[hist-analytic] Grice's Bêtes Noires: the Twelve of Them, and, in strict Order of Appearance

Jlsperanza at aol.com Jlsperanza at aol.com
Mon Feb 22 16:33:43 EST 2010


also known as 'demons' (if not 'perilous places')
 
"I am also adversely influenced by a different kind of unattractive feature 
 which ... these bêtes noires seem to possess" (p. 68). 
--- 
And their lovely mother rearing her lovely head: Minimalism
 
"As I thread my way unsteadily along the tortuous mountain path which is  
supposed to lead, in the long distance, to the City of Eternal Truth, I find  
myself beset by a multitude of demons and perilous places, bearing names  
like  Extensionalism, Nominalism, Positivism, Naturalism, Mechanism,  
Phenomenalism, Reductionism, Physicalism, Materialism, Empiricism, Scepticism,  and 
Functionalism." (Grice, Prejudices and Predilections -- vide Gr86).  

(cfr. "in strict order of  apperance") 
 
In a message dated 2/22/2010 1:22:32 P.M. Eastern Standard Time,  
rbj at rbjones.com writes:
if the idea of pluralistic minimalism 
could be  made clear to Grice, would he be more tolerant of 
such minimalisms than he  is of (what I like to call) 
dogmatic minimalisms?
 
 
--- Of course, Roger!
 
You are making Grice sound like an ogre, if that's the word! He would be  
willing to _talk_. He did, most of his life!
 
Just a few points!
 
---- When you say that he doesn't understand ... how someone may be  
Phenomenalist and Materialist. Let's go back to that page 80. I don't think we  
NEED p. 81, just _now_.
 
He is listing 'demons':
 
  -- Phenomanlism
  -- Materialism
 
and he says that he is finding an antipathy for them all. A "twelvefold  
antipathy" he writes. He finds it agreeable, as it were, to refer to his  
'twelvefold antipathy' to be directed towards "Minimalism". So I would make a  
distinction between your use of 
 
            'minimisation'
 
--- for it's the whole totally black bete noire of the -ism that repelled  
Grice (on his way to the City of Eternal Truth, as he ironically puts it of  
course -- it's all a parody of Bunyan's boring protestant booklet!)
 
----
 
So, he is having those demons. And he has to have a caveat.
 
"I'm not saying I ever met one person who personified them all" (or  
something).

And _then_ he adds, "for, perhaps it is difficult to see how someone  can 
provide support to both Materialism and Phenomenalism".
 
So, while he would appreciate your distinctions, he is just indeed, merely  
pointing out that his is not a 'strawman' or more of a 'strawman' than it 
needs  be. But I'll re-read your minimalisations with interest. At this point 
one  wonders about 
 
   Pragmatism!

--- !
 
Now, in terms of Carnap. 
 
You are saying that 
 
   Minimalism
 
can wear many 'guises': there's a dogmatic Minimalism, and other:  
pluralistic and pragmatism.
 
I would think he would, alas, have
 
   Pluralism
 
as a bete noire. For he is saying, "a man, if a philosopher, and virtuous,  
is _entire_." One is not sure what he means, but I think he means 
consistency  (in his dogmas, if you wish). We have to be careful when we speak of 
'dogmas'  with Grice. Whoelse or elsewho, would have written something with the 
typically  British spelling, "In defence of a dogma" and get away with it. 
(Cfr. Grandy on  underdogma as cited by Grice WoW:Mean.Rev.).
 
So, he would NOT have favoured someone (I think his name is "Puddle")  
'going':
 
   "Oh, I'm a materialist in _metaphysics_,
      when since on Thursdays I'm also
      teaching the Ethics seminar (he is
      on sabbatical, Harry) I am a 
      non-naturalist to appease the 
      Moorean among by pre-pubescent
      students".

So one has to be careful.
 
This leaves us with Minimalism, as it stood (for him).
 
He is precise about Minimalism. In GriceClub, etc -- if we do search, etc.  
-- there's Trade, which is a word Grice uses for the point. It's a pretty  
complex simile, and I have to work on this for each of the 12 betes. But his 
 idea is that each bete is a protectionist, and that as such she should be  
labelled a 'criminal'. And the place to sue her is the "Trade Commision" -- 
for  philosophers. For a philosopher wants to use a device -- say: 
"abstract entity"  as you mention them (why is it that Grice uses it in plural? 
Surely your idea of  just one TYPE of abstract entity seems daemoniac enough!).  
-- I love a  daemon, eudaemon.
 
So Minimalism is dogmatically as you say blocking our desire for  
philosophical explanation. The best illustration is the breakdown of rationality  
that Hume thought had brought when it came to Ethics. Hume forked the thing in  
such a way that a moralist had to be an irrationalist. Kant Kant Cope That 
Cant,  and wrote his long thing, Practical Reason Treatise, to show that 
there ARE  rational guidelines in the realm of 'ought'. 
 
So, what was underlooked, or just DENIED, or rejected by Hume's minimalism  
is proved, to the Kantian amongst us, to have been protectionistically  
overlooked. 
 
I.e. there _are_ patterns of argument in ethics. With academia you never  
know. I mean, this is philosophy. They cannot really FAIL you if you keep  
sticking to Stevenson's emotivism! The standards for passing and dropping out  
and get a philo degree are not like dentistry! So everything is 
'compromisable',  etc. But you get my drift. 
 
Keep up the good work. If I propose a little Table of Categories for each  
of the beasts, I shall, here in Analytic. And S. R. Bayne SHOULD be joining 
in!  (Not to mention Aune, Hall, and all the rest of them, provided it's 
with _good_  things). 
 
Cheers,
 
JL
 
JL Speranza



More information about the hist-analytic mailing list