[hist-analytic] Grice's Myth
jlsperanza at aol.com
jlsperanza at aol.com
Sun Jan 10 09:19:17 EST 2010
Political Philosophy: The Oxford Tradition
In a message dated 1/9/2010 7:32:40 P.M. Eastern Standard Time,
Baynesr at comcast.net writes:
That would be Sir Anthony Quinton. Isn't he librarian, or was, at
In any case, this is a perticularly good anthology. I read a number of
a long while ago, but I'm going to be returning to this. Carritt's
and Equality" will be among the first on my list, since it's implications
for Rawls (the second principle qualifies the first as equality may
qualify liberty) is crucial. Also, the essays by Benn on "Sovereignty"
That's very good. Indeed, Anthony, Viscount Quinton -- I am told his title
was a New Year's celebration from the Queen after Quinton's work on
educational policies. I first saw Quinton on a photo. And that's B. Magee, "Men of
Ideas", the BBC book based on the BBC lectures. You see Quinton sitting I
think at Trinity, his college, and talking about, I think, the spell of
Hampshire, who I corresponded on the matter of what Hampshire and I called
the 'old play group' -- the Tuesday evening meetings at All Souls -- told
me that Quinton possibly got influenced by Grice on matters of the causal
theory of perception. I would have to revise the correspondence. I tend to
remember that Hampshire told me that he (Hampshire) and Quinton attended
Grice's seminars on perception. Those were the days when colleagues of such
statute would just 'sit' like that for hours!
---- I think Carritt too has Oxonian associations, and so does Benn, and so
does Donagan, so your reading list looks amazingly amazing!
Now, for a time PPEs were looked down at Oxford. You had to be a Lit.Hum.
to count. Strawson, for example, was a PPE -- I forget what it stands for,
but one P is for Politics. I am unaware how the teaching of political
philosophy is organised. Hart taught Jurisprudence (the [...] Chair of
Jurisprudence]. I don't think there is a chair of political philosophy, which is just
as well -- do not multiply chairs beyond necessity, my Oxonian motto. And
I'm very pleased that the three chairs that matter start with a W: White,
Waynflete and Wykeham. It simplifies things so.
Incidentally, I think you should distinguish between:
-- Meinongian contracts
Meinongian contracts are no contracts. They are irreal things. E.g. Rawls
and the veil of ignorance. Surely such a thing is a myth of not the best
Platonic kind. (Grice uses 'myth' but with other goals in mind -- vide
Wharton, last chapter in his "Pragmatics" books). Meinongian contracts are
metaphorically so, but on the other hand they attain non-metaphorical validity
status. You are supposed to be bound by a contract that their appealers accept
was never signed or anything!
We should also distinguish between: levels of pacting or compacting or
contracting. Lawyers and accountants use the word 'contract' so freely that
they give 'contractualism' a bad name. The scholastics took the word
seriously. First there was the Jewish, as you say, or Biblical, alliance with God,
which we need not go over.
But when it comes to authors of contractualism proper, we need to
distinguish between the 'social' contract per se (that which contracts 'pirots' who
can abide by this sort of contract -- e.g. non-rational pirots cannot
really engage in contracts), and the 'political' contract.
When Moreno used the 'contract' theory to justify the Argentine revolution
against Spain, he was criticised for lumping when you can split. Surely the
Argentines were still _human_ when they rebelled against the King of Spain
(the holder of the other side of the contract as it were). So the social
contract was never broken or breached. It was the political contract, rather.
Whatever the complexities that follow from this are!
I title this Grice's Myth, because the word is so used by Wharton in his
book for this policy by Grice of appealing to myths of this or that type (his
example is one for the origin of language) as having explanatory power. I
would like thus to compare Grice's use of myth with other uses of myths,
say, in political philosophy, as they involve contracts per se.
J. L. Speranza
for the Grice Circle
More information about the hist-analytic