[hist-analytic] Reciprocity: Rousseau vs. Rawls: Re: Hobbesian

jlsperanza at aol.com jlsperanza at aol.com
Mon Jan 11 22:16:03 EST 2010

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To: hist-analytic <hist-analytic at simplelists.co.uk>
Sent: Mon, Jan 11, 2010 9:13 pm
Subject: Reciprocity: Rousseau vs. Rawls: Re: Hobbesian
Now back to the philosophy. What does this
What this entails is that a social contract based on pity as Rousseau
describes it is not suffient to entail reciprocity among those covered
by the "contract." Moreover, pity is not a political virtue; it is a 
virtue. However, for Rawls a political conception of justice entails
reciprocity: whence the clash between Rousseau and Rawls on reciprocity.


Some excellent thoughts in that post, Steve. Congrats. I will get back 
to the formal aspects as time goes by, as they say. I´m glad you took 
the "amorous" thing seriously, and I enjoyed your epistemic (I would 
prefer, "doxastic", since they seem to imply ´doxa´ or belief, rather 
than episteme proper) considerations.

I am still thinking about these issues, and I´m glad you found my 
thinking energetic. I was wondering about the somewhat odious use, by 
philosophers, of "objectivity" and the fact that they think that 
"inter-subjectivity" is all one may aim at. (I´m thinking of social 
philosophers of sorts). It would seem that this "inter-", in the 
inter-subjectivity refers back to my idea of "two´s company", i.e. that 
MUTUAL reciprocity is indeed dyadic, as it were. But when you speak of 
the Golden Rule, etc, I would not think that moralists or political 
philosophers who discussed issues of Hobbesian state of nature did 
consider, as you say, and I agree with you, this "inter-subjectivity" 
and went directly to some "collective" ´sense´ of the "social", rather 
than intersubjective, contract.

My thoughts of a Gricean nature have changed slightly after reading 
Chapman´s bio, which appeared only in 2006. She was able to uncover the 
original "Logic and Conversation" lectures that Grice kept in Berkeley, 
although they were handwritten (and tenuously so, if that´s the word) 
by Grice while in Oxford and lecturing on this -- as University 
Lecturer for the whole uni of Oxford -- back in 1966.

In these 1966, "Logic and Conversation", predating by a year his 
official William James Lectures with the same title of 1967, Grice is 
not yet clear about the Maxims of Conversation and the Four 
Conversational Categories, which he draws from Kant.

Instead, he seems to have been more charmingly confused. There were 
´desiderata´, Chapman claims, and notable mentions of a Principle of 
Benevolence, versus a Principle of Self-Love. I will get back with the 
good quotes on this, since in any case, Self-Love has such a Hobbesian 
ring to it, that I find irrepressibly charming.

(Recall that Grice was tutoring Strawson in his P. P. E. programme, 
Philosophy, Politics and Economics, back in the early 40s, so he, 
Grice, would be aware of much of the political philosophy expected from 
someone engaged in the provision of such a programme).

When I was studying "Philosophical Anthropology" -- there is such a 
thing, as taught by my mentor Mainetti, he edited his own views on what 
he called ¨Homo infirmus¨, and we studied Hobbes´s

            homo hominis lupus

quite a bit, so one cannot be wrong about the self-love thing.

I also enjoyed your thoughts about survival, as it were, where the 
individuals are merely struggling for continued operancy, as Grice 
calls it. (A non-operant one being a dead one).

I will revise your thoughts about reciprocity, as they involve the 
"erotic" relationship -- is "mutual" necessarily involving, two? I 
would think so -- cfr. Smith, Mutual Knowledge, Academic Press, 
containing Grice, Meaning Revisited. I have written quite a bit about 
this after a seminar I had to endure on a topic. In some postmodern 
quarters it´s all about reciprocal intersubjectivity of the mutual gaze 
of erotic desire, and some such big words.

Again, I would assume that when you speak of Bill and Mary KNOWING this 
or that, you would be happy with a weaker "assuming" or "believing" 
this or that, but you may require the factivity of ´know´ for your 
subsequent analyses. I will have to check that.

In any case, wouldn´t a good contract involve more than reciprocal 
actions? It seems that few of our social actions are ´reciprocal´ in 
the strict ´sense´-- i.e. only sense -- of the term.

I love the word "altruism", but one has to remember that "alter" is the 
other, and the alter ego is for Aristotle the friend. One friend too 
many, would be Aristotle´s word for a man who alleges to have more than 
ONE friend. Odd that. Apparently Judith Baker was fascinated by this, 
and Grice, WoW, credits her in his Eschatology essay, on her exegesis 
of alter ego in Aristotle.

Of course, the otherness of alterity can be extended to a plurarity of 
others, but for some reason, the postmoderns prefer to stick to The 
Other, rather than the others. Odd that.


I will reconsider your views on obligation, and I enjoyed your 
mentioning of OWING something. Indeed, I was fascinated to discover, 
some time ago, that "OUGHT", that Hare worshipped so, is indeed the 
mere past form preterite of OWE. So, owing seems to be the kernel 
notion that should be sufficient for what we are considering here.

I enjoy your criticism of Rawls. I don´t know much about his 
motivations for his "Justice". I am NOT familiar with the Harvard scene 
and how Rawls fit. I recall that his polemic with Nozick seems to have 
been a good one, and for some reason, I found Nozick fun to read the 
arguments of.

Rousseau was possibly confused. Indeed, pity seems to be a good one. 
And again, I don´t think he cared to distinguish between various levels 
of contracting or pacting -- social, political, or what have you -- 
even moral, or legal.

Grice on types of priority may be of use here. When Rawls speaks of 
political, I read, "legalistic", and when he opposes it to "moral" I 
think of Grice on "legal" versus "moral". Grice allows that while the 
legal ought may be epistemically prior to the moral ought, this should 
not entail that it is also ontologically prior. There are types of 
priority. Rawls´s concerns with metaphysical excrescences, as Grice 
would put it, seems to be a feature of much of the American pragmatist 
scene to which Rawls may have belonged. Even in Oxford, Grice would 
love to recall, "metaphysics" was a term of disrespect -- and D. F. 
Pears had to gather a few Oxonians to prove otherwise to the audience 
of the Third Programme (¨The nature of metaphysics", 1957, containing 
Grice on metaphysics).

But metaphysics is of course what you make of it. And I cannot read any 
of Rawls (his emblematic veil of ignorance, for example) without trying 
to go further than his "Methodological" restrictions and well into 
metaphysics proper.

The difference between Rousseau and Hobbes, too, seems to be one of 
analytic minds. The French tradition seems to have been less interested 
in sufficient-necessary conditional analysis of concepts. (Is there a 
French analytic philosophical tradition, one wonders?). And let´s 
recall in any case that Rousseau was a Swiss rather than French.

Oddly, the Romans cannot think of Hobbes, homo hominis lupus. They love 
a lupus, or rather a lupa, as the founder of their civilisation is 
called. Some say, though, that lupa is in Old Roman a euphemism for 
´prostitute´ for that is the woman who nurtured Romulus and Remus back 
in the day (of Aeneas). Lupi (wolves) can show a lot of pity, too -- in 
spite of Hobbes!

The Judaeo-Christian basis of Hobbes is obvious in his choice of 
"Leviathan" as title? I forget. I wish that book had been more 
influential where I come from than good ole Rousseau, I say!


J. L. Speranza
   for the Grice Circle, etc.


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