[hist-analytic] Grice's Bêtes Noires: the Twelve of Them, and, in str
Jlsperanza at aol.com
Jlsperanza at aol.com
Tue Feb 23 21:25:57 EST 2010
In a message dated 2/23/2010 5:47:46 P.M. Eastern Standard Time,
rbj at rbjones.com writes:
>I think my tone is consistent with his: "After a more tolerant
(permissive) middle age, I have come
>to entertain a strong opposition to them all..."
But as we've discussed elsewhere (I'm sure, but now that I think, not
publicly!) we sort of agreed that the paradoxical point, which perhaps Grice saw
-- I would add he did, for exegetical reasons -- is that he was being less
tolerant of intolerance! (But seeing that Carnap built HIS philosophy
around the Prinzip der Toleranz, I'm hoping Grice is not meaning Carnap
(necessarily) -- we have to keep some polemic, though!
>I don't understand the point you are making here
>about my use of the word "minimisation". In this context
>I intend only to mean by it the adoption of some
Aha. It's only that it does not scare me enough! Minimalisation, perhaps?!
:). In a way, there is a semantic overlap here with the monsters of
Reductionism and Eliminationism (that he doesn't care to list). For
to reduce (as per reductionism)
is of course to minimise
and so is, in a way, to eliminate.
So one has to be careful. If we say we minimise ethics, say (e.g. Mackie,
The Invention of Right and Wrong), we may be meaning different things. For
Grice, I think, Hume minimised ethics. (Indeed he minimised the role of
reason in the practical realm). But I wouldn't call Hume a minimal ethicist. He
does provide a minimisation alright, or minimalismisation, if ou want.
Will think. But in any case I accept your use of the thing as an instance of
Minimalisation at work.
In the best guises the minimalisation has to work as eliminationism. For he
(Grice) is saying that Minimalism DE-LEGITIMISES a range of explanations.
It's not like they are minimised. If they are, they are minimised to the
maximum minimum. In this connection, I would like to consider the idea of
"zero tolerance" which I've seen in various places. How tolerant is a
zero-tolerant, who has minimised everything to ... zero? (I'm not saying Carnap had
zero-tolerance, and I would have to argue that Grice didn't!)(Just joking.
I don't think he was zero-tolerant. The bracket (Baker notes, ft in Gr91)
that Grice used a lot of these, and one wonders about the 'permissive
(tolerant)', 'tolerant (permissive)', too; but we are talking of minimalisation
now, not of intolerance necessarily.
>But I want [Grice] *not* [emphasis mine. JLS] to have appreciated the
>because if he has appreciated it and has not qualified his
>antipathy then I would have to conclude that he is opposed
>to the -isms even if they are pluralistic and/or pragmatic
>rather than dogmatic. ...
>If that were the case then the prospects for concord would
>be much diminished, and even those for profitable
>conversation might be at risk.
Excellent points. Yes, we'll have more to say about your qualification for
the isms. It seems good to have them bi-forked, as it were, in
pluralistic-pragmatic vs. dogmatic.
The pluralismus is a good thing. It's indeed an ismus in some secondary
biblio on Carnap I saw: Toleranz und pluralismus in the work of Carnap. The
one goes with the other in Carnap, but not, it would seem, with Grice. We'll
have to elaborate on 'dogmatisms' too seeing that good ol' Grice came to
the defence of the 'underdogma' unpopularised by this Manx-surnamed
philosopher. (I don't mean Quinton).
>I don't say that [Carnap] makes that distinction [minimalism as either
dogmatic or pluralistic/pragmatic].
>It looks to me like he thinks of them all pragmatically.
Good point. Perhaps Carnap did not dwell extensively (and I bless him for
that) on his antipathies! The less tolerant (permissive) Grice of the 1980s,
and when provoked, only, :), could! Perhaps it was not good for his
system. The man was oversensitive, and to think that he had Schiffer's Remnants
of Meaning while he was in hospital makes you want to have brought him some
Wodehouse or something (Nurses should be aware of this).
I made a caricature of an unentire Mr. Puddle (referred to by Grice):
"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
neo-Carnap (you can call me neo-Grice anyday!) writes:
>I don't think Carnap or I would talk quite that way.
>It's not we put on different hats, it's just that we use
>languages, methods and tools which are appropriate to the
>problem at hand.
Mmm. Good point, and a good Aristotelian pedigree to it (seeing that R. B.
Jones rightly notes that most of neo-analytic philosophy is Aristotelian in
nature). I recall my tutor O. N. Guariglia rejoicing in dogmatising us
about that passage in Eth. Nich.: "This is NOT logic: don't expect me to be as
rigid as I was when I wrote the Analytica Priora. This is _softer_ stuff".
