[hist-analytic] Grice's Bêtes Noires: the Twelve of Them, and, in strict Order of Appearance

Roger Bishop Jones rbj at rbjones.com
Tue Feb 23 16:09:55 EST 2010

On Monday 22 Feb 2010 21:33, Jlsperanza at aol.com wrote:

> In a message dated 2/22/2010 1:22:32 P.M. Eastern
>  Standard Time, rbj at rbjones.com writes:
> if the idea of pluralistic minimalism
> could be  made clear to Grice, would he be more tolerant
>  of such minimalisms than he  is of (what I like to call)
>  dogmatic minimalisms?
> --- Of course, Roger!
> You are making Grice sound like an ogre, if that's the
>  word! He would be willing to _talk_. He did, most of his
>  life!

I think my tone is consistent with his:

"After a more tolerant (permissive) middle age, I have come 
to entertain a strong opposition to them all..."

> Just a few points!
> ---- When you say that he doesn't understand ... how
>  someone may be Phenomenalist and Materialist. Let's go
>  back to that page 80. I don't think we NEED p. 81, just
>  _now_.
> He is listing 'demons':
>   -- Phenomanlism
>   -- Materialism
> and he says that he is finding an antipathy for them all.
>  A "twelvefold antipathy" he writes. He finds it
>  agreeable, as it were, to refer to his 'twelvefold
>  antipathy' to be directed towards "Minimalism". So I
>  would make a distinction between your use of
>             'minimisation'
> --- for it's the whole totally black bete noire of the
>  -ism that repelled Grice (on his way to the City of
>  Eternal Truth, as he ironically puts it of course --
>  it's all a parody of Bunyan's boring protestant
>  booklet!)

I don't understand the point you are making here about my 
use of the word "minimisation".  In this context I intend 
only to mean by it the adoption of some minimalism.

> So, he is having those demons. And he has to have a
>  caveat.
> "I'm not saying I ever met one person who personified
>  them all" (or something).
> And _then_ he adds, "for, perhaps it is difficult to see
>  how someone  can provide support to both Materialism and
>  Phenomenalism".
> So, while he would appreciate your distinctions, he is
>  just indeed, merely pointing out that his is not a
>  'strawman' or more of a 'strawman' than it needs  be.
>  But I'll re-read your minimalisations with interest. At
>  this point one  wonders about

But I want him not to have appreciated the distinction, 
because if he has appreciated it and has not qualified his 
antipathy then I would have to conclude that he is opposed 
to the -isms even if they are pluralistic and/or pragmatic 
rather than dogmatic.

If that were the case then the prospects for concord would 
be much diminished, and even those for profitable 
conversation might be at risk.

>    Pragmatism!
> --- !
> Now, in terms of Carnap.
> You are saying that
>    Minimalism
> can wear many 'guises': there's a dogmatic Minimalism,
>  and other: pluralistic and pragmatism.

I don't say that he makes that distinction.
It looks to me like he thinks of them all pragmatically.

> I would think he would, alas, have
>    Pluralism
> as a bete noire. For he is saying, "a man, if a
>  philosopher, and virtuous, is _entire_." One is not sure
>  what he means, but I think he means consistency  (in his
>  dogmas, if you wish). We have to be careful when we
>  speak of 'dogmas'  with Grice. Whoelse or elsewho, would
>  have written something with the typically  British
>  spelling, "In defence of a dogma" and get away with it.
>  (Cfr. Grandy on  underdogma as cited by Grice
>  WoW:Mean.Rev.).
> So, he would NOT have favoured someone (I think his name
>  is "Puddle") 'going':
>    "Oh, I'm a materialist in _metaphysics_,
>       when since on Thursdays I'm also
>       teaching the Ethics seminar (he is
>       on sabbatical, Harry) I am a
>       non-naturalist to appease the
>       Moorean among by pre-pubescent
>       students".

I don't think Carnap or I would talk quite that way.
Its not we put on different hats, its just that we use 
languages, methods and tools which are appropriate to the 
problem at hand.

You Grice sound worse than Carnap on the "unified language" 
front, admittedly only in philosophy, but perhaps more 

I don't think its difficult to find a lateral unity in 
philosophy without having to exorcise these demons.
The lateral unity is surely in analytic method, and this is 
consistent with pragmatic minimalisms.
> So one has to be careful.
> This leaves us with Minimalism, as it stood (for him).
> He is precise about Minimalism. In GriceClub, etc -- if
>  we do search, etc. -- there's Trade, which is a word
>  Grice uses for the point. It's a pretty complex simile,
>  and I have to work on this for each of the 12 betes. But
>  his idea is that each bete is a protectionist, and that
>  as such she should be labelled a 'criminal'. And the
>  place to sue her is the "Trade Commision" -- for 
>  philosophers. For a philosopher wants to use a device --
>  say: "abstract entity"  as you mention them (why is it
>  that Grice uses it in plural? Surely your idea of  just
>  one TYPE of abstract entity seems daemoniac enough!). --
>  I love a  daemon, eudaemon.
> So Minimalism is dogmatically as you say blocking our
>  desire for philosophical explanation.

But not unless its dogmatic minimalism.
And Grice's cure is itself a dogmatism.
Mathematicians work in set theory because it suits them 
Should they be castigated for doing so?
They won't care if Grice does castigate them.

>  The best
>  illustration is the breakdown of rationality that Hume
>  thought had brought when it came to Ethics. Hume forked
>  the thing in such a way that a moralist had to be an
>  irrationalist.

So you want ethics to be a branch of logic?

>  Kant Kant Cope That Cant,  and wrote his
>  long thing, Practical Reason Treatise, to show that
>  there ARE  rational guidelines in the realm of 'ought'.

Well I'm not familiar with the story.
The odds are that we are talking to cross purposes, just as 
in the case of Kripke's refutation of Carnap.

But we will be stretched a bit thin if we take on ethics 
right now!

> So, what was underlooked, or just DENIED, or rejected by
>  Hume's minimalism is proved, to the Kantian amongst us,
>  to have been protectionistically overlooked.
> I.e. there _are_ patterns of argument in ethics.

I don't think there is any denial of that in Hume, or in 

> Keep up the good work. If I propose a little Table of
>  Categories for each of the beasts, I shall, here in
>  Analytic. 

Well it looks like the demons will be fodder for debate for 
some time.


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