[hist-analytic] Toulmin and the Play Group
Baynesr at comcast.net
Baynesr at comcast.net
Thu Dec 17 09:55:14 EST 2009
Thanks for this. I DO have some leads on Toulmin's estate, which I hope to
follow up on soon. Actually, I'm behind in doing something similar with
Scriven . Just a couple of point.
First, P. H. Nowell-Smith informed me in correspondence some years
ago that he was in this group. In fact, a close read of his _Ethics_ reveals
some striking use of language one finds in Austin. I asked him if these
locutions ( I don't have them at my finger tips) were his or Austin's. He
was uncommitted but seemed to indicate they were Austin's. Also, the
expression 'pro-attitude' occurs in Nowell-Smith's _Ethics_ which we
find in Davidson.
Toulmin indicated to me in discussion, by the way, that in his memoirs
he would give definitive statement on what transpired with respect to
Hugely busy. I found a non-sequitur in D. Lewis in Convention. I stumbled
across it while examining "reciprocity" in Rawls, mainly because I was
in discussion with a bright fellow who disagreed with me based on
I've got a mountain of stuff on the color problem and Aune. It's gotta
come to a stop. I might risk ridicule by simply beginning to post it
without caveats, hedging, qualifications etc. I want to get on with
Aune's book. His stuff on concepts, meaning and the analytic are
superb. So I might just raise this "crap" of mine up the flag pole
and see if anyone salutes.
----- Original Message -----
From: Jlsperanza @ aol .com
To: hist-analytic@ simplelists .co. uk
Sent: Wednesday, December 16, 2009 8:49:21 PM GMT -05:00 US/Canada Eastern
Subject: Re: Toulmin and the Play Group
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.
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