>Your Grice sounds worse than Carnap on the "unified language"
>front, admittedly only in philosophy, but perhaps more
Yes, it IS paradoxical. I'll have to revise what he said AGAINST unified
"lingo" (as I call it, when I have a headache as I have now! Sorry about
that!) in WoW:ii. Perhaps the unifying 'unity' as it were was more of an
exegetical thing. I do find or feel the sense of continuity, both in the
longitude and the latitude of ... not philosophy, but Grice! There are changes in
longitude (the early Grice, the middle Grice, the later Grice) but minimal
(he maintained his spatio-temporal continuity, on the whole). The changes
in latitude I may be more unable to detect because I _can_ be pretty
unified, when not having a headache!
R. B. Jones:
>I don't think it's difficult to find a lateral unity in
>philosophy without having to exorcise these demons.
>The lateral unity is surely in analytic method, and this is
>consistent with pragmatic minimalisms.
Good. I'm glad you see METHOD as a latitudinal unity. Grice was, and
self-advertised as being, _au fonde_, if that's the expression, 'deep down' but
it sounds vulgar (or too blatanty metaphorical) in English -- a
methodologist, so I like that. Here, incidentally, there IS a breach which is pretty
apparent, and recognised by him. He says in RE:WoW that meaning is a matter
of ANALYSIS, not THEORY. We follow him there. He is criticising Mrs. Jack
(but I hope his point is more general). So if this is strictly interpreted,
his loose uses of 'theory' etc. in things he wrote, have to be taken with
that caveat in mind. On the other hand, his "Method in philosophical
psychology" is NOT analysis; in that, at least, as I read it, I see Theory, and
theory, and more theory. Notably the introduction of psychological attitudes
as such, via Ramsification: not observational, but theoretical. So it seems
that we may want to qualify 'analysis' or allow that there are
sub-varieties of analysis for different 'sides' (for each latum) of the latitudinal
unity of philosophy. This looks like a fascinating topic, thanks R. B. Jones
for pointing it to me.
Or take Grice's caveats about FL vs. NL. "You are too formal", Putnam told
me, and it impressed him. But he adds, "But then," (or words), "I was
turning my interests to areas where formalism is less relevant: ethics,
notably". So your points are well taken.
On the 'legality' of Mimimalism an whether Grice is right in wanting to
call the Philosophical Trade Commission:
>But not unless it's dogmatic minimalism.
>And Grice's cure is itself a dogmatism.
The dogmatism of the laissez-faire (Feyerabend's anything-goism) indeed! We
don't want that! So neo-Grice will have his say as he looks back on his
R. B. Jones:
>Mathematicians work in set theory because it suits them
>Should they be castigated for doing so?
>They won't care if Grice does castigate them.
Well, depends on the meaning or implicature of 'castigate'. Just joking! I
think he is thinking that if a set-theoretical philosopher writes for the
referred Gricean Studies Journal (NO! I'm NOT contributing!) he (the
set-theoretical philosopher) may have to reply to Grice's queries such as:
Why is the answer to "Why is that blue?" and "Why is Grice called
comparable? (his examples against Extensionalism), etc.
Getting to grips with Hume (where the heart is):
>So you want ethics to be a branch of logic?
Yes! More Geometrico Demonstrata, as Spinoza dreamt about! But seriously,
don't mention them: the logicians! (Just joking). Oxford has at long last
got ridden of them (jocularly speaking) when instituting the "Chair of
Mathematical Logic" which no longer depends on Merton-based Sub-Faculty of
Philosophy! This is interesting because where I come from, "Mathematical Logic"
is indeed a subject-matter in the Dept of Mathematics in the Faculty of
Exact Sciences. So they won't hear about "ethics" on principle!
R. B. Jones on Kant's Critique of Practical Reason:
>Well, I'm not familiar with the story.
>The odds are that we are talking to cross purposes, just as
>in the case of Kripke's refutation of Carnap.
I'll have to learn more about THAT! But Grice is pretty precise (and short,
as it happens) on the logical foundations of morality. I wrote a precise
precis of it elsewhere, and I may repost some of the more formal material
here. The basic questions are pretty easy to swallow: that hypothetical
imperatives follow a logic of probabilism and desirability and that to
universalise them requires a 'one fell swoop', as it were.
R. B. Jones:
>But we will be stretched a bit thin if we take on ethics
But we HAVE to keep the aspidistra and lateral unity flying! (I love that
film with Helena Bonham Carter!)
Re: ethics and reason:
>I don't think there is any denial of that in Hume, or in
Will revise. Will revise what I did say, too. The topic is the very
validity of an inference for operators other than assertoric, or something. And
of course the distinction between mere utilitarian ethics and the properly
Kantian rationalistic variety that Grice endorsed. Unfortunately most of the
work by Grice in this area is joint (c) J. Baker and she is taking her time
to let the ideas out! (But I love her, and she has every right to do it!)
>[I]t looks like the demons will be fodder for debate for
Good. And I'll reply to your other when my headache subsides I hope!
J. L. Speranza
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