[hist-analytic] Reciprocity: Rousseau vs. Locke

Baynesr at comcast.net Baynesr at comcast.net
Wed Jan 27 17:33:15 EST 2010

Yes, Roland Hall! I had forgotten about the journal 
The Locke Newsletter. No one is "hawking" it but it's 
a good journal. 

Locke is a liberal in the "classical sense" as I and 
others use this term. Locke brings us Aristotle in 
a post Cartesian world. I like him. He's "solid" and 
doesn't try to sweep philosophy under the rug with a 

I note your mention of Bennett. If you mean the guy 
who did that sixties book on Kant then I know who 
you mean. His treatment of Strawson is superb and 
rich in what it suggests for possible future discussion 
that didn't occur. Gareth Evans, maybe. 

On the type/token approach. I have been attracted to 
Scheffler on inscriptional approaches to use/mention. 
It's pure nominalism, semantically (at least in one 

I'm using Durkheim's definition of 'socialism' for my 
book. No time to quote it now. 

I can't get structure out of my mind. Hope this 
doesn't become a diversion. It's the sort of thing 
that has kept me from finishing anything for thirty 
years or more. 

By the way, a look at the Utopians, the French in 
particular is extraordinarily illuminating. The 
French are my favorite political thinkers, although 
recently Karl Mannheim has impressed me a great 
deal; and as you may know, I think Hobbes is THE
man to answer. 


----- Original Message ----- 
From: Jlsperanza at aol.com 
To: hist-analytic at simplelists.co.uk 
Sent: Monday, January 25, 2010 11:34:27 AM GMT -08:00 US/Canada Pacific 
Subject: Re: Reciprocity: Rousseau vs. Locke 

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 


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 

(no rule) 

           (the realm of reciprocity) 

                                (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! 


JL Speranza 


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