[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.
 
Consider,
 
    "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.
 
Cheers,
 
J. L. Speranza
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