[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 17:23:07 EST 2010
Here's a short follow up to my last on this.
We are heading for conflicts here between Grice and Carnap,
which fall outside Carnap's conception of philosophy, and
which I would suggest Carnap sidestep.
The first problem is with Grice's antipathy to -isms.
These are not disagreements about matters of fact, because
most of these -isms if you track them down to a proposition
it will be a proposition of metaphysics, and it will
probably be in that part of metaphysics which Carnap does
opt out of.
The upshot would be that Grice would reject an -ism and
Carnap would fail to assert it, for it would be one of his
So we might find Carnap denying that he is a physicalist (in
Grice's terms) but continuing to use physicalistic language
when it suited him.
Possibly Grice would object to that practice, and hence
would be objecting to Carnap's principle of tolerance.
However, the principle of tolerance is not for Carnap a
proposition of philosophy, it is normative.
So if they had a debate about this it would not be for
Carnap a philosophical debate.
If I were him I wouldn't.
Something similar happens in relation to the conflict which
you describe between Hume and Kant.
Whether you can derive an ought from an is depends on the
semantics of moral terms in natural languages.
This therefore falls outside of Carnap's conception of
philosophy, and he should have no philosophical axe to grind
He might well still disagree with Kant on whether than can
be done, but he could not do so as a philosopher according
to his own notion of philosophy,
There are a lot of areas where we would find problems of this
kind, where Grice's view are considered by Carnap just not
to fall within Carnap's conception of philosophy (and
possibly vice-versa) and so one has to hope from the point
of view of their having a worthwhile conversation we would
have to hope that the residue would be of sufficient interest
and that each was prepared to leave alone the areas which
either considered out of scope.
It is entirely possible that nothing would remain.
Analytic philosophy in the second half of the twentieth
century was almost engineered on the principle that anything
is OK (open to discussion) so long as it gives no quarter to
This has been my experience by and large, that there really
is virtually no conversation which I can have with most
philosophers because they cannot accept my language or my
attitude toward language.
I was hoping that Grice would be more accommodating, but
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