[hist-analytic] Deutero-Esperanto

Jlsperanza at aol.com Jlsperanza at aol.com
Sat Jan 9 16:56:56 EST 2010



In a message dated 1/9/2010 1:47:15 P.M. Eastern Standard Time,  
baynesrb at yahoo.com writes in "Re: The arbitrariness of convention:  revisited"

JL,
Yes, you are absolutely right. I was unclear on what you  meant
exactly but your point is well taken.
It may be a non-arbitrary  decision whether to have traffic
rules, or conventions, but it is arbitrary  as to _which_ 
conventions to adopt. This is the fundamental  difference
between convention for Lewis and contract. In social  contract
there are no alternatives; that is, there is only the state  of
nature or the social contract, unlike the case of traffic laws.
Take a  look at Lewis _Convention_ p. 96 for the point your
raise.

----
 
Thanks. I do think too it's a good feature, 'arbitrariness'. After posting  
my post, though, I thought that the way I got to understood it was via 
Searle's  use of Rawls on brute/institutional and regulative/constitutive. 
Distinctions we  need not buy.
 
But I think it is an example by Searle, in his Speech Acts. Consider
 
      fishing
 
To fish is to take fish out of water. Any procedure that gets to that point 
 would NOT be conventional. You have the goal: to take fish out of water, 
and any  means to achieve the goal are procedures of the most primitive, 
underived type.  Perhaps 'procedure' (I'm thinking in terms of Lewis's 
'regularities' here) may  involve a reference to a habitual practice. I wouldn't 
think I have a  'procedure' to achieve Goal g, by exercising means M if I only 
do it _once_ --  but cfr. Blackburn on Grice on one-off meaning in _Spreading 
the word_ --. And  this distinction of procedure is really not needed by 
Grice until he gets to be  troubled by 'expression' rather than 'utterer's' 
meaning.
 
Now, if the fishing pole is painted _red_ in Korea, say, one may say that  
is a conventional thing. For why not paint it _blue_. The fact that official 
 fishing poles in say, country C, for fishing tournement, need to be 
painted the  specific colour C', seems _conventional_. 
 
Another example would be, to hold the fork with the left hand and the knife 
 with the right hand seems _arbitrary_ and thus conventional.
 
But there are important issues, here as they concern your reference to the  
'state of nature'. For for a naturalist, _all_ is natural, even conventions 
--  So there's no way we can draw a definite line: up to here is 'phusei' 
as the  Greeks wanted, and from now on it is 'thesei', convention.
 
And in introspection, what regularities we engage in are _truly_ arbitrary  
or conventional in this sense? I happen to adhere to the bow-wow theory of 
the  origin of language, so do think that names were basically onomatopoetic 
in  nature, alla Plato's Kratyl. So, to think that 'pluie' means, 
arbitrarily, or  conventionally, 'rain', in French, is quite a stretch.
 
But more on this later, I hope.
 
I title the thing as I do, since this is a coinage by Grice to add, "I do  
not believe that meaning is essentially tied to convention; I can invent a  
language, call it "Deutero-Esperanto"; that makes me the master". Or words 
to  that perlocutionary effect (WoW Meaning Revisited, googlebooks). Must say 
I  loved that claim!
 
Note too that more technically, Grice can do without conventions (at least  
as it pertains to 'meaning') when -- perhaps contra Lewis -- he allows the  
mode-of-correlation (his variable 'c' in his full-blown definition of 
utterer's  meaning occupying a whole page of his WoW, Googlebooks, Utterer's 
meaning and  intentions) to be: either
 
      other
 
      or
 
      iconic
 
      or
 
      conventional
 
But back to the state of nature, I forgot to mention, perhaps that this E.  
A. Rabossi was so into the naturalism of rights that it hurt me. He always 
tried  to oppose the views of one C. S. Nino who had his DPhil Oxon under 
Hart -- while  Rabossi was more of a Gricean one.
 
Cheers,
 
J. L. Speranza
   for the Grice Club



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