[hist-analytic] Carnap and Grice
Jlsperanza at aol.com
Jlsperanza at aol.com
Wed Feb 24 07:45:19 EST 2010
In a message dated 2/23/2010 5:47:45 P.M. Eastern Standard Time,
rbj at rbjones.com writes:
>We are heading for conflicts here between Grice and Carnap,
>which fall outside Carnap's conception of philosophy, and
>which I would suggest Carnap sidestep.
>The first problem is with Grice's antipathy to -isms.
>These are not disagreements about matters of fact, because
>most of these -isms if you track them down to a proposition
>it will be a proposition of metaphysics, and it will
>probably be in that part of metaphysics which Carnap does
>opt out of."
Or in perhaps a more tolerated jargon (!), they would be proposals he'd not
be ready to take up! This is serious because it does look like the minimal
propositions for each -ism would not be in the object-language. I wouldn't
say that "Every event has a mechanical cause" or something (for Mechanism,
say) is an object-language proposition. It looks more like a MP (meaning
postualate) surely sort-of-analytic and/or necessary.
>The upshot would be that Grice would reject an -ism and
>Carnap would fail to assert it, for it would be one of his
Yes. But of course he could find some proposals intriguing enough. I'm
pretty sure he would reject most of the proposals of the TWIN -isms, that
sometimes Grice fails to identity. Twin ism for Mechanism: Liberalism (qua
liberum arbitrium free will). Twin ism for Functionalism? Etc. I'm sure Dualism
(but perhaps not Monism) should feature somewhere. And we would think he
would reject Dualism, Carnap would. If the correct twin for Scepticism is
Dogmatism he may reject that, too.
Surely the subtlety here is that we do mean 'internal', object language
rejection. "It is not the case that every event has a material cause". It's
not external-external negation, as when you negate nonsense, coming out as
true: "It is not the case that Friday is in bed with Monday", or "It is not
the case that the Absolute is Lazy", or to use Ayer's example (in intro to
second edn. of his book LTL, "It is not the case that the Nothing nothings".
>So we might find Carnap denying that he is a physicalist (in
>Grice's terms) but continuing to use physicalistic language
>when it suited him.
>Possibly Grice would object to that practice, and hence
>would be objecting to Carnap's principle of tolerance.
Well, don't know. He has his Bootstrap. (This in google.books, "Reply To
Richards") which is pretty convoluted, but fun to understand: the
object-language and the meta-language have some correspondences, and it would be
unreasonable to throw too much onto the meta-language if it's not going, "at the
end of the day" (I hate that, and it's not used by Grice, but it does
here, since we are heading with Carnap and Grice, at the end of the day, for
the City of the Eternal Truth) to be expressible in the object-language. This
way, Grice writes, irreverently, "you pull up yourself up by your own
bootraps". Etc. He grants that he never proved the principle to be _valid_.
>However, the principle of tolerance is not for Carnap a
>proposition of philosophy, it is normative.
>So if they had a debate about this it would not be for
>Carnap a philosophical debate.
>If I were him I wouldn't.
I see. Metaphilosophical? Armen Marsoobian made his career on that! It's
all metaphilosophy for him! He commissions papers, joins conferences, etc.
And it's a Blackwell thing. It's a mixed bag, metaphilosophy, but it's out
there --. Perhaps Carnap could be engaged to a round or two in
metaphilosophical debate. I think, with Grice, that analytical metaphilosophy is all we
need, but that's another thing. The thing is out there to join in, etc. --
The whole point is to AVOID the normative ring to it (and in this sense,
metaphilosophy is an offspring of meta-ethics, but cfr. meta-logic, etc.).
>Something similar happens in relation to the conflict which
>you describe between Hume and Kant.
>Whether you can derive an "ought" from an "is" depends on the
>semantics of moral terms in natural languages.
