[hist-analytic] Toulmin and the Play Group
Jlsperanza at aol.com
Jlsperanza at aol.com
Wed Dec 16 20:49:21 EST 2009
Thanks to S. Bayne for his comments. Excellent to KNOW that Toulmin
subscribed to Hist-Anal. I suppose his son, Greg, though of a state other than
California, will try and have the Toulmin papers (if he left any) safely
deposited in some uni. It would be interesting to know in which.
I have done some little more research about his associations with Oxford's
play group (i.e. the Saturday morningers of Austin). Toulmin was
university lecturer in the philosophy of science from 1949 to 1954 -- but I still
ignore which college he was associated with.
This was the heyday of "Oxford ordinary school philosophy" almost (as
Grice notes in "Prejudices and Predilections", in Grandy et al, "PGRICE"), so it
is not surprising that there ARE some cross-references:
ON THE PART OF THE PLAYGROUP
The cross references seem perhaps minimal. I have been able to trace
-- Hare, R. M. Review of Toulmin, An examination of the place of
reason in ethics. Philosophical Quarterly 1951.
Note that this is an early Hare. In fact, I unburied that
reference when Hare died, and I was checking the list of his publications from
his Practical Inferences. I would hope Hare's son deposited his
unpublications, if he left any, safely somewhere
-- Urmson, J. O. The province of logic: being a review
of Toulmin, The uses of argument. In Nature, 1958, pp. 213-
(doublecheck page number)
available online if you log-in. If a member to this can do that
and share pdf with us, nice
(See Toulmin's refs. to Urmson below)
-- Strawson, P. F. Review of Toulmin,
The uses of argument. In The Listener, the BBC weekly, 1958.
ON THE PART OF TOULMIN.
Apparently, Toulmin was more affiliated with the OTHER group popular or
influential at the time, led by Ryle. Ryle was possibly Toulmin's doktorvater
(if the term applies) while in Oxford (as Braithwaite had been in
Cambridge). Of course, unofficial, since Toulmin had earned his DPhil already with
the "Examination of the place of reason in ethics". Toulmin acknowledges
Ryle in Uses of Argument and indeed shares a good anecdote: Otto Bird provided
a review of Uses of Argument for _Mind_ due to Ryle (who edited it). In
that review Bird connects Toulmin's enterprise with Aristotle's in Topica. I
have a friend who dedicates her life to Topica so she should be pleased.
She dedicates her life to book VIII, of the Topica, if you can believe that.
So, there are some references to Oxford philosophers who were not part of
the playgroup. Some I'm not sure, e.g. D. G. Brown.
-- But when it comes to playgroup members proper (the list I take from
Grice, op. cit. above) we have -- alphabetically:
AUSTIN, J. L. Toulmin cites ONLY "Other Minds". This is an interesting
essay by Austin which
-- as it relates to Grice's A-philosophers -- has been commented by
Roger B. Jones. Toulmin
is concerned with 'qualifiers' to 'claims to knowledge'. He is
having in view his model for
argument, complete with claim, data, warrant, backing, and rebuttal.
Austin was alive then, but his early death meant a stop to any
further cross-reference here.
HARE, R. M. Toulmin deals extensively (or perhaps not so extensively)
with Hare, Language
of Morals. Oddly, he is not into what Hare would later call
micropragmatic (the subatomic
particles of logic: the clistic, tropic, neustic and phrastic).
Instead Toulmin passes
muster of the is-ought question as it relates to practical
inferences, and how you cannot
claim a value-judgement unless at least one of the data is also a
HART, H. L. A. Toulmin cites from the locus classicus by Hart on the
ascription of responsibilities
and rights. He is interested in the ceteris-paribus defeasibility
of inferential patterns. He notes
re: Hart something he possibly did not like of critics reading his
own (Toulmin's work): the
legalese. In the case of Hart, it can be said that legalese (or
jurisprudential reasoning) was
at the 'heart' of it, as he would later become Prof. of
Jurisprudence at Oxford -- a fact that
perhaps lost him to the narrow philosophical community. (In
Argentina, it was the fashion
of 'lawyers' to get a Brit Council fellowship and earn a doctorate
under Hart, e.g. C. S. Nino).
STRAWSON, P. F. Toulmin cites extensively from "Introduction to
Logical Theory". I would assume
that Strawson's review of Toulmin for the Listener SHOULD have
concentrated on his criticisms of
Strawson. Toulmin was particularly hurt, it seems, that Strawson
only cared to 'roundly damn' the
book. Toulmin's observations on various aspects of Strawson's
programme merit a closer
URMSON, J. O. Toulmin quotes various essays by Urmson. Perhaps the
most important one,
for which he does not care to give the exact biblio reference is
"Two senses of 'probable'". This
has an anti-Gricean ring to it (recall his modified Ockham's razor,
'do not multiply senses
beyond necessity'), and its treatment occupies a whole section of
Toulmin's book ambiguously
titled, "Is 'probably' ambiguous?". His prose is so subtle that I
wasn't sure if he meant
that it's not. I guess "'probable' NOT ambiguous" would have made
for a better title of a
section if that was his claim. As with Strawson, Hart, and Austin,
Toulmin provides the
full biblio references at the end of his book. So, we see he is also
using Urmson's wonderful
essay on "Validity" (where he pre-dates Grice in some of the
conversational maxims, etc.).
