[hist-analytic] Carnap and Grice and Absolutism

Jlsperanza at aol.com Jlsperanza at aol.com
Thu Feb 25 19:48:20 EST 2010

In a message dated 2/25/2010 6:23:12 P.M. Eastern Standard Time,  
rbj at rbjones.com writes:

I think  there is probably an interesting discussion to be 
had on  extensionalism.  Starting with "what is it?" in 
Grice's mind (or his  words).
Sure, and I'll defer comments on your brilliant post for later, I  hope.
I think there's some stuff on Extensionalism in hist-anal files  already.
Grice starts his discussion with things like
   A: Why is that pillar box called 'red'?
       Because it is red.
   B: Why is that man called "Paul  Grice"?
Because he is Paul Grice.
--- but I'll have to revise. (especially the first; the second I'm pretty  
sure about). He wants  to say that the answers may run along different  

Then he proposes things like:
     daughters of a Pope an English queen
I think is the example.
The idea being: "none" -- null set.
For this he proposes ways out, in terms of 'relations'. It should be all in 
 google.books, "Reply To Richards", PGRICE. And it's then from his earlier 
1984  or so, "Prejudices and predilections, which becomes the life and 
opinions of  Paul Grice" by Paul Grice.
I loved your "absolute". For indeed we do  have Absolutism!
--- This reminds me of Gr91: Conception of Value, that is. This is indeed  
Gr82, the Paul Carus Lectures. In the first or second lecture he tracks 
Mackie  and proposes some interesting dichotomies which I have elaborated on in 
posts to  Analytic or when the thing was with Vanegas.
  absolute vs. relative
  monism  vs. pluralism (dualism as pluralism)
  objective vs. relative
--- etc. so one may need to be careful.
As for a stricter def. of Extensionalism, this SHOULD NOT Be a problem for  
Carnap, since he was indeed famous for defending intensional contexts. His  
method of intensional isomorphism has been, I think, thus called, too, 
defended  by Levinson _contra_ Grice. I will be brief, but the idea is that (I 
will work  on predicate calculus, but if you add quantified formulae, the 
effect may be the  same)
    p v -q
   p --> q
are truth-functionally equivalent. So, in a way, in terms of 'what-is-said' 
 (favoured use), one can think of a Gricean arguing that (especially is we 
are,  as you are, into strict deductive systems) a person who is committed 
to the  former will need, as it stands to reason, committed to the latter. 
The thing of  course gets more complicated when we do use the vernacular NL, 
'if', e.g. which  some claim NOT to be truth-functional and Grice suspects it 
is NOT  truth-functional for tenses other than those of the indicative 
(title of his  WoW:iv, "INDICATIVE" conditionals).
But the _form_ of each is different. So it would be as if 
   He said that p v -q
   He said that if p, q
would report different things. Etc
So, I have seen something like a pro-Carnapian into 'intensional  
isomorphisms' claiming that such a 'liberal' approach to 'what-is-said' is  
Grice uses 'intension' on occasion, as in WoW:v, last paragraph, vis a vis  
quantifying in, so he wasn't TROUBLED with a metaphilosophical or 
methodological  account that quantifies-in, even if what he wants is an 
extensionalist,  truth-functional approach of what is meant (at the level of what is 
said). This  is starting to sound obscure.
I like to quote Urmson, "Criteria of intensionality" on this front, too. To 
 show that Griceans or philosophers of his ilk would not have been troubled 
at  all by intensionalism.
In terms of Extensionalism-qua-Minimalism, the past-middle age (less  
permissive) Grice of the betes noires would like to find the entity that  
Extensionalism rejects that philosophers have used in explanations.
The very thing seems to be "meaning" no less!
The anti-Extensionalist is saying that meaning DOES NOT reduce to  
'extension': "daughter of a Pope and a queen of England" does not have the same  
meaning as "climbers of 24,000,000 ft mounts on hands and knees" (his other  
example). Hence the appeal to something more basic, a pellet, I think he calls 
 it, a reference to 'relations', etc.
Since I agree with you that most of the most recalcitrant terms in modal  
logic (Kripke's System S, eg?) can be given 'extensionalist' semantics in 
terms  of metalogic quantification over 'states of affairs' or 'worlds', I 
can't see  what's the big deal of this bete noire, or rather, what the big deal 
is with the  opponents (or those who get scared or challenged) by this demon 
(or perilous  place) on the way to the City of the Eternal Truth, as we may 
say. (quoting  Grice, no doubt).
So, here, the anti-bete-noirism should NOT be addressed to Carnap. I would  
think that extensionalism did not feature large with vintage logical 
positivism  either. Aren't the early analysis of 'scentific' terms like 'fragile', 
in terms  of counter-factual dispositions (funk) meant as 'intensional', 
too? So perhaps  we have a case of a strawman. Perhaps Alonzo Church? Wouldn't 
know. Can't be  defenders of Hintikka's logic of epistemic attitudes, etc. 
Casimir Lewy? I don't  know, really.
I enjoyed your opinion that Carnap would have joined in a game of  
'deontics'. Oddly, few of the betes noires allow for this fact vs. value  
distinction. And Grice honoured Hume well enough to have a whole metaphysical  routine 
named after him (Humean Projection, in Reply To Richards) and had  
furthered discussed Hume with Haugeland. So the exegesis of Grice may need a few  
points here, etc.
J. L. Speranza
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