[hist-analytic] Who Framed Carnap? (Was: Grice)
Jlsperanza at aol.com
Jlsperanza at aol.com
Sun Feb 28 17:47:13 EST 2010
In a message dated 2/28/2010 4:42:35 _rbj at rbjones.com_
(mailto:rbj at rbjones.com) writes: "I have to say that I think ['objective'] a better term for
the purpose ... It is the hallmark of the kind of metaphysical ontology from
which Carnap abstains that it claims that certain ontological principles
are "objective" rather than "conventional", i.e. in Carnap's language: that
these truths are not internal to some "linguistic framework" but are (in
his term) external.
I love it! I would, of course, be careful with 'Objectivism', one of the
blachest betes of all time (alla Moby Dick -- the _white_ bete). His twin,
Subjectivism, is pretty vicious, they say, though. I'm using 'frame' because
you do use it -- "framework" -- and this brought Carnap back to the fore
when Davidson started to reconsider conceptual schemes -- cfr.
'conceptual-role semantics? R. E. G. -- in view of hot topics like Lakatos's
incommensurability of 'paradigms', say.
I get the internal/external (which I think it relates to H. L. A. Hart, of
all people) distinction, but the 'conventional' may need some refining.
Grice and Carnap indeed 'allow' for 'convention' to be a matter of just one
individual. Bayne may object that one cannot hold a reciprocal convention
with yourself, but that's _Lewis_'s problem!
E.g. this bit by Grice Carnap WOULD ***SURELY**** dub 'conventional'. Grice
says, "I can invent a language, call it "Deutero-Esperanto": I lay down
what's proper; that makes me the master of it." He is, sadly, criticising the
idea that 'meaning' HAS to do with 'convention'. But surely Carnap's take
here is more in agreement with the etymology of 'convention', I would think.
Utterer (user of language) CONVENES to use "glory" to mean "a
nice-knockdown argument". There may be tweaks one may need to have utterer's intentions
self-addressed to the utterer himself, etc. But those seem minor. So we
may need a better antonym for 'conventional'. Since NOTHING is conventional
in Grice's sense, I don't think we do!
(But we can call it 'natural'!?)
And then there's Putnam and zillions more on
the objective-subjective distinction. ('inter-subjective' NOT ALLOWED, :)).
For there is a way in which Grice, when constructing "Deutero-Esperanto",
is the SUBJECT.
"glory" means, subjectively, "a nice known-down argument".
---- Again, there may be a few refinements to tweak in here. As a matter of
fact, I dwelt with them extensively in "Jabberwocky" (The Journal of the
Lewis Carroll Society, vol. 5)
This is not really "subjective", since the Egg is after all talking to
Alice, but still.
--- I owe the inspiration for this to D. Davidson's thing for the PGRICE
festschrift, his "Nice derangement of epitaphs", which he sadly later
reprinted in his own collection, making the festschrift less of a valuable thing.
Festchrifters should SWEAR they are not going to do that!)
Davidson writes of 'glory'
"The Egg cannot MEAN that there is a nice knock-down argument for Alice,
because he says so. He says, when Alice confesses, "I don't know what you
mean by 'glory'", "Of course you don't, until I tell you."
Davidson analyses this transparently, naively enough:
The Egg KNOWS or believes that Alice does NOT Know
the T-(Tarski-disquotational scheme)
"There's x for you!" iff "There's glory/a nice knockdown
argument for Alice.
--- Since he is however supposed to be intending that Alice will form that
belief (i.e. that what she was told was that there is nice knock-down
argument for her, rather than 'glory'), this is reductio ad absurdum.
However, he later says,
--- I titled my paper to the Lewis Carroll Society: "Impenetrability"
because glory bores me.
When he says this, he has already a little ditty to offer Alice
In the springtime, when the leaves are green
I hope you tell me what you mean.
"Thank you", says Alice.
So, when he lectures Alice on "It was brillig..." in full, he concludes,
"What's that?", said Alice. Suspecting it was one of the Egg's little
He says: By impenetrability I mean (words), that "we have already talked
quite a bit about this and that it's almost tea time, and I'm feeling both
pretty thirsty and hungry, I would think we sojourn to a different scenario
where we could at ease reconsider this or that in the more comfortable
setting of a rendez-vous, or something."
"Quite a few things for a word to mean."
"Oh, when I have a word meaning _that_ much for me, I pay them extra."
J. L. Speranza
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