[hist-analytic] If That Mocking-Bird Won't Sing
Jlsperanza at aol.com
Jlsperanza at aol.com
Thu Oct 29 19:23:13 EDT 2009
"I only said, 'if'"
"Oh, no; you said a great deal more than that". Alice in Wonderland.
---- Factuality, Non-Factuality, and Counter-Factuality in "Biscuit"
Conditionals and Other
"If you are hungry, there are biscuits in the cupboard" (Mrs. Austin,
to master J. L. to his annoyance)
In a message dated 10/29/2009 7:09:45 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time,
danny.frederick at btinternet.com writes:
If it rained yesterday, it did not rain hard (yesterday)
It did rain hard (yesterday)
Therefore, it did not rain yesterday.
The argument is plainly valid (on standard logical principles) because the
premises are inconsistent.
Oddly, the other day, I was having a bad night -- but luckily a Southerner
who could sing me a lullaby! It was, encyclopaedic brain that I have (he
he), not one I was too familiar with, except, perhaps via a Carly Simon
recording. It went along the line:
if the mocking bird won't sing
I will buy you a diamond ring.
It struck me as modus tollens. In any case, before considering the mocking
bird, let us focus slightly on
"it did not rain hard"
-- the apodosis of
"if it did rain yesterday, it did not rain hard"
--- It strikes me that the 'not' in the apodosis can or should be
considered seriously -- i.e. as the twiggly, "-". Threfore it should be given the
chance to operate maximally and externally, sans implicature, or as I now
prefer to say, hygienically DISimplicated.
"if the king of France combs his hair, he is not bald"
--- it strikes me that "he is not bald", in the apodosis, is consistent
with the non-existence of the king of France: "he is not bald; in fact, he is
not (simpliciter): he doesn't exist."
Ditto, "it did not rain hard" would be consistent with a Strawsonian
it-less world -- a sad world, undoubtedly. Recall his "What is the logical form
of "It rains"? What is "it"?" (Intro. to Logical Theory).
Now, it strikes me that the mocking bird WILL sing. True, it is NOT, to
echo Kripke, a necessary a priori condition that he will, but I'll be damned
(by God) if a lullaby singer ever did have to proceed to step 2, and really
get the diamond ring to the lullabeed.
J. L. Speranza
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