[hist-analytic] Positivism in 21th.-Century Analytic Philosophy
Roger Bishop Jones
rbj at rbjones.com
Thu Feb 4 12:32:14 EST 2010
On Tuesday 02 Feb 2010 22:21, Jlsperanza at aol.com wrote:
> I love the IDEA of a unified science if that's just what it was supposed to
> mean: One Big Science.
I have to admit, having glanced back at my extremely concise notes,
that it it all bound up with reductionism in a sense (the language of unified
science was supposed to be physicalistic, i,e, materialistic)
very close to the one which Grice abhors.
> It may have to do also with one of the 'betes
> noires' Grice encounters. In your pdf you mention "Gladiators", but let's
> not forget "Naturalism". It seems that
> and perhaps
> -- Betes noires are for Grice, reductive schemes ending in -ism --
> Reductionism being the blackest of them all.
We talked about this last year on hist-analytic I see.
The precise abhorrence you quote Grice as relating there is to:
the idea that semantic
concepts are unsatisfactory or even
*unless* they can be provided with
interpretations in terms of some predetermined,
privileged, and favored array of concepts;
This is something which Grice _thinks_ he has not done.
Its not clear whether he thinks it illegitimate, undoable, or just
In our present conversation we need also to consider whether this kind of
reductive analysis is something which Carnap accepted/did/found interesting.
This seems to me uncertain.
Do you get out of Grice's crosshairs if you are a pluralistic reductionist,
i.e. at any moment you are reducing to a single kind of thing, but then at the
next moment you will by trying it out on another single kind of thing?
I may be worth considering in this Grice's interest in the causal theory of
perception, for it seems to me that is a move conciliatory to logical
Austin's attack in Sense and Sensibila is aimed primarily at the logical
positivists, and it fits my gladiatorial category because Austin doesn't care
what Ayer means by "directly perceive" he will refute him by reference to what
it actually means, in "ordinary" language, ignoring what philosophers mean by
it and what a scientist might easily have meant by it.
Grice's conciliatory gesture is to try to make sense of causal theories, the
essence one might say of which is to explain the details of how perception is
mediated by causal processes (and hence not unmediated, and hence reasonably
describable as not direct).
> _are_ the banners of Scientism (or the Devil of Scientism). But I'll
> I enjoyed your distinctions between 'positivism' and 'positive'. And your
> idea of 'epistemic retreat'. I love that. It's indeed the 'ataraxia' of the
> sceptics, on the sort of negative side -- in that it may lead to non-action
> -- but it's also the need to take things at ease, without a sense of
> _urgency_. I feel philosophers _need_ a retreat. The Academy of Plato
> _was_ a retreat -- perhaps more so than Aristotle's Lycaeum. It is
> noticeable how the physical geography of Athens -- Socrates in the public
> agora, Plato way out in the groves of Academos, Aristotle back to the
> hustle and bustle of the Lycaeum -- tell of things.
> Etc. -- the ps thing was meant as a ps to my two other posts, I think,
> "Whither" and "Retrospects and to focus the thread into the things that
> matter you! :)
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