[hist-analytic] Grice on the intension/extension reduction

Jlsperanza at aol.com Jlsperanza at aol.com
Sun Feb 7 00:58:32 EST 2010


Further to the comparison Grice/Carnap -- a revisit of the bete noire Grice 
 selects to fight in his best 'gladiatorial' (to echo Jones's apt simile) 
manner  in "Reply to Richards"
 
Grice selects "Extensionalism", "a position imbued with the   
spirit of Nominalism and dear both to those who feel that (b) is no  more  
informative an answer to the question (a) than would be (d) as an  answer 
to  
(c)."
a:  Why is a pillar box  called 'red'?
b: Because it  is red.
c: And  why is that  person called 'Paul Grice'?
d: Because he is Paul  Grice.
The picture of Extensionalism Grice presents is:  "a world of  PARTICULARS 
as a domain stocked with tiny pellets ...  distinguish[ed]  by the clubs to 
which they belong". "The potential consequences  of the  possession of in 
fact 
UNEXEMPLIFIED features [or properties] would be  ...  the same."  One may 
want to "relieve a certain VACUOUS  predicate ... by  exploiting the  
NON-VACUOUSNESS of other  predicates which are constituents  in the 
definition of the 
original  vacuous predicate." Grice exemplifies with two  vacuous 
predicates: 
1  -- " ... is married to a daughter of an English queen and  a pope"; 2 -- 
"  
... is a climber on hands and knees of a 29,000 foot mountain."  By  
appealing to different "relations" to the 'primitive' predicates, one  can  
claim is 
such _distinct_ relations, rather than the empty set  which each vacuous  
predicate is made equivalent to. His objection to  this move has to do with 
what  he feels an adhocness in defining the  relations as involving 
NON-VACUOUS  
predicates. -- the relevant passage  is available as google books --. (p. 
70). A  second way out to the  alleged problem involves 'trivial' versus 
'non-trivial'  explanations:  "the explanatory opportunities for vacuous 
predicates 
depend on  their  embodiment in a system". His caveat here is purely 
ontological: "I   conjecture, but cannot demonstrate, that the only way to 
secure 
such a  system  would be to confer SPECIAL ONTOLOGICAL privilege upon the  
ENTITIES of PHYSICAL  SCIENCE..." -- But that's Eddington "non-visible"  
'table'. 
Grice notes: "It  looks AS IF states of affairs in the ...  scientific 
world 
need, for credibility,  support from the vulgar world  of ORDINARY 
OBSERVATION..." -- Eddington's  _visible_ 'table'.
And  this, he  feels would be an 'embellisment' in need of some  
justification."
 
Etc.
 
JL Speranza
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