He also quotes from Urmson, "On grading". A classic repr. along with
R. Hall, Excluders,
in Chappel (as I recall).
There may be other cross-references I missed. In any case, this is the
Toulmin that, historically, interests me. He has a topical, "On describing",
co-authored with Baier, which was possibly very influential THEN. For some
reason, whatever interest he had in ways that overlapped with the
playgrouppers evolved into something different. He was possibly of broader interests.
He quotes extensively for example from Ryle's colleague, Kneale and his
work on induction and probability. So he was perhaps less parochial than the
Saturday morning as wickedly recollected by Warnock -- 'we were only
interested in what the others of the group were thinking' (Saturday mornings, in
Berlin, Essays on Austin). This is perhaps unfair on Grice, since he is seen
quoting a distant author like Stevenson, or a not so distant one like
Witters -- and with a straight face, too!
The Grice Club, etc.
S. Bayne writes:
Thanks for bringing us the bad news, JL.
I met Toulmin a couple of times and spent what I considered a great deal
of time on one occasion discussing philosophy and a number of other issues
several years ago. He was, as
you may know, a subscriber to Hist-Analytic, and there are remarks by him
on remarks made by me on Wittgenstein (as well as some insights by Dick
Schmitt out of U. of Chicago).
At one point in our discussion, Toulmin confided in me certain facts about
his work in philosophy of science; in particular in regard to Norwood
Russell Hanson. Both philosophers had
a great deal to do with how history of science and philosophy of science
Being a small time journalist, in "another world," I asked if his comments
were for the record. He said only on condition that Hanson's wife was no
longer alive. I made numerous inquiries
and postings and could never make this determination with any certainty.
Given the lapse of time, I believe she is no longer alive. Moreover, the
death of Toulmin, himself, alters the moral
equation, somewhat. So I'm tinkering with the idea of repeating what he
said in connection with Hanson. If there are other sources on this, I'd like
to know. I DO know that Toulmin was
working on memoirs. If anyone knows anything about the status of this
work, please let me know.
I commented at a meeting on Toulmin's philosophy of science, years ago. He
was prepared and wrote up a rather detailed set of notes on my comments
and read them in reply to my
commentary. Some of this stuff was historically significant but I never
saw the copy and I forgot some of his points of clarification. This had to do
with Foresight and Understanding, I believe.
If anyone knows of archives that would be helpful.
I'll consider going public on the Hanson thing. In the meantime.
----- Original Message -----
From: Jlsperanza at aol.com
To: hist-analytic at simplelists.co.uk
Sent: Wednesday, December 9, 2009 9:01:25 PM GMT -05:00 US/Canada Eastern
Subject: Toulmin and the Play Group
Sad news about the death of Toulmin, I know a favourite with S. Bayne.
Anyway, this short notice to share the obit with the list, and share a
tidbit of my research. The man, Toulmin, lectured on philosophy of science at
Oxford from 1949 to 1954, pretty much the early heyday of Ordinary Language
Philosophy --. His "Uses of Inferences" came out in 1958 -- when he had
left Oxford already but, via an online checklist of his publications I found
that Urmson reviewed it for _Nature_ for that year, and in another site
featuring an online interview with Toulmin he makes the rather good sarcastic
Q. The Uses of Argument has received an enormous amount of attention. Are
you surprised by the overwhelming critical reception of that book and of
the so-called "Toulmin method" of argumentation?
A. It was not initially overwhelming, particularly in England. I published
it in England, and P. F. (later Sir Peter, and collaborator with Grice --
JLS) Strawson wrote a dismissive review in The Listener, the BBC's
intellectual weekly; that was the end of the matter so far as my colleagues in
England were concerned.
--- Oddy, my personal concern with Toulmin's book was ideographical. He
has a BEAUTIFUL drawing of a cat being on a mat ('the cat sat on the mat') in
that book, and I have used that illustrations in lectures I've given. I
especially treasure one at the University of Buenos Aires -- as an assistant
to Rabossi --. I thought that the drawing being straight from Toulmin gave
my lecture a lot of respectability.
-- the header to note that while Strawson and Urmson did belong to
Austin's playgroup -- of the heyday of Oxford ordinary language philosophy, that
met Saturday mornings -- vide Grice, "Reply to Richards" in Grandy/Warner,
and Warnock, "Saturday mornings" in Berlin et al, Essays on Austin --
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