[hist-analytic] The Cat Sat On The Mat

jlsperanza at aol.com jlsperanza at aol.com
Sun Jan 17 15:51:14 EST 2010

In a message dated 1/17/2010 10:25:48  A.M. Eastern Standard Time, 
Baynesr at comcast.net writes:
Sabine is very good,  e.g., but 
for now its gotta be just a matter of slogging through stuff I  read when I 
young while in a hurry to get on with how 'the' fits in with  'the cat is 
on the mat'.  

Loved that! We _are_ kindred spirits. I even think I found, in I think,  
Toulmin, a diagramme of the thing which pleased me
           O    O
        =           =
I later learned that the example, which apparently amused, as it should,  
Witters (Grice for "Wittgenstein") is the fare of the manuals to teach you  
English as a "native speaker", i.e. things used as textbooks in Anglo 
schools. I  don't know. I never saw it in context.
The phrase
   "The cat is on the mat"
is much more abstract than
    "The cat _sat_ on the mat"
hence my reference in the header. For this supports the idea that it's a  
rhythmical, prosodic, rhymical thing in mind. The /a/ in  cAt sAt mAt
Ditto, where I come from we use those rhymes a lot, but for us "native"  
I eventually got happy with my analysis of Cat in the Mat in my PhD! I may  
even have cited that example. What I do recall is my dropping off, just to 
show  off, all the good, yet hard to read, to some, work by 
        C. A. B. Peacocke.
As you say, lots of things can be a priori for Kant. And almost anything  
can be "conceptual" and "perceptual" for Peacocke.

So he ends up analysing -- and I combined it with Grice/Myro on  
'propositional complex' in "Reply to Richards" as
<the> CAT [perceived as FURRY, WHITE, ...]
          predicate dyadic,  SIT -- tense, -PRESENT, i.e. not present, past.
         on the -- repeat analysis  of iota operator for 'the' of 'the' mat
          MAT [perceived as  FURRY, WHITE, ...]
I was pretty disappointed when I tried to follow Austin, rather than Grice  
-- recall their exchange:
      Grice: Honest, chap. I don't give a hoot  what the dictionary says.
      Austin. And that's where you make your BIG  mistake.
For my then very poor dictionary -- the Longman Dictionary of Contemporary  
English -- I'm not using contemporary anymore -- read in ways that I could  
replace, "The cat is or sat on the mat" as
   cat: "nasty woman"
   mat:  "to be in the mat", to be punished.
I could not get out of my head the horribly 'a priori evil' scenario of the 
J. L. Speranza

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