[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 
external questions.

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 
with Kant.
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 
perhaps not.


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