[hist-analytic] Who Framed Carnap? (Was: Grice)

Jlsperanza at aol.com Jlsperanza at aol.com
Sun Feb 28 17:47:13 EST 2010

In a message dated 2/28/2010 4:42:35 _rbj at rbjones.com_ 
(mailto:rbj at rbjones.com)  writes: "I have to say that I  think ['objective'] a better term for 
the purpose ... It is the hallmark of the  kind of metaphysical ontology from 
which Carnap abstains that it claims that  certain ontological principles 
are "objective" rather than "conventional", i.e.  in Carnap's language: that 
these truths are not internal to some "linguistic  framework" but are (in 
his term) external.  

I love it! I would, of course, be careful with 'Objectivism', one of the  
blachest betes of all time (alla Moby Dick -- the _white_ bete). His twin,  
Subjectivism, is pretty vicious, they say, though. I'm using 'frame' because 
you  do use it -- "framework" -- and this brought Carnap back to the fore 
when  Davidson started to reconsider conceptual schemes -- cfr. 
'conceptual-role  semantics? R. E. G. -- in view of hot topics like Lakatos's 
incommensurability  of 'paradigms', say.
I get the internal/external (which I think it relates to H. L. A. Hart, of  
all people) distinction, but the 'conventional' may need some refining. 
Grice  and Carnap indeed 'allow' for 'convention' to be a matter of just one  
individual. Bayne may object that one cannot hold a reciprocal convention 
with  yourself, but that's _Lewis_'s problem! 
E.g. this bit by Grice Carnap WOULD ***SURELY**** dub 'conventional'. Grice 
 says, "I can invent a language, call it "Deutero-Esperanto": I lay down 
what's  proper; that makes me the master of it." He is, sadly, criticising the 
idea that  'meaning' HAS to do with 'convention'. But surely Carnap's take 
here is more in  agreement with the etymology of 'convention', I would think.
Utterer (user of language) CONVENES to use "glory" to mean "a  
nice-knockdown argument". There may be tweaks one may need to have utterer's  intentions 
self-addressed to the utterer himself, etc. But those seem minor. So  we 
may need a better antonym for 'conventional'. Since NOTHING is conventional  
in Grice's sense, I don't think we do!
(But we can call it 'natural'!?)
And then there's Putnam and zillions more on
the objective-subjective distinction. ('inter-subjective' NOT ALLOWED, :)). 
 For there is a way in which Grice, when constructing "Deutero-Esperanto", 
is the  SUBJECT. 
  So that
        "glory" means, subjectively, "a  nice known-down argument".
---- Again, there may be a few refinements to tweak in here. As a matter of 
 fact, I dwelt with them extensively in "Jabberwocky" (The Journal of the 
Lewis  Carroll Society, vol. 5)
This is not really "subjective", since the Egg is after all talking to  
Alice, but still.
--- I owe the inspiration for this to D. Davidson's thing for the PGRICE  
festschrift, his "Nice derangement of epitaphs", which he sadly later 
reprinted  in his own collection, making the festschrift less of a valuable thing.  
Festchrifters should SWEAR they are not going to do that!) 
Davidson writes of 'glory'
"The Egg cannot MEAN that there is a nice knock-down argument for Alice,  
because he says so. He says, when Alice confesses, "I don't know what you 
mean  by 'glory'", "Of course you don't, until I tell you."
Davidson analyses this transparently, naively enough:
The Egg KNOWS or believes that Alice does NOT Know
           the  T-(Tarski-disquotational scheme)
                 "There's x for you!" iff "There's glory/a nice knockdown
                                      argument  for Alice.
--- Since he is however supposed to be intending that Alice will form that  
belief (i.e. that what she was told was that there is nice knock-down 
argument  for her, rather than 'glory'), this is reductio ad absurdum.
However, he later says,
--- I titled my paper to the Lewis Carroll Society: "Impenetrability"  
because glory bores me.
When he says this, he has already a little ditty to offer Alice
         In the springtime, when  the leaves are green
            I hope  you tell me what you mean.
"Thank you", says Alice.
So, when he lectures Alice on "It was brillig..." in full, he concludes,  
"What's that?", said Alice. Suspecting it was one of the Egg's little  
"'Atta girl!"
He says: By impenetrability I mean (words), that "we have already talked  
quite a bit about this and that it's almost tea time, and I'm feeling both  
pretty thirsty and hungry, I would think we sojourn to a different scenario  
where we could at ease reconsider this or that in the more comfortable 
setting  of a rendez-vous, or something."
"Quite a few things for a word to mean."
"Oh, when I have a word meaning _that_ much for me, I pay them  extra."
J. L. Speranza

More information about the hist-analytic mailing list