Jlsperanza at aol.com
Jlsperanza at aol.com
Thu Jan 7 18:20:09 EST 2010
In a message dated 1/7/2010 5:28:26 P.M. Eastern Standard Time,
danny.frederick at btinternet.com writes:
It is not quite right to say that, according to Popper, it is only when "p"
has been falsified that we achieve growth in our objective knowledge of
things. It is the ATTEMPT to falsify that yields knowledge, whatever the
Thank you. Indeed, a weaker claim. I think I like that. But then, we know
that 'knowledge' for Popper is hardly a factive.
Grice never acknowledged (then why would he? the reference is so obscure!)
the Kiparskys on 'factive', and I haven't checked the OED2 or OED3 to
check the earlier uses of 'factive'. I would think it a fact that the Kiparskys
did not coin anything.
Grice refers to 'factives' twice in WoW: regarding 'mean' in "Meaning
If the black cloud means rains, then rain.
(or words to that effect. More formally -- cfr. "If you can't put it in
symbols it's not worth saying" -- ascribed to Grice in Strawson's obit in The
Times -- obit of Strawson, I mean:
if p means q, q
Of course, his beloved utterer's occasion-meaning is not factive in this
'sense' and that troubled Grice slightly:
By uttering, "There's a dark cloud up there", the utterer means that
it is about to rain.
-- Makes little sense. We would need to prove that nobody can speak BUT the
truth, which in the case of future contingents would be otiose if not
--- The other occasion where he uses 'factive' is in his earlier,
"Presupposition and conversational implicature", which he wrote, he says, in 1970,
and revised in 1987. If the 1970 transcript keeps or already has the ref.
to 'factive', this is a good place to remember the Kiparsky reference, for it
shows the "American formalist Grice" at his best, keeping a track on
'recent advances in linguistics and logic" which he presents as the official
excuse for leaving Oxford. (Call me ultra-Gricean, but I CAN'T find an excuse
to leave Oxford!)
Kiparsky, Paul, & Carol Kiparsky. "Fact"
in "Recent Advances in Linguistics", 1968,
ed. Bierwisch and Heidolph. Mouton
[Kiparskys are into predicate logic of the generative semantic school along
with L. Horn, etc. -- crucial for anyone interested in the history of
linguistics -- American school].
The passage by Grice is as follows, and I would like to Play Popper (and
Lakatos and his paradigm research programme) with these examples or other,
even with Popper 'try to refute'
Grice: "There is in fact, an enormous range of cases
in which the questions about presuppositions arise,
not least in connection with psychological verbs"
--- as "proving" is. Or "deriving" is. Forget momentarily, D. Frederick,
your good emphasis on 'mechanical' derivations and the old mathematicians'
use of 'provable' and 'unprovable' re: Fermat or Goedel).
"One can distinguish, perhaps, a number
of such cases in connection with
psychological verbs." ...
"Supposing, however, I take the verb
[cfr. Speranza, proving. JLS]
"and I say,
(2) Somebody discovered that the
roof was leaking.
--- [cfr. (3) The technician proved
that there was something wrong
with my television set. JLS]
"Here, it is not LOGICALLY POSSIBLE
my emphasis. JLS] to discover that one's
roof is leaking unless one's roof is
Grice refers to this as "logical implication"
-- cfr. D. S. M. Wilson, "Implication and Implicature".
Grice goes on:
For some reason, he did not take 'discover' as a factive, as I or the
Kiparskys would. Instead Grice writes:
"Then there is a[nother] case, which perhaps is exemplified
by the word 'know',"
[but cfr. Popper's idiolect on 'objective knowledge', and yes, cfr
'proving', which acts like 'know' in this, _pace_ D. Frederick, at
least in some idiolects. JLS]
"... in which to say that somebody did know that so-and-so
was the case and to say that he did not know that so-and-so
was the case BOTH imply that it was the case. This is a specimen,
I THINK [emphasis mine. JLS] of the kind of verb that has been
called _factive_ [emphasis Grice's]" (WoW, p. 279)
I disagree in that in my idiolect, "Jack did not know that Jill was
pregnant because she wasn't. Cf. Harnish:
Jack: I didn't know you were pregnant.
Jill: You still don't.
[cfr. Grice on Jack and Jill in "Aspects of Reason"]
Grice continues to consider various other cases. I love him when he says he
is going 'idle', alla linguistic botanising, when he considers
(4) He thought he regretted his father's death,
but it afterwards turned out that he didn't.
"As far as (4) makes sense, (4) would, I think, still
imply the committal to his father's death. But I am
not sure [about this] and perhaps [this should] not matter
The cheek! Of course it matters. It's what philosophy is made for! And
--- So now for 'proving':
for Popper -- I have to rush now, sorry -- Swimming Pool Library calls! --:
"Popper proved that p"
"Poppper disproved that p"
"Lakatos proved that p"
"The research paradigm in which Lakatos
is immersed disproves that p"
and some such.
In a blog, N. Allott thinks that Grice is referring to "Hamsphire" when he
writes "Shropshire" (in Aspects of Reason) as providing a 'proof' of the
immortality of the soul, but I don't think he did mean Hampshire. But anyway,
to think that philosophers freely used proof like that is enough to want
to justify the Americans when they mistranslated Rowlings' "Harry Potter and
the philosopher's stone" into "Harry Potter's and the wizard's stone".
J. L. Speranza
for the Grice Club
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