[hist-analytic] The Play Group: D. F. Pears
Jlsperanza at aol.com
Jlsperanza at aol.com
Sat Dec 26 02:02:48 EST 2009
I wrote of the peripathetic. A good malaprop, as it was.
The obit in "The Independent" (by Paul Levy. Grice's obit in The
Independent was written by J. O. Urmson) does go Aristotelian on this one, though:
"He also says ..."
"that much Oxford philosophy of the time was peripatetic, conducted during
long walks in the meadows and regular meetings of small groups."
The problem is that a peripatos is really a come and go, go and come, up
and down, down and up. For anyone who's been in the actual bit of Athens
where those peripatoi took place, right? On the other hand, a long straight
walk in the Meadows -- as you follow the river -- does not really qualify.
Not much 'peri' about them. I felt MUCH more like in Plato's Hekademos (M.
Chase has pointed out to me that "Academy" was created in memory of a hero
known as "Hekademos", and, since, I cannot find myself using 'academy'
anymore). The Hekademia was an olive grove, without the city wall, as it were --
and less peripatetic in nature then.
The obit. continues: "J.L. Austin had his Saturday morning
"kindergartens," in which David participated".
I should check if the play group ever met at Christ Church. Warnock
recalls that they (or at least Austin) seemed to prefer the big rooms of Grice's
own college, St. John's, which had them look like successful businessmen.
After Austin's death, Grice conducted the meetings at Corpus Christi.
"I shall but I won't"
"I won't but I shall"
are perhaps too _blunt_ statements of the topics Pears and Grice were
discussing. Grice only superficially refers to the 'shall' vs. 'will'
distinction in "Intention and Uncertainty". But Pears's focus on the prediction
aspects of our decisions may have bearing on this.
Another delightful anecdote coming from Pears, I find is his discussion
with this anonymous contender. The anecdote comes from the Times obituary,
and paints Pears to a T, as they say:
"Pears was at the centre of all this and a robust disputant: “I wouldn’t
stake my reputation on this,” said one prudent speaker. “Who cares about
your reputation?” was Pears’s comment, always intent on the philosophic,
not the personal, nub."
Christ Church is reputedly the best Oxonian college, and it was warming
(if that's the expression) that Pears was the first curator of their Picture
Gallery. It was also nice to learn that after all there _was_ a connection
between that charming painting by Millais for the Pears's soap and the man
whose obit we are commenting now. While educated at Devon, he had been born
in fact in Bedfont, and he would meditate on the fact that the house of
his actual birth was possibly 'obliterated' by that monster that is Heathrow.
There _is_ a sort of festschrift for Pears, which I hope carries a good
complete checklist of his publications.
J. L. S.
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