[hist-analytic] Rosebushes and Cherry-Trees: Grice's Harborne Revisited
Jlsperanza at aol.com
Jlsperanza at aol.com
Sat Jul 18 10:53:22 EDT 2009
Do _cherry trees_ grow in Harborne? We expect so. I trust the red rose of
England (immortalised in "Merry England" "Dan Cupid hath a garden...").
Suppose we visit Harborne.
"Looking for the birthplace of H. P. Grice"
--- "That hospital over there"
"Hospital?" This was March 26 1913 -- I expect he was born in a house?
(Anyway: Blue placque expected).
Suppose we arrive in the Spring -- rosebushes and cherry-trees in bloom.
Yet, suppose we ask a landscape painter to provide us a 'representation'.
He does, but snow-flakes in evidence -- all lean and 'bleak' as Christina
Rossetti would put it.
What's going wrong?
Well, Grice refers to his once 'tutee' Strawson, "A logician's landscape"
-- which I have rephrased as a _scientist's landscape_.
For consider the sort of objection that D. Frederick raises: "Oh, don't
take me wrong: I think _Individuals_ is not totally useless" or words to that
effect. The sentiment may echo what Grice expresses in "Prejudices and
Predilections" (Grandy/Warner, p. 53):
Russell went over the top, Grice claims, when he speaks of 'stone-age
metaphysics'. 'Stone-age _physics_' [emphasis Grice's] , rather, he suggests,
"if by that we mean a primitive set of HYPOTHESES about how the world goes".
He suggests that EVEN if refuted, 'stone-age physics' may share something
with 'twentieth-century physics' --; he suggests, 'some very general
characterisation of the nature of reality".
And even if we grant Russell with his choice of 'metaphysic': surely the
PRESENTATION of such a metaphysics should turn out to be a perfectly LOGICAL
'enterprise', "though not," he hastens to add, an enterprise in _physical_
science" (again emphasis Grice's). Echoes of Unified Science obvious.
--So back to the landscape painter:
Is the Scientists _bound_ ('condemned') to Minimalism?
"In favour of Minimalism," Grice writes, "we might hear an appeal, echoing
Quine, to the beauty of 'desert landscapes'."
"But such an appeal I would regard as INAPPROPRIATE."
"We are _not_ being asked by a Minimalist to give
our [aesthetic] vote to a special, and no doubt very _fine_,
type of landscape."
"We are being asked to express our preferences
ORDINARY SORT OF LANDSCAPE
[-- as his beloved Harborne. JLS]
"... at a recognisably _lean_ time: to rosebushes and
cherry-trees in mid-winter, rather than in spring or summer.
To change the image somewhat"
[And who said that his prose grew beautifully florid in the best sense of
'rhetoric' with age?]
"... what _bothers_ me about what I am being
offered [to buy] is not that it is _bare_,
but that it has been
SYSTEMATICALLY and RELENTLESSLY
Which is back to Cole Poter, I guess:
-- and Paul _Anything-Goes_ Feyerabend*, but for a longer day:
"If driving fast cars you like
if old hymns you like
if bare limbs you like
or me undressed you like
well then nobody will oppose!"
J. L. Speranza
*Feyerabend grew increasingly agitated when he co-examined students at
Berkeley with Grice: "Last week we spent the whole examination torturing the
student with his intuitions as to what his 'conversational move' to "There
is a rhinoceros in the refrigerator" would be".
**************A Good Credit Score is 700 or Above. See yours in just 2 easy
More information about the hist-analytic