[hist-analytic] The Logic of Reciprocity: David Lewis etc.

Baynesr at comcast.net Baynesr at comcast.net
Sun Jan 10 10:30:36 EST 2010

"Reciprocity" should be easy enough to formulate." 

It's like the weather: we should be able to do something about 

it (but what?). 

Reciprocity is fraught with difficulties at all levels. To take one 

example: Bill loves Mary and Mary loves Bill. At first it is easy 

to believe that they love each other. That seems clear enough, 

so reciprocity may be reduced to a form of conjunction. This is 

not so obvious. 

In my idiolect Mary can love Bill and Bill Mary but this is insufficient 

to make the claim that they are "in love" precisely because there 

is a missing sense of reciprocity, even in the binary case. 

 It is what is superadded to the conjunctive analysis that conceals the 

sense of ''reciprocity'; relevant to the political discussion. 

The notion, also, eludes David Lewis. For example, he says that 

2) A indicates to both of us that you and I have reason to believe that 

A holds 

applied to 

4). A indicates to both of us that each of us has reason to believe that you will return 


5) A indicates to both of us that each of us has reaobs to believe that the 

other has reason to berlieve that you will return. 

Not only do I not see this, I think it's wrong. Later, he gives one example 

where he may have the connection right (op cit p. 55); but in this instance 

I see no warrant for believing that this is equivalent to 

A gives reason to believe of each other that he believes A will return. 



Each has reason to believe of the other that he believes that A will return. 

These last two are authentic reciprocals, not (5). 

This is just a logical or grammatical observation; it is debatable but 

recirocity is tied essentiall to "each other" and this eludes Lewis. He 

picks up on this without realizing it is a problem. 

By the way, in ol' style government and binding theory reciprocals 

have an instructive lesson for political theorist interested in 

distinguishing convention and a contracts. In 'They love each other" 

you have reciprocity that yields obligation. I don' think this is the 

case with the merely conjunctive interpretation of binary reciprocity. 

1. Each of them loves the other 

2. They love each other 

3. Each of them loves the others 

The think to notice is that in a world of two individuals (1) and 

(2) are synonomous. But notice that in a world of ten individuals 

(2) and (3) are not equivalent: (2) doesn't imply all possible 

pairwise hittings. In (3) all possible pariwise hittings are 

fulfilled. Compare here H.. Lasnik's terrific but a little dated 

paper "The Logical Structure of Reciprocal Sentences in 

English" in Essays on Anaphora, Klewer, 1989, p. 38. 

Now don't this all too seriously in the political context BUT 

note that insofar as reciprocity is obligation creating we cannot 

derive reciprocity like (3) from (1); we would expect this 

on a simple conjunctive analysis. I don't care to expand much 

more at this point, except to say reciprocity is a very deep 

notion and the grammatical features suffuse our understanding 

of the case where obligation is at issue. 


Steve Bayne 

----- Original Message ----- 
From: jlsperanza at aol.com 
To: hist-analytic at simplelists.co.uk 
Sent: Sunday, January 10, 2010 8:37:46 AM GMT -05:00 US/Canada Eastern 
Subject: The Immanuel 


-----Original Message----- 
From: Baynesr at comcast.net 
To: hist-analytic at simplelists.co.uk 
Sent: Sat, Jan 9, 2010 9:31 pm 
Subject: Re: Grice´s Highway Code 
right now I'm taking a closer look at reciprocity; 
oddly (?) it seems rooted in Biblical texts, at least insofar as it has 
influenced the west. The nature of reciprocity is, of course, clear in 
Alan Donagan supplies a basis I think for making a connection. 


That would be the Golden Rule, right? I think I´ve read things about 
that in, of all journals, Philosophy. This journal was edited or still 
is by the Royal Society of Philosophy, or Royal Association, I forget. 
The old-fashioned shaped volumes always appealed me: and found that 
most of the articles published therein were particularly _English_, 
rather than aimed at a international audience like those in _Mind_ were. 

I _think_ what Ayers calls the Lesbian Rule is a bit like the Golden 
rule, but I would have to revise that. If the Golden Rule, yes, indeed, 
I would think it has a base in the Old Testament (Don´t say ¨Biblical¨ 
unless you mean the whole thing! Just kidding). But on second thoughts, 
I think this thing is _New_ Testament stuff. St Matthew on do not do to 
others what you do not want to be done on you, or King James words to 
that perlocutionary effect. 

I recall I was once exposing Grice´s "conversational maxims" regarding 
honesty or trustworthiness on this at a seminar with O. N. Guariglia -- 
he had my ¨German Grice¨ published in his journal, and cited by 
Habermas in his MIT collection --. And Guariglia would minimise my 
exposition by saying: That´s St. Matthew. Surely we need a stronger 
foundation than that. 

Recall Grice (WoW) on not abiding by ´be trustful´. The one you are not 
letting down is yourself, not your reciprocal partner! 

On the other hand, ´generality´ of application of a procedure, as Grice 
dubs it in "Method", _seems_ important. Recall that his pirots are 
really a Carnapian expression for 


and that his ¨karulize elatically¨ may be translated as 

        act rationally 

-- So Grice is looking for a code, as it were, or "immanuel" as he 
charmingly calls it -- in a reference that is both Biblical and 
Kantian, as Chapman notes -- her _Grice_) where reciprocity somehow 

Now why would it? 

This may relate to his second out of three concerns: generality of 
psychological predicates involved in these procedures. We do not want a 
moral or political (?) ´code´ to involve predicates which are specific 
to an office. So, for any pirot, we are discussing things that any 
pirot should expect any other pirot (including itself) would abide by. 

Thus, "be trustful", once justifiable by these constraints can become a 
maxim or commandment (as I would prefer) of this immanuel. My Palacios 
paper I entitled, "The Conversational Immanuel", since I was interested 
in a moral -- or political -- grounding of the ten conversational 
maxims. I would also use the expression "decalogue", to mark the 
Biblical reference. 

Oddly, when reading Chapman´s bio of Grice I was amused by this 
reference to Chapman to a note that Grice wrote on his bank statement 
of account. It read: "We may imagine that Moses brought something more 
than the 10 comms (sic) as he descended from Mt. Sinai", or words to 
that perlocutionary effect. 

"Reciprocity" should be easy enough to formulate. It should involve 
"transitive" actions as it were with at least two arguments for at 
least two pirots. "X: Do not betray your friendship with Y". In Oxford, 
the polemic always was -- particularly I read about it in the online 
obit of S. N. Hampshire -- that one should rather not betray one´s 
friend than the Kantian, ´say the truth´. Grice pokes fun on this 
aspect of Kantian rigidity that he found difficult to digest, and as 
having itself attracted some criticism from Oxford quarters other than 
his own. 

So it would be interesting how post-Kantian takes on reciprocity 
relate. You say it´s "clear in Kant". One thing that is not clear with 
me and Kant is his "apperceptual subject". In the case of the 
theoretical or alethic or pure as he prefers, reason, it´s always the 
"I think" of apperception. This is the Kantian "Subjekt" par 
excellence. In the case of his practical reason, I would think 
something ditto can be claimed for. In this case, the first step for a 
reciprocity constraint would be to extend the "I" of the Subjekt of 
apperception to something like a second person, the Thou. This is 
possibly done by Buber, but I´m not sure a Kantian would swallow such 
phenomenological load! 



J. L. Speranza 
   for the Grice Circle 
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