[hist-analytic] Reciprocity: Rousseau vs. Locke

Jlsperanza at aol.com Jlsperanza at aol.com
Mon Jan 25 14:34:27 EST 2010



In a message dated 1/25/2010 1:14:20 P.M. Eastern Standard Time,  
Baynesr at comcast.net writes:

/Locke  divide with respect to 
reciprocity. If anyone knows of a literature  detailing 
the difference please let me know. 
 
----
 
R. Hall!
 
R. Hall KNOWS _all_ the literature concerning Locke. He is, after all, the  
editor of one of the most charming philosophical journals ever invented,  
founded, and published in England: The Locke Newsletter. I brought up reading 
 that newsletter.
 
I think Locke is THE liberalist _par excellence_.

My paper published for "Jabberwocky" was mainly about Lewis Carroll --  but 
also about John Locke. Hey, after all both were "Students" of Christ  
Church.
 
My paper uses "liberalism" but in a jocular vein. You see, Jonathan  
Bennett (the genius born in New Zealand) has his commentary on Locke. But  he also 
was a Gricean at weekends. He has this essay on Grice for the  "Foundations 
of Language" journal, which he called
 
   "meaning-NOMINALISM".
 
Drawing on Bennett, I called Locke-Carroll-Grice views  meaning-LIBERALISM.
 
For Bennett, meaning nominalism amounts to the mere belief that the meaning 
 of a TOKEN is prior to the meaning of a TYPE.
 
Meaning LIBERALISM, on the other hand, opposes itself to a monster created  
by A. G. N. Flew (a tutee of Grice, as it happens): "meaning ANARCHISM", on 
the  one hand -- Flew's reference to Humpty Dumpty as a meaning-anarchist 
in a  footnote to his Language and Logic series. On the other hand, meaning 
LIBERALISM  contrasts with Meaning-SOCIALISM. 
 
I never met a meaning-socialist, unless I count a philosopher or two whom I 
 met who referred to 'language' or the 'dictionary' as an institution.
 
-----
 
So LIBERALISM stands as the mesotes or golden means between these two  
extremes
 
 
anarchism
(no rule)
 
                liberalism
           (the realm of  reciprocity)
 
 
                                     socialism
                                 (authority overriding
                                  intersubjective reciprocity)
 
 
 
----
 
I was fascinated to trace the LIBERAL roots of Locke on meaning.

His liberal views on contract, social contract (or pact, as he  prefers), 
his views on tolerance, his defence of private property, are all well  known, 
if difficult to analyse in detail. But  his views of meaning. Why  are they 
LIBERAL?
 
Well, there's the notion of freedom. Unless you use 'freedom', you are not  
a real liberal. And Locke does. There is this passage in Essay Concerning  
Human(e) Understanding (the fascimile of the original read "Humane", not 
"Human"  -- this always amused me) where he claims that
 
   "every speaker has the FREEDOM to make
    his words stand for any ideas he pleases"
 
This is the ad-placitum of the mediaevalists, but with a twist.
 
So far so good.
 
But Bennett in his _Locke_ book, goes on to provide a further Gricean, or  
paleo-Gricean link. This freedom is somewhat limited by the reciprocity that 
the  speaker (or utterer) creates with his addressee. There is some 
primitive  conception of the role that the belief on the part of the addressee that 
the  utterer will be held to entertain this or that idea that prevails.

It's not surprising then that Alston, in his "Philosophy of Language"  
cares to cite Grice (and this is 1962 or 1964) in a footnote to his chapter on  
Locke. "A modern version of the ideationist view of language is found in 
Grice,  "Meaning"").
 
On the other hand, Rousseau, as Bayne knows, is ALL about pity,  
benevolence, and ... more pity!
 
Cheers,
 
JL Speranza
 
 
 

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