[hist-analytic] Grice on "the king of France" as non-controversial common-ground, etc.

Jlsperanza at aol.com Jlsperanza at aol.com
Tue Feb 9 15:03:01 EST 2010

In a message dated 2/9/2010 10:08:35 A.M. Eastern Standard Time,  
rbj at rbjones.com writes:

This  looks like a muddle to me JL.
Iota is usually a "VBTO", a variable binding  term operator, and would be 
to make a definite description (ix. Kx)  from a predicate such as
"King of France"
The whole would then be  rendered:
~B(ix. Kx)
If you want to demonstrate  Russell's theory of descriptions by such a 
then its tricky,  because the bound variable in the description has to be 
outside (the  description) for the assertion, so there isn't any easy way 
abbreviate  the full statement, which would have been something  like:
(there exists a unique x such that Kx), and ~B  x
Problems with the scope of x there, so you spell it out  :
exists x s.t. Kx and (forall y Ky => y = x) and  ~Bx
I don't think there is any strictly correct transcription into a FL of  
something which in natural languages yields sentences of doubtful  status.
I don't think that it is true to say that:
The King of France is not bald
means the same as:
Its  not true that the King of France is bald
The latter is less contentious  than the former, to which I would not 
Neither Russell's theory of  descriptions not the use of a definite 
operator gets this  distinction, for those of us who don't like to affirm 
falsity of  the  "the king of france is bald".
---- I discussed this elsewhere under "Shuga-free". Grice discusses Sluga's 
 proposal in his "Presupposition and Conversational Implicature" but 
dropped the  Sluga reference -- actually it had come out as "Shuga" in the Cole 
book -- in  WoW:xviii --

What Grice learnt from "Shuga" (as I call Sluga) had to do with  the  
'alleged' ambiguity of 'negation'. In order to deal with the  ambiguity of

"The author of "Sein und Zeit"  wears a  moustache"

"Shuga" thought it important to distinguish the  formal treatment of 'the'  
('der', in German). According to _one_  account, 'the' comes out as a 
(this is the option Grice  favoured). According to the other account, 'the' 
(or  'der') comes out  as a _quantifier_. 

In symbols

(ix)Zx  & Mx

there is an x such that x is the author of 'Sein und Zeit' and x  wears a  

where the predicates Z and  M are extensionally defined  as:

Z:  ... is  the author of "Sein und Zeit"
M: ... wears a  moustache.

The influence of Frege is obvious here, since Grice especially  liked of  
"Shuga" that he had read Frege _well_ (in the  vernacular).

Hans Sluga should be grateful that Grice gricefully  misquoted his surname  
as "Shuga", rather than "Slug".
J. L. Speranza

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