[hist-analytic] "If" and "If ..., Then ..."
Jlsperanza at aol.com
Jlsperanza at aol.com
Fri Oct 16 22:23:33 EDT 2009
I do not want to intrude in the interesting Bayne/Aune commentary, but it
may do to express my reaction upon reading Grice, "Indicative Conditionals",
WoW. Way of Words.
He says, rather stipulatively, that
"if p, q"
gets the horseshoe.
The addition of the 'inferrability' particle, "then", notably does NOT get
I would think the point may do in the Romance Languages. The 'if' particle
if just the 'si' of Latin, 'se' of Italian, 'si' of French and Spanish.
"si p, q"
the addition of 'then' may be a trick. In some Spanish-language logic
textbooks, it gets translated as "entonces",
"si p, entonces q"
--- but it's never a phrase I heard a neighbour say!
I would think the French equivalent may be the 'donc', but you bet.
Now, as R. Grandy knows -- see his contribution to "Legacy of Grice" for
the Berkeley Linguistics Society, it was Strawson who mainly Grice is
thinking of. Strawson held that there is a parallel between ASSERTED inferences
if p, q
if p, then q
Now, for some reason, the 'therefore' gets translated in Spanish-language
textbooks as "por consiguiente", o "luego", which is NOT again something I
ever heard any of my neighbours utter. In Latin it would be 'ergo', but
Russell/Whitehead POSTdates Latin!
So the best way is indeed to deal, as Bayne does, with Philonian (versus
Chrysippan?) implication, and consider the horseshoe (whatever its linguistic
realisation) as purely truth-functional.
Grice seems to be saying that the addition of the "then" makes for MORE
than a truth-functional operator.
Uttering "if" clauses without the 'then' re-inforcer is to Grice no breach
to the 'paradoxes' of material implication, which are all true.
Oddly, this PHILO is NOT the Philo, apparently, that occupies a few volumes
in my beloved Loeb Classical Library. It is, as it were, a minor Philo.
When I was reviewing articles for Margarita Costa for the Bulletin of the
Institute of Philosophy (in that wonderful building of the University of
Bueos Aires in 25 de mayo Street in downtown Buenos Aires) I recall coming
across what I then (and still now) thought a jewel:
J. F. Thomson, "In defense of the material conditional"
--- this was a posthumous lecture by Thomson, dated 1966 (I think) and
poshumously published by Mrs. Thompson (Judith Jarvies). Thompson, who
collaborated with Grice on this and that, holds very similar tenets.
Strawson's reply on the other hand had been doing the rounds since 1968,
and was finally published by Grandy/Warner, in the PGRICE festschrift.
(Strawson has also reprinted it in his Entity and Identity, for the Clarendon
In this paper, Strawson 'recollects' Grice's distinction between
This, _NOT_ in the sense referred to by Bayne in the segment below. Rather,
in terms of 'implicature'. For Grice (and recall he is basically
criticising Strawson's vademecum, Introduction to logical theory, 1952),
by uttering "if p, q", the utterer NON-CONVENTIONALLY (i.e.
conversationally) implies (or 'implicates' as he prefers) that
there is an inferrability link between p and q. This is
cancellable, for example, in the paradoxes of material implication.
For Strawson, rather, and this seems to be Grandy's point in the Legacy of
by uttering "if p, q", the utterer CONVENTIONALLY implies such
I recall a class on conditionals (held on Saturday mornings no less) by D.
S. M. Edgington. She, oddly, had never seen the Strawson paper till I
showed it to her (The meetings were in a rather derelict, if that's the word,
section of Buenos Aires, where the Argentine Society for Philosophical
Analysis was holding those seminars). Edgington had come fresh from Oxford to
teach the natives that neither Grice nor Strawson nor Russell nor C. I. Lewis
were RIGHT. "If p, q" has NO truth-conditions!
If anything, her seminar served me to systematise all the theories
involved, and with the help of some Jackson and D. K. Lewis, to arrive at a
neo-Griceanism of sort which still holds the 'identity' thesis between, yes, the
'if p, q' and the horseshoe.
But a horse says nay.
J. L. Speranza"
In a message dated 10/16/2009 1:48:59 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time,
Baynesr at comcast.net writes:
he says that ‘if…then’ is indicated with a horseshoe. This is sometimes
the case, but if I’m not mistaken ‘if…then..’ is generally distinguished
from ‘implies’ and it is ‘implies’ that gets the horseshoe. If there is a
doubt take a look at Russell’s Principles of Mathematics 1903 "Implication
and Formal Implication." It’s an old book, but I can’t recall a case where
‘if…then…’ gets the horseshoe, but maybe. Any examples? Reichenbach did
do this occasionally. It Is not uncommon to think of entailment is just a
bracketed expression where the primary operator is material implication, but
where outside the left bracket we have a necessity operator. Here there is
no need to make a distinction.
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
More information about the hist-analytic