[hist-analytic] "Professional Philosopher and Amateur Cricketer"

Jlsperanza at aol.com Jlsperanza at aol.com
Wed Jul 15 08:23:53 EDT 2009


The Play Group
 
Anscombe ctd by Grice, Proc.Brit.Ac. 1971 (263-279.) p. 268
 
It's "Intention and uncertainty" as per header, and the quote  going:

He is discussing _something_ like direction of fit and Aristotle's  two 
typs of things, and writes:

"The point may be (and I think has been  (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 his  states of mind"

In a message dated 7/15/2009 7:25:08 A.M. Eastern Daylight Time,  
baynesrb at yahoo.com writes:
Let me ask you this: that one quote from Grice  mentioning
Anscombe. Could you provide the full reference once more?
 
----as per above, then.
 
---Very interesting comments you made on Anscombe.

The photo, which I did see too and loved, is by S. Pyke. There is an  
interview by this Leicester-born (non-philosophically-educated but brilliant)  
man in an issue of
The Philosopher's Magazine, online). 
 
You are right as to what that photo casts: the love for each other.
 
I tend to think that Geach (after Urmson) is perhaps the greatest
living philosopher. I write that as someone who has always valued
the Oxford temperament, and perhaps Geach did not have it!
 
----
 
I do think the
 
   yes
   no
   overage
 
---- did not cite Ayer, as you rightly note --
 
because I think Grice (and this was sort of public since Chapman did find  
it in
this folder -- there are 14 Big CARTONS deposited in the Library at  
Berkeley 
which someone should provide a catalogue raisone once and for all --  why
does not the Philo Dept at Berkeley engage ONE?)
 
is considering the origin of the 'second play group' as I call it.
 
The first play group Grice did not participate -- because, he says he came  
'from the wrong
side of the tracks'. This was the pre-war (1930s) play group that Austin  
formed with
indeed Ayer (when they were friends), Hampshire, Berlin, and a few  others.
 
---- AFTER THE WAR, the second play group started.

Chapman writes: "Grice was there from the start".

But the 'leader' was indeed Austin -- it was a 'by invitation' thing  only 
restricted
to full-time tutors and held on Saturdays NOT on published thing (they  
never
discussed Grice's "Meaning" for example -- Austin dismissed established  
views
made 'public' and frozen for good) and meant as a 'game' rather: mainly  to
botanise linguistically.
 
My best understanding of the group's activities came from reading, of all  
things,
the obit on Ryle by G. E. L. Owen in the Proc. Arist. Soc. (a volume that I 
 found
at the Buenos Aires Association of English Culture, of all places!).  Owens
writes to honour Ryle, and notes that the icon-status that people endowed  
to
both Ryle AND Austin was misguided.
 
"And in any case, people followed Austin MORE BLINDLY than 
they did Ryle" (I think he says).
 
The point is that Ryle had his own group which included
Mabbott (a Scots philosopher and like Grice also fellow of St.  John's)
and a few others --. Surely the other 'overage' that Grice mentioned:
Hardie -- who had been Grice's tutor and whom he loved; and I add
following Owen, Cox. (J. Roxbee Cox is a VERY interesting figure
and while not being a part of the "Play Group" but the Ryle Group
rather, he wrote very much alla Grice: I recall his publications on
perception -- indeed citing Grice extensively).
 
The 'overage' was something that Quine detected, and it 
was like an unwritten thing. Austin had been born in 1911, and
obviously, as a leader he did not want anything older than him.
 
(*I* would feel very embarrassed if I had to _lead_ someone
older than me -- in philosophy or anything).
 
Grice once sort of suggested to Austin (the man was very distant),
But do you _have_ to lead?
 
The reply by Austin, the Chapman quotes is,
 
"OK -- they may not want me to lead this"
 
"If they don't want [I add 'need' in my marginal note. JLS]
to follow me, whom DO they want to follow?"
 
--- exactly. 
 
The constitution of that playgroup exerted me for a while, so by the 'no',  
Grice may
be just saying that, as a matter of fact, Anscombe -- as we suppose  anway
she would not -- did not attend the (second) playgroup meetings.
 
Murdoch we would assume she would not either, hence the 'no'.
 
Dummett I don't think would be interested at all -- hence the 'no'. I think 
 the early
Dummett was into very technical 'intuitionist' stuff -- and would gather  
rather
with people like E. J. Lemmon, or others.
 
So -- the Playgroup itself -- and its members (on which I may expand on  
another post)
would be: alphabetically
 
AUSTIN
GRICE
HAMPSHIRE
HARE
HART
NOWELL-SMITH (cited by Grice as indeed belonging)
PAUL
PEARS
STRAWSON
THOMSON
URMSON
WARNOCK 

-- Oscar P. Wood (who wrote on "Linguistic Rules") I would place with  the 
Ryle Group.
 
There may be others, but it wasn't anything systematic.
 
It was also cross-generational because, for example, Strawson was  
originally Grice's tutee.
 
What I enjoyed about the Owens article is that he writes, "Austin dead,  
Grice led the group" -- but apparently the 1960s and an Austin-less group did  
not have the same potency.
 
When he established in Berkeley Grice tried to maintain this conviviality  
-- but it wasn't really the same with sort of 'mandatory' meetings, as it 
were,  with colleagues and STUDENTS -- at his own home up in the hills. They 
met once a  week for a seminar ON CAMPUS but they were expected to meet in 
the more relaxed  atmosphere of Grice's home.
 
