[hist-analytic] Red And Green All Over Again
jlsperanza at aol.com
jlsperanza at aol.com
Wed Jan 6 17:45:49 EST 2010
Just a biblio note of possibly hist-analytic interest re: B. Aune's
important points below.
Checking for the very source of Grice's example cited by Chapman -- below
I add this charmingly titled (I find) series of articles in Analysis
Hilton, J. "Red and green all over again". Analysis, vol. 22
Putnam, H. "Red and green all over again". PR, vol. 66 --
Incidentally, this connects with D. F. Pears' earliest publications,
notably his "Necessary Synthetic" article in Mind which B. Williams in
foreword to the Pears festschrift thinks a presequel to Pears'
As for Grice, the proposition,
(1) Nothing can be red and green all over
_exercised_ him a good deal, Chapman notes (_Grice_) and would go and
its status with his children's playmates. His serious note, though, is in
an unpublication, where Grice appeals to 'philosophical wisdom', if
is such a thing -- I am with B. Aune that it's possibly yet another dogma
of empiricism, if I understand him aright.
Grice writes of (1), "is a supposed [by who? Kant the earliest source?
for statement that is both synthetic and _a priori_." (Chapman's wording,
but relating to Grice's "own notes" on the topic. The reference being to:
Grice, H. P. "The Way of Words", Studies in: Notes, Offprints and Draft
Material. H. P. Grice Papers. BANC MSS 90/135c, The Bancroft Library,
University of California, Berkeley.
J. L. Speranza
In a message dated 1/6/2010 9:28:33 A.M. Eastern Standard Time,
aune at philos.umass.edu writes:
In his section “On The Significance of the ‘Two color Problem’,” Steve
considers what we should say if “we take” the two-color proposition to be
synthetic. What we should say should depend, I think, on what we regard as
true. The proposition contains a modal auxiliary, “can,” together with “
which adds up to the idea of impossibility. What kind of possibility is
this supposed to be? In my book I mentioned that, owing to the structure
our eyes, it appears to be physically impossible for anything to be seen
both red and green. So if the relevant “cannot” is understood as
connoting physical impossibility, the two-color proposition may well be
and true. But philosophers who think it is true do not base their
on scientific evidence; they think of the relevant “cannot” as
representing a kind of possibility that can be known a priori. Steve
himself views it
this way; he thinks of the proposition so understood as representing an
item of a priori knowledge. Empiricists would not agree with this
they do not believe that this kind of knowledge is possible (to use Kant’
language). Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason was explicitly concerned to
how such knowledge is possible (in the three areas where Kant thought we
such knowledge), but Kant’s efforts were pretty clearly a failure. (I
taught the Critique at least twenty times, and I have no doubt about this
matter.) I also devoted the second chapter of my book to criticizing
contemporary attempts to defend the existence of such knowledge. So I am
that it is not “possible.” But I did think I could show that the
two-color proposition, qualified to apply to specific rather than generic
can reasonably be regarded as analytic. That, I believe, is an important
result; it solves a problem that has been around for a very long time.
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