[hist-analytic] A Scientist's Landscape
Baynesr at comcast.net
Baynesr at comcast.net
Wed Jul 22 07:28:27 EDT 2009
Primary source reading is time consuming. It takes a very
long time to achieve familiarity with the literature. However,
there are some good shortcuts. I think I mentioned
Kneale and Kneale's _Development of Logic_.
It comes in for some criticism, but the first third on
Logic before Boole is, really, very worthwhile and is a lot
more interesting than wading through the _Posterior
(or Prior) Analytics_. I highly recommend it.
The notion of substance is something one must, I think,
be captivated by in order to understand. Historical
questions abound. Sellars, one of those philosophers
you learn from rather just struggle with, is a good illustration
of what good can come out of understanding the historical
issues, such as those related to Kant. H. H. Price was
It may be the case that all philosophy is is a conflation
of "pseudo-problems," but I think this is the easy way
out. All you have to do is develop some criterion for
being a "pseudo-problem," e.g. verifiability, etc and then
you can just apply your mechanical pseudo-problem
solver and all is well. I know of no "pseudo-problem
detector" that doesn't rely on a linguistic approach to
traditional problems. I, myself, make serious use of
linguistic techniques for trying to solve a problem, but
rarely if ever (a few exceptions) consider linguistic
solutions. Rather it is a methodology in attempting to
On meaning: I think Grice actually allows us to set this
notion aside for the most part and pursue philosophy.
Let's not confuse logic and language. Logic supplies
a good tool. But if you look at the history of philosophy
of science you find instances where a preoccupation
with meaning has had a stultifying effect. A good
example in my opinion is the issue of causation.
Here the notion of a law becomes a linguistic notion.
This leads to the appearance of progress, then
falters; there being no where to go. You solve
the problems with a linguistic or logical "gizmo"
without even understanding what is at issue, once
that is the "pseudo-problem" detector buzzes.
One finds the brown spot on the apple without
ever tasting an apple. The only way to know if the
apple is good is to taste it; the brown spot may
be part of the natural color. Philosophers sometimes
feel compelled to solve the problems of philosophy
in a single life time. A physicist would never think
this way. Pseudo-problem methodology is the
attempt at a shortcut. Won't work.
----- Original Message -----
From: "Roger Bishop Jones" <rbj at rbjones.com>
To: Baynesr at comcast.net
Cc: "hist-analytic" <hist-analytic at simplelists.co.uk>
Sent: Tuesday, July 21, 2009 2:45:36 AM GMT -08:00 US/Canada Pacific
Subject: Re: A Scientist's Landscape
Interesting to see Steve mention so many different notions
of substance in Aristotle.
My own Aristotelian efforts are greatly handicapped at
present by my having read so little of the primary sources,
a problem which I hope in due course to remedy.
(one might say something similar of my knowledge of any
philosopher at all! how absurd that I am contemplating
a history, even if only of aspects of philosophical logic)
On Saturday 18 July 2009 12:27:04 Baynesr at comcast.net wrote:
>When philosphers speak of a problem as a "pseudo-problem"
>I'm inclined to run as fast from him as I do from people who say
>God speaks to them!
Ah, but surely the problem of pseudo-problems is real!
I looked back to see what I said on pseudo-problems in
my comparison of Metaphysical Positivism and Logical Positivism.
Though I do talk about pseudo-problems there, because I
am making a comparison with Carnap, I'm not much inclined
to engage in a witch hunt or to use the terminology myself.
There are conditions which one must meet for sound deductive
reasoning, and my inclination is to promulgate a method of
analysis which complies with these conditions.
Having said that, even though I'm not inclined to make
much of it, I do think that most philosophy is unsound
or meaningless or both, and that philosophers should be
concerned about this!
Let me add, that the dismissal of one philosophers views
by another who regards it as meaningless is not confined
to positivists, and I am under the impression that I
have suffered this kind of dismissal at your hands more
As soon as I start talking about "meaning" you beat
a hasty retreat, apparently abandoning any attempt to
understand what I am saying.
>One other "stream of consciousness" remark: the predication issue
>really goes back to Plato's _Sophist_. Kneale and Kneale, actually,
>locate the origins of the syllogism by going back to this.
>_The Development of Logic_.
I had a poke around in Google books, but didn't find
a lot of enlightenment.
The Grice paper does provide Plato at third or fourth hand,
since its Code's presentation of Aristotle's account of Plato's
metaphysics (as well as his own).
However, I have still not understood most of what Code actually
says, and don't understand the detail of what his formal material
is trying to say about the relationship between Plato and Aristotle.
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