---
 
Family life was perhaps very important to Anscombe too, seeing that the  
love she had for God and Peter also 'materialised' in the Geaches (children). 
 
--- And then she was usually more engaged with Cambridge -- so that her  
involvement with the Oxford 'social' life must have been tangential to  her.
 
She looks like a VERY confident philosopher. I like the photo in the wiki  
entry. The portrait of the Geaches by Pyke is more on the 'artsy' variety -- 
and  I find it a bit empty. Couldn't he place a few books in the 
background, as the  other photo of Anscombe in the wiki has: it makes it all more cosy.
 
(I wonder if philosphers got paid to have their portraits taken -- it does  
seem a bit intrusive -- and I'm sure they did get paid. Hart has a 
delightful  anecdote on this, since Pyke, the photographer, asked the philosophers 
to expand  on the meaning of philosophy for 50 words, and he'd publish the 
things in the  CATALOGUE. And he did. The Hart entry (perhaps not meant-nn to 
be published)  runs:
 
       "Honest, I think your idea of 
        having philosophers explain 
        their discipline in 50 words  is
        ridiculous. You should drop  it."
 
---
Ayer was here and there. His OXFORD OXFORD OXFORD days were in fact  
pre-grad, or under-grad, as they say -- even before Grice's time -- with Ryle as  
tutor. Then he spent his time in Vienna and CAME BACK and was operative in  
Austin's first play group. 
 
After the war he was involved in London -- he was appointed Grote prof. in  
London -- and so I would think he was not seen in Oxford all that often. It 
was  much later that he was appointed the Wkyeham prof. of logic -- which 
provoked  that famous commentary to the boxer on courting this model, "You 
may be a famous  American boxer; but I am the former Wykeham prof. of Logic".
 
-- I did quite some research into the Oxford of his days -- and there are  
ZILLIONS (almost) of philosophers who felt Grice's influence: Unger, for  
example, was Grice's student (Unger had his D. Phil) -- Schiffer, Searle, etc. 
 were more under the supervision of Strawson, but would mix with Grice, 
too. 
 
Then there's the non-Rhode Scholars group -- it seems all the American  
Griceans were Rhode Scholars: Gareth Evans cites Grice, McDowell, McGinn 
(though  he notes Grice had already gone when he arrived in Oxford, "Memoirs of a  
philosopher), P. Snowdon, etc.
 
There were the early critics too: L. Jonathan Cohen being one of them, but  
writing only after Grice had left, I would think.
 
--- I have elsewhere made long (well, ...) lists of cross-references and  
(primary and) secondary bibliography like that -- which I should revise  
_someday_. :-).
 
Of course the Play Group should not be given more importance than it did.  
It should be turned into a 'cult', etc. But the good thing about it, is that 
it  may focus one's reading -- for example, if you concentrate on the  
first-bibliography they produced. Surely a historic interest.
And it's interesting to collect Grice quotes in the specific written  
histories of English philosophy:
 
  -- Warnock, English Philosophy (I would have to recheck if this has  
Grice --
           I don't think  so)
 
but 
 
      PASSMORE (which is really a history of  philosophy not just 'English' 
or Oxford)
               "A hundred years of philosophy"
      has this footnote on Grice as being this  tutor who published so 
little, etc. 
 
Memoirs like
 
        MABBOTT, "Oxford  memories".
 
is also interesting in mentioning and expanding on Grice's influence on  
Strawson.
 
--- I think Hacker/Baker also have expanded in recent (by Hacker)  
historical work on the 'significance' of Grice's work in the 'philosophical  
network' of Oxford philosophy of his day.
 
It should be pointed out that it's a by-gone era in some respects, where  
meetings at the Philosophy Society at Oxford were the _place_ to have your 
views  shared _at most_. And where 'teaching duties' and 'lecture duties' were 
really  _primary_ (professionally speaking). They seem to take the TUTORIAL 
system  pretty seriously up there, and honest, to be a tutor for an 
undergraduate seems  like exhausting job already --.

Chapman does note that the 'teaching load' Grice received on his first  
appointment with St. John's college -- with which he was for 30 years -- was 
not  minimal, and later he was 'promoted' to 'university lecturer' too, which  
entailed other responsibilities, like the (mainly joint) seminars with 
Warnock,  Pears, Strawson et al.

I find the idea of a joint seminar delightful from what Chapman  retells. I 
have attended a few though, and it's never as it is painted! Students  seem 
to feel 'out of touch' with them, and _I_ would in a Grice & Co.  seminar 
-- where the student is meant to be a member of the audience, rather! 

When in Berkeley he became more Socratic and there are tapes which  Chapman 
notes display him as being very much into the efforts that 'bringing  out' 
(maieutically) something out of a student entails. 
 
And then there was cricket, bridge, or the piano -- "He was always doing  
something" (Mrs. Grice tells Chapman).
 
Indeed, the curious "Professional philosopher and amateur cricketer" was  
the title of Grice's obit in The Times -- which I find amusing in that it 
plays  on what counts as 'professional' in CRICKET! Surely 'professional' as 
applied to  'philosopher' is thought-provoking (I love that phrase), and it's 
'professional  cricketer' that the conjoined noun clauses are meant to 
evoke. (Imagine the  inverse -- 
 
      obit of Yogi Berra: professional batsman and  amateur philosopher
 
Cheers,

J. L. Speranza
   
 
 
 
 
 
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