[hist-analytic] Grice and Carnap on Analysis

Roger Bishop Jones rbj at rbjones.com
Fri Feb 5 16:00:43 EST 2010


On Friday 05 Feb 2010 14:13, jlsperanza at aol.com wrote:

> But in any case, our thoughts on
> 
>         reductive, not reductionist
>         reductionist, not reductive
> 
> may shed light on Jones´s use of this "adjective", ´reductive´. (Indeed
> in the phrase, ´reductive analysis´).

This is Grice's usage we are concerned with, the term "reductive analysis" is 
not one I use myself.

> This distinction Grice thinks does hold water. A reductive analysis is
> one like his,
> 
>    Utterer means that p.
>       (and thus, ulitmately,
>          higher up, "p" means p)
>               reduces to
>                  Utterer intends that p.
> 
> where "p" is a dummy symbol as it were -- and stands not for
> proposition but, he says to annoy us, "propositional COMPLEX".

So Grice analyses propositions in terms of the intention of the utterer?
(I'm presuming here that the second p, the one intended, is not actually the 
same as the first, otherwise we haven't moved very far,
i.e. "means p" reduces to "intends q" for suitable p and q).

I'd like to focus this Carnap/Grice thing onto the issue of analysis, and 
whether there are irreconcilable differences between their conceptions of 
analysis.
The 21st century bit is so that we can ignore early discarded positions. e.g. 
aspects of the Aufbau project which did not survive, also of course, Carnap's 
syntactic phase, and even extrapolate their philosophical development to 
consider whether there were _irreconcilable_ differences.

In my last incomplete message I started talking about Grice's interest in 
causal theories of perception, which might be seen as a conciliatory bridge 
building exercise.  A causal theory of perception is an alternative to a 
phenomenalistic reductionism of the kind which Grice rejects.
(and a way of reading the idea, rejected by Austin, that all perception is 
mediated)

Though Carnap accepted the failure of the Aufbau project, he remained 
interested in the epistemological project of relating in some way 
physicalistic or theoretical languages with phenomenalistic languages.
But this was already arguably not reductionist in the sense deprecated by 
Grice.

Why not?

Well Grice talks about a _semantic_ reduction to a single kind of entity, and 
I think it reasonable to suppose (unless you can tell me otherwise) that what 
he had in mind was that the entities reduced are defined in terms of the 
entities reduced to.  But Carnap abandoned the idea that the relationship 
between physical objects and phenomema could be of that kind.
Which I believe means that he accepted that physicalistic language could not 
be reduced _semantically_ to phenomenalistic language.  He was looking for 
some other relationship between the two.

So what Carnap was looking for was not the kind of thing which Grice rejected.
Furthermore, I think there is every reason to believe that a causal theory of 
perception in which the relationship involved is causal, would be acceptable 
to Carnap.  This is consistent with a moderate empiricism.
The question remains whether he would be satisfied with that alone, or whether 
he would still be looking for some stronger relationship.
Personally I don't see why he should.
And I don't think there is anything stronger to be had.

So, do you believe that story, and if so, how far does this go towards 
reconciling the ideas of analysis of the two philosophers?

RBJ



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