[hist-analytic] Potching and Cotching

Jlsperanza at aol.com Jlsperanza at aol.com
Wed Jul 15 18:47:55 EDT 2009

Stevenson, that Grice (1948) quotes uses the  scare quotes when he says

a high temperature  'means' fever


"a reduced temperature  'means' convalescence"

(Stevenson, p. 38)

This is a 'scare quote'  use because only _analogically_ (going a rung 
lower in the evolutionary ladder,  to use Grice's metaphor) can we say a reduced 
temperature 'means'. Mind, Grice  would not even ascribe 'mean' to Nim 

Evolutionary biologists  _may_ but a philosopher is a philosopher is a 
philosopher, and there's no way  Ariskant got it right on _that_ front!

'Meaning' [sans double scare  quotes]is a mark of rationality.

Grice here quotes Wittgenstein (tr.  Anscombe) on 'intend' and 'expect'. As 
Danny Frederick recently note: an animal  may intend (display an intention) 
-- but an 'intenSion'?

Grice would not  use 'intenSion' openly _there_ but more guardedly as an 
"M-intention" i.e. a  meaning-constitutive intention:

There is some caution here to avoid  threat of circularity. Grice writes in 
his "Life and Opinions" (which he  previously had labelled, "Prejudices and 
Predilections. Which become life and  opinions"):

"I think I _would_ have good  prospects
of winning the day [about  intensions]
but unfortunately a victory on  this
front would not be enough. For, in a  
succession of increasingly  elaborate
moves designed to thwart a  sequence
of Schifferian counterexamples I have been  
intentions which are to CONSTITUTE
utterrer's  meaning to M-intentions; and
whatever might be the  case in general
with regard to intending,  M-intending
is plainly
to be found in a  language-destitute creature.
So the unavoidable rearguard  actions seem to
have undermined the raison-d'etre of the  campain."            
(Grice, p. 85  in Grandy/Warner, PRIGRCE)

But could a pirot think something izzes  something else?

This note mainly to accommodate (my weekly verb) R. B.  Jones's delightful 
'colourful'. In his pdf on Izzing and Hazzing etc he mentions  Grice's 
"colourful terminology".

For the record let's be reminded once  more that this is Grice's little 
homage to Locke-Russell-Carnap.

I  haven't been able to check the Russell source.

But in Essay Locke speaks  of Prince Maurice's Parrot, "a very intelligent, 
rational parrot" -- but hardly  "a very intelligent rational man"

Grice liked that: 'parrot' and 'man'  were for Grice (and for that matter, 
for me) _functional_ terms with a  vengeance. A 'man' is a compound of 
physical and mental properties. It's not  JUST spatio-temporal continuity Or 
merely mental properties. A parrot with the  mental, but none of the physical 
properties, of a man we would NEVER call a man.  Why?


Russell and Canap, independently from Locke arrived at  the conclusion that

Pirots karuluze  elatically.

Grice, as cited by Chapman,  _Grice_:


H. P. Grice, 'Lecture 1', 'Lectures  on Language and  Reality'
H. P.  Grice Papers, BANC MSS 90/135c, The  Bancroft
Library, University of California, Berkeley.

was always intersted in  'artificial' languages. Here is a sample of what, 
as Chapman amusingly puts it,  Grice's audience is 'treated to' [this is a 
transcription from a  tape]

(and we'll relate it to izzing and hazzing  presently):

"A pirot can be said to potch  of some obble 
x as fang or feng; also  to cotch of x, or 
some obble o, as fang  or feng; or to 
cotch of one obble o and  another obble o' 
as being fid to one  another." 

The code (note the [Alan] "Code" -- although this is a good  one: to think 
that Alan Code is the code for the hazzing and the izzing of  Grice. -- call 
it, "Code for Grice" -- Grice De-Coded.

"A pirot, [as a  good Kantian], inhabit a world of obbles. 
To potch is something like to  perceive and 
to cotch something like to think. Feng and fang are  
possible descriptions, much like our adjectives [and] 
fid is a   possible relation between obbles."

So this may explain why Grice  chose

I(x, y)

as the logical form of izzing  (and H(x, y) as the logical form of hazzing).

