist.
   Houndsmille, Basingstoke, Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan  2005
 
>Also, I'm curious about Chapman
 
She was born c. 1970, I presume in Liverpool. She has interesting work with 
 the Nottingham Journal of Linguistics (I believe). Her PhD (I think with 
the  Department of Linguistics maybe of LIverpool) was on 'Implicature and 
ACCENT --  and dialect", but mainly accent -- which I always found fascinating 
(the topic)  and which I hope she considers in connection with the 
"Scouse". (I first learned  Scouse via "Letter to Brezhnev" -- with Firth. 
Unfortunately Firth does not play  a Scouse there, but a Russian, complete with 
Russian furrin accent -- but I  loved him anyways [sic].
 
Chapman has done 'popular' work (as I call it, i.e. meant to _educate_) on  
philosophy and linguistics. I first heard about her when there was a query 
in  PHILOS-L for a Dictionary of Ideas or Biographies. It was submitted by 
who I  think is Chapman's partner, Chris Routledge. Routledge wrote to me re: 
my  offering to write the entry on Grice, "Thanks but no thanks; Siobhan 
will take  care about that!". The entry is available online, and very 
interesting it is too  -- she cares to mention Grice's mother quite a bit: Mabel 
Fenton. 
 
The book _Grice_ is pretty interesting, and I did review it elsewhere, etc, 
 and am thinking of listing all the unpublications she manages to cite -- 
to  compare vis a vis "The unpublications of H. P. Grice" in Grandy/Warner 
(vis a  vis "The publications of H. P. Grice"). Apaprently the story goes, 
"Okay, Paul  -- we have this long list of things that you 'unpublished'. How 
would we call  them?" "Unpublications, surely".
 
-----
 
>I think Grice did a pretty terrible job in editing WoW. He  
>"cleaned it up." Too much missing; too much edited out;
>not  enough included. Don't get me wrong it is worth having
>and reading but it  has limitations.

Remember that he died of enthysema and dropsy (in1988) and he was suffering 
 quite a bit. The good thing about it is that he did write, under the  
circumstances, in 1987, the "Retrospective Epilogue" that he managed to include. 
 Recall too that the book came out in 1989, while he indeed died in August 
1988.  For the expert Griceans we can only go back to the original versions, 
as you  write. -- He did a bit of cutting out. I think that considering it 
was his first  book, he feared that keeping the things _as originally 
published_ would tire the  readers. Note also that he was under contract with 
Harvard U. P. -- since the  (c) of the William James delivered at Harvard _had_ 
to be published with Harvard  University Press. The two other books 
published "by" Grice (1991, 2001:  Conception of Value and Aspects of Reason) were 
published by Clarendon (like the  festschrift in 1986). 
 
>On dispositions: I think this card has been played too 
>often. I  think the issue of dispositions because it goes
>back to the need to add  operational definitions to 
>extensional accounts of scientific  explanation etc and
>because of its link to the verificationist position  has an
>unchallenged respectability. 
 
Indeed. One marginal note to my section here makes a reference to  Lewis 
and the counterfactuals. And of course serious students of philosophy (of  
science) are well aware of the problems with 'fragile' (Breakable). Recall that 
 Grice was writing in 1949 -- but indeed the problem with dispositional 
analysis  of 'breakable' and C. I. Lewis on the strict implication should have 
been  familiar to him.
 
Bayne:
 
>To be sure "finkish dispostions"
>do raise interesting questions  about the semantics of
>counterfactuals in relation to these "theory  terms" but
>I think concentrating on them as a way of either  formulating
>or solving problems is far overdone.

Right. BUT ONE THING is of VALUE here, though. That while the 'special  
episode' and the behaviourist' account are excluded, there is a good point in  
the dispositional analysis in the EXPLICATURE (or explicit expansion) of a  
statement of intention
 
          "I intend that  p"
 
-- surely no 'ps' or 'qs' need to be minded here ('mind your ps and qs')  
unless we are Georg Von Wright (And I am on Sundays).
 
Suppose "the door is shut"  --- p
 
p is the state to be brought about. 
 
I intend (that) the door BE shut.
 
By some strange metamorphosis (or transformations, if you will) this  
becomes
 
      I INTEND (to) shut the door.
 
(cfr. with meaning, though, "I intend my addressee to believe that ..." --  
the 'other'-intention, as it where, intention that SOMEONE other than 
myself  brings about this or that -- I'm speaking loosely since it SHOULD be 
reduced to  MY intention to do this or that, anyway).
 
So the 'dispositional' account at least helps us understand the logical  
form of 'statements of intentions' as INVOLVING an 'action' as Chapman puts  
it,
 
     "What he lables the 'dispositional' account,  whereby
      the relevant concept is seen as 
 
             A  DISPOSITION TO ACT 
 
     in certain ways in certain hypothetical  situations."
 
(Chapman here uses the example, "I like X" which is a bit of a  trick).
 
And in any case reminds me of my discussions of the theory of "Meaning" as  
causalist. I recall that in "Meaning" Grice dismisses "mean-to' as a case 
of  NATURAL-meaning, or of using 'mean' in the 'natural' "sense". 
 
          I MEAN *to* shut the  door.
 
Indeed, early exegeses of Grice, "Meaning" would focus that the 'mean' we  
are interested here is not the 'mean' ('to be important' -- you mean a lot 
to  me), or the 'mean' = intend. "To mean to open the door". But surely Grice 
saw a  continuum here.
 
Bayne goes on to mention his additions (and thanks for the offer) to  
hist-analytic:
 
> I've already
>made the selection, a book. I think people  will be surprised.
>It's one of H. H. Price's works. Price was superb;  never agreed
>with him on much but he was a terrific philosopher.
 
Indeed. And congrats.
 
Later,
 
J. L. Speranza
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