[hist-analytic] Hume Is Where The Heart Is

Jlsperanza at aol.com Jlsperanza at aol.com
Thu Feb 11 19:03:03 EST 2010



In a message dated 2/11/2010 5:41:18 P.M. Eastern Standard Time,  
rbj at rbjones.com writes:
present then nor is knowledge (for the thing we might  infer because we
think it causes our sensory impressions is not actually a  necessary
precondition, and therefore might not be, and therefore cannot be  known
to be.
---- very good point.
 
I will explore the logical form behind all this. What does "cause" apply  
to. Surely we have to think, if proto-Carnapian at all, in terms of Carnap's  
brilliant excavations on the logic of relations in his Abriss, etc. This 
branch  of logic is not as required today as it was by Russell and Carnap. So 
let us  propose
 
  "C" to stand for
 
... causes ...
 
EXCURSUS on the meaning of 'cause' which R. B. Jones dismisses as Oxonian  
and irredeemably Oxonian at that. :):


Carnap is unclear to me in various points as to how we are supposed to deal 
 with this. We are supposed to get rid of ALL connotations regarding words. 
But  we sometimes can't. Or Kant I'd be enough of a rationalist to add. -- 
cfr his  early example, 1937, as tr. by Ms. Smeaton, "Pirots karulize 
elatically." His  whole point is that the ANALYTIC necessity is of things like:
 
       Pirots karulize elatically
       A is a pirot
       _______________________
     .
   .   .  A karulizes elatically.
 
"For all I care," Hospers wrote, "A pirot can be a ten-story building"  
(The question then is whether there was a victim as to it karulizing  
elatically as it did).
 
--- So we better use something different than "CAUSE". Grice proposes  "Fid"
 
   "Fid" has the proper nonsensical ring to it.
 
He uses to express any relation
 
         FID(x, y)
 
x stands in relation FID to y
 
   -- cited by Chapman, from Grice, "How Pirots Karulize  Elatically: Some 
Simpler Ways"
 
---
 
FID(x, y)
 
we are supposed to be wanting to introduce this into the pirot-talk, as it  
were. Into our talk about causes.
 
--- We are at a _loss_.
 
Grice plays with the notion of 'consequentia', which may be weaker than  
'cause'.
 
   y is a consequence of x  (WoW:xix)
 
---- 
 
The idea is that 'consequentia' is neutral: it can mean CAUSAL in the  
proper interpretation as it relates to, I'd think Grice-Carnp-Hume would want to 
 say -- obbles or objects.
 
   obble o   is caused   by obble o'
 
   Fid(obble o, obble o')
 
Here the problem is that 'cause' is best seen as involving events. But  
Grice is working with a Carnapian idea of a Predikat-Kalkuel: So we have to  
define an event in terms of an obble having this or that property. Fing and  
Fang, Grice suggests.
 
   obble o is FING
 
   obble o' is FANG
 
since we have to deal with variables only, we need to re-define the obble  
into a predicate
 
   OBBLE(x) --> FING(x)
 
         the obble o is fing   (the pillar box is red -- the bridge 
collapsed)
 
Now we want to have
 
   the bridge collapsed.
 
Is that a consequens, or a consequentia? It wouldn't matter:
 
   the bridge's collapse was the CAUSE of Jack's death.
 
But what about the bridge's collapse itself? What caused it?

Here  Grice plays with 'reason': "It does not seem an appropriate thing to 
say that  the reason why the bridge collapsed is that its structure was 
basically  cellophane." And if we do, we wouldn't like to say that this was a 
"Bad" reason.  "Bad reason" as applied to the realm of causes, sounds VERY 
Harsh. Where this is  a serious criterion for Grice (as it was for all his 
beloved empiricists,  Berkeley here) to reject the claim.
 
So the collapse of the bridge is a token of an event. What is the structure 
 in terms of x?
 
   BRIDGEx AND COLLAPSEDx.
 
i.e. We cannot introduce --> here, which is Hume's point. Hume knew we  
can't and we do know we can't. All we can do is state that the bridge  
collapsed.
 
At this point Romano Harre and Mardsen walk in. They want to say that, in  
spite of all that Hume convinced a few about, things, obbles, have CAUSAL  
powers. It's not just
 
        this
 
and then
 
           that
 
 
--- where all we can gather is this 'temporal sequence' alla Mill's methods 
 of difference.
We want to say that something CAUSED something else.
 
This, I gather, was part of Hume's problem. When you have spent a few  
studying the idiocies by Aristotle on this (substratum, hypokheimenon, aition  
telos, and all the dunsical tr. into the Latina Lingua) you read Hume and 
it's  exhilaratingly Scots!
 
So, I think Hume is criticising the Scholastics's use of 'causa'. I  
wouldn't think he cared for the scientist's occasional misuse of 'causalist'  
talk, because, other than Boyle, etc. there were not that many scientists around 
 _THEN_.
 
But now, Grice is protesting, "they seem to be ALL OVER THE PLACE!".  
"Surely we can't have that!"
 
--- Etc.
 
J. L. Speranza



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