[hist-analytic] The Taste of Schwater

jlsperanza at aol.com jlsperanza at aol.com
Fri Jul 31 14:42:44 EDT 2009

S. Bayne refers to Heathcocote & Armstrong,


¨"the case of 'water = H20'."

"Australia continues to dominate the world of philosophy."

I met Anscombe and call me South American, but he just looks, sounds,
and behaves like your common or garden regular ´Anglo´ to me -- but
then whenever I meet an Australian I misjudge him to be Cockney!

But this brief note to share this tidbit of the annals (as it were) of
analytic philosophy. Have you noticed that when Putnam invented his
example he used "twater"?? This expression, I am told, since call me
Aunt Matilda (*) in this respect, is very low slang! (The OED notes
that R. Browning used it -- or its back formation, rather, in a poem,
but only because he THOUGHT it meant something else -- a part, by
metonymy, of a nun´s attire --.

In most internet sites discussing Putnam´s example it has been
politically corrected to ´schwater´...

Oddly, I like to think of Grice as having invented that sort of Twin
Earth experiments. I don´t think we get any earlier example than his
"Martians" (amicably, of course, and always willing, oh so willing, to
chat!) in ´Some remarks about the senses´. Oddly and back to Down
Under, it´s Coady, of Melbourne, who has provided the best exegesis and
criticism of the Grice-type scenarios (in "The Senses of Martians").

When it comes to doxastic counterparts of twater-water ex
periments, I
find the work of Brian Loar illuminating. He has executed (for that´s
what executors do, right?) Grice´s Aristotle paper for his own edited
Pacific Philosophical Quarterly, and has contributed engagingly on
matters Gricean for, inter alia, Cosenza, The Legacy of Grice (Republic
of San Marino). I have always found his externalism very credible, but
then I´ll grant you that anyone with a Gricean bias tastes like
ambrosia to me (Loar actually hails from the best of Oxonian
philosophy, his D.Phil Oxon supervised on ´Sentence Meaning´ by Grice´s
collaborator, Sir Geoffrey J. Warnock, sometime Vice-Chancellor of the


J. L. Speranza

More information about the hist-analytic mailing list