[hist-analytic] Brief Reply on Chpt. 1 Review of Aune's Book

Baynesr at comcast.net Baynesr at comcast.net
Fri Oct 9 07:44:23 EDT 2009

My reply to Bruce must be brief. In addition, I must apologize for not replying to posts. I will get to RBJ's long one, at some point. Speranza writes on conversational implicature, which I haven't looked at for a while, although I think there is a lot here. In fact, one thing I wanted to talk to Speranza about a phenomenon that qualifies a certain class of verbs as a category of its own, based on implicature. I call them "post factums." A "post factum" is an expression that can be applied only to past events under certain conversational circumstances. In some cases 'try' is such a verb (auxillary). More on this later, hopefully. 

I want to push on with my read of Bruce's book, so it will not be uncommon for me to give him the last word. I would defend Skyrms's paper a bit, but not at Aune's expense. It is a 40 year old paper, but Quine's is about 56 years old. So age doesn't count. That is the general point I want to raise. I think it is important for a philosopher to be driven by issues and the logical structure of an argument rather than the scholarship promoted by the journal editors. There is a lot of fad in philosophy and the journals are definitely unsympathetic to philosophers who are not cow towing to a few U.S. and British institutions that dominate the field. I find this deplorable. 

Here I am looking at a 60 year old paper by E. W. Beth and I got another over here I haven't read by Hermann Weyl and if I were a "pro" I'd be reading "Ben Heck" or "Tweety Hildefarb" on their latest take on the latest puzzle on the prisoner's dilemma. Not that the dilemma is not important, but one simply must make up one's mind whether one wants to keep up with a lot of crap in the journals edited by the students of the people writing the crap or read guys like Weyl, Reichenbach, and Poincare, all now very old papers. Why do I pass up the journals and read a lot of old stuff? Because a lot of the "new" stuff is actually old stuff detached from the mainstream of Kant, Aristotle, Russell, etc. I can't do both, and I don't think anyone else can either. 

The problems of philosophy are largely institutional. We will know we are beginning to fix these problems when U.S. and UK philosophers start talking about something besides the last article published by their friends. So I think there is hope once we get some people into the 'biz' who aren't clones out of Stanford, talking about rigid designators etc. The reply of course is that this is where it is all at. The disagreement here is fundamental. 

There is more truth to the sense datum theory in my opinion than came out of the entire 25 year disaster of trying to be clever enough to engineer some "phony" solution to the Gettier problem. Gettier got something right, but I don't know, exactly, what. Kant got something right, and I think it has to do with the realtion of sensation and intuition. How do I want to spend the rest of my life? Doing Kant, Reichenbach etc. Time does not allow throwing the old stuff just because a young editor recognizes a submission etc. If we can get these S. Americans, Romanians, Bosnians to break the headlock these guy have on the 'biz' we'll be talking about the history of analytical philosophy and the structure of the issues raised by the tradition, which is what we ought to be doing instead of being "scholars" familiar with the latest essay by X on Y who wrote on X etc. I've done it myself a little bit. At the end of the day, there is more satisfaction to be had reading old papers by E. W. Beth and papers by Parsons on Kant than the new kids on the block. But be careful, some of them have great promise outside the "establishment." So we have to keep an open mind and not just retreat into the past. 

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