For he is interested --  with a view to a teleological, pirotological, 

why would a pirot need the 
'concept' of 'izz'?  

why would a pirot need not
just to potch  that o izz o'.

But also on occasion 
to  cotch it?

Let's be reminded that sense-data won't do for Grice: 'we  ingest, digest, 
ex-gest obbles -- not sense data'. Similarly we _see_ them.  Obbles nourish 
(and also threaten the continued operancy or survival) of pirots  -- flows 
of impressions don't.


So, regardless of what Kant  said of 'existence' NOT being a property, 
izzing _is_ a 'relation' -- is a form  of fidding really 

the pirot potch of one  obble
and of another obble o'
as  being fid to one another.

But does this work?

I don't think  so.

I wouldn't think that "an apple" is in relation to another object  called 
"a fruit" and yet we do say I(x, y) -- in Jones's terminology, "An apple  izz 
a fruit".

One pirot Grice calls a squarrell who goggles nuts.  

Perhaps 'apple izz fruit' is something otiose to say.

But  consider a note that Grice wrote in a sick bag, Chapman tells, on his 
way back  from Oxford,

"read chimp. literature"

---  Now consider the biggest sentence that Nim Chimpsky ever produced:

Give  orange me give eat orange me eat orange give me eat orange give me  

--- Long as it is, it is not as colourful as the some of the OTHER  that 
Nim delivered:

Apple me eat 

Banana Nim eat 

Banana me  eat 

Drink me Nim 

Eat Nim eat 

Eat Nim me 

Eat me  Nim 

Eat me eat 

Finish hug Nim 

Give me eat 

Grape  eat Nim 

Hug me Nim 

Me Nim eat 

Me more eat 

More  eat Nim 

Nut Nim nut 

Play me Nim 

Tickle me Nim  

Tickle me eat 

Yogurt Nim eat 
Banana Nim banana Nim  

Banana eat me Nim 

Banana me Nim me 

Banana me eat banana  

Drink Nim drink Nim 

Drink eat drink eat 

Drink eat me Nim  

Eat Nim eat Nim 

Eat drink eat drink 

Eat grape eat Nim  

Eat me Nim drink 

Grape eat Nim eat 

Grape eat me Nim  

Me Nim eat me 

Me eat drink more 

Me eat me eat 

Me  gum me gum 

Nim eat Nim eat 

Play me Nim play 

Tickle me  Nim play 

--- consider: 

Banana eat me Nim 
Grape eat me Nim  

surely EAT refers to "EDIBLE"
And so we can find that Nim (lab pirots  ARE lazy) finding it successful to 

I (banana,  edible)
I (grape,  edible)

i.e. a banana izz edible and grape izz edible (actually I think  hazz 
edible sounds 'less harsh' to use Berkeley/Locke/Grice's  idiom).


Oddly, I read in _Science_

"Suzanne  Chevalier-Skolnikov descrbed to the conference 
an occasion on which she  watched gorilla Koko persistently
MISPERFORM an action demanded on her.  Finally her
teacher, Penny Patterson, signed to her in exasperation,
'Bad  gorilla'. To which Koko responded with the signs
for 'Funny gorilla,' and  laughed."

implicating,  "Motherese!"

[This  cites actually comes from this essay -- !  --
in _Science_,  "A horse says neigh"

which lead me to Katz, but not the colleague of the  author of LOT2:

Sexual Harassment in the Horse Community
I have been  working with the horse community in the area of sexual 
harassment. Our feeling  is that when a horse says 'Nay,' it's exactly what they 

While Grice seldom seems to have used  'cognition' -- Chapman quotes a list 
where he lists 'cognition' along 'breath  (why?)', ingestion, digestion, 
excretion, repair, reproduction' as 'mandatory  functions -- he _was_ obsessed 
(in the right philosophical sense of the term)  with 'potching', or 

Suppose we 'design' a pirot to look like  ("Some remarks about the senses", 

O       O       i
o     o         ii


It would not do to say that this pirot looks like a have one pair of  eyes 
too many, for if the pirot talks and tells and shows that when he potches  
of an oggle as feng with i and when he potches of an oggle as feng with ii 
there  is 'a world of [experiential] difference' -- we won't.  


J. L. Speranza  

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