>This therefore falls outside of Carnap's conception of
>philosophy, and he should have no philosophical axe to grind
>He might well still disagree with Kant on whether than can
>be done, but he could not do so as a philosopher according
>to his own notion of philosophy,
Well, that's a good one. As we discussed elsewhere, it may boil down to the
judgement-cum-stroke sign in authors like Frege. There seems to be an
element of ACCEPTANCE in the judgement stroke that SEEMS normative in
character. Why would we judge what we judge? Recall that for Kant, in some
interpretations, judgements feature large in areas like 'aesthetics': the
'judgement' of taste, for example, is objective in his view, and universal. So it's
not totally beyond reach. The question of the 'realisation' of this or that
lexeme of a, say, deontic operator -- alla Hintikka, Op, Pp, it is
obligatory that p, it is permissible that p, as to "ought" or "may" may be yet
another question. But there seem to be some recognised inferences in deontic
logic that one should tolerate if one is minimally interested in analytic
ethics, as it were. Or meta-ethics. The very interpretation of the operators
is yet another animal. But the fact that if it's obligatory we can yield
some other tenets, using two occurrences of the "not" operator in a sort of
'deontic' square of opposition, looks like basic predicate-calculus with just
a stroke or two attached to the content formulae. But of course I'm
>There are a lot of areas where we would find problems of this
>kind, where Grice's views are considered by Carnap just not
>to fall within Carnap's conception of philosophy (and
>possibly vice-versa) and so one has to hope from the point
>of view of their having a worthwhile conversation we would
>have to hope that the residue would be of sufficient interest
>and that each was prepared to leave alone the areas which
>either considered out of scope.
Don't know about Grice, but as JLS I'm more than ready and willing to look
for the appropriate quotes. Not just to prove the points ad hoc, but, I
wouldn't be negativistic. It boils down to find areas of common interest for
Carnap and Grice. We shouldn't get to the highest heights at the beginning.
Usually when you study philosophy, that's the last two questions in the
sotto-voce (cross) examination. First you have to show that you understand and
that you manipulate the symbols. I never was asked, for example, in my
various examinations in ethics, "And you, JL, do you give a damn?". I would
have thought the question appropriate external. This may relate to Oxford
extra-mural thing where everything is more or less tolerated!
>It is entirely possible that nothing would remain.
>Analytic philosophy in the second half of the twentieth
>century was almost engineered on the principle that anything
>is OK (open to discussion) so long as it gives no quarter to
>This has been my experience by and large, that there really
>is virtually no conversation which I can have with most
>philosophers because they cannot accept my language or my
>attitude toward language.
>I was hoping that Grice would be more accommodating, but
Oh, he _will_. The man got ONTO philosophy because he found Ayer _cool_.
Imagine Grice back in the 1930s in Oxford: Think BORE BORE BORE BORE
Imagine having to go to the War and be back 5 years after, grey hairs on
you, almost, about to start a thing. TENSION, nervousness, energy. He felt he
felt better with Austin and his ilk than Ayer and HIS ilk (All Souls
meetings). But they often would meet or see each other, for tea at Blackwell's
or something -- Oxford can be parrochial.
The one to blame there is possibly RYLE: He gave a bad name to positivism
and not by being one, precisely. But he belonged to an older generation.
Recall Ayer 1911, Grice 1913. Almost twins.
-- You know dons. You find the long lines of your tutees, you also find
that you have to go to the meeting of the Aristotelian Society and eventually
give a talk to the Oxford philosophy Society. You have to look for your
style: for a style of prose that allows you to expand on what you think is
vital. And Grice did that. You read "Remarks about the senses" early 1966, at
ease, and he manages to mingle questions of analytic methodology (this was
indeed in Butler's Analytic Philosophy), with concern with langauge,
various types, with semantic and pragmatic notions (meaning, entailment,
implication, implicature), with a view to the larger issues --. He was never a
bore, technically concerned with thinking inside the box. So HE is the man to
have a conversation, I'm telling you!
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