[hist-analytic] Carnap And Grice Play Deontics

Roger Bishop Jones rbj at rbjones.com
Tue Mar 2 03:49:06 EST 2010

On Monday 01 Mar 2010 19:05, Jlsperanza at aol.com wrote:

> I enjoyed R. B. Jones's discussion of the  Logical versus
>  what he calls "M" for moral 'rules' in a game of
>  'deontics'. I  would restrict the "M" for 'meaning'!
>  Seeing that both Carnap and Grice use the  "m" for
>  meaning, too (Carnap's "meaning-postulates", Grice's
>  "M-Intentions").

I've not seen Carnap using M in this way.
His semantics is caputured by L-rules yielding L-truth all 
the way from logical syntax through the two editions of 
Meaning and Necessity until at the last in the Schilpp 
volume he concedes defeat to the Quine-Tarski conspiracy on 
use of the term "Logical Truth" and starts using A-true 
instead of L-true.

In "Meaning Postulates" he seems to use the "L-" concepts 

> A few further points:
> i. I was looking online at various documents, and, I may
>  have shared this with CarnapCorner.blogspot, but there
>  was this pdf.doc by (I think) this contributor to recent
>  work on Carnap, regarding the idea that "science" is
>  usually _not_ a primitive, or 'datum' in Carnap. It is
>  _usually_ understood that, e.g., the criteria (however
>  practical) in deciding whether to choose this  or that
>  language _are_ such that 'science' is _meant_, but this
>  author was  pointing to the explicit lack, as it were,
>  of such 'tag' in Carnap's discourse.  Will see if I can
>  retrieve it.

I have the impression that he regards synthetic propositions 
as always belonging to science,  He does not follow 
Aristotle in allowing "demonstrative science" (perhaps he 
thought this referred only to metaphysics).
There is a fairly naive use of language with very clean 
lines, he feels no obligation (as scientists usually do not) 
to pay homage to ordinary usage, it would probably not occur 
to him as an objection to his use of the term "scientific" 
that it is not the same as "normal usage",

> ii. I am currently discussing Grice's taking up of this
>  marvelous work by Carnap on "Ramsey sentence". And it
>  may deal, as I hope it does, with R. B. Jones's point
>  about the "M-rules", as Jones calls them -- but where it
>  merely  stipulates, say, the operator "P" -- it is
>  permissible that... -- or "O" -- it  is obligatory
>  that... -Suppose "He who wills the end wills the means".
>  Suppose  we see it as somewhat "deontic". If A finds it
>  obligatory to pursue end, A finds  it obligatory to
>  implement means. Surely caeteris paribus. But the point
>  I was  making has to do with this rule of "Empirical
>  Psychology", Grice has it -- I  forget the name of the
>  'law', but he says "is is (or was) a law of Empirical 
>  Psychology". You gotta love a man who writes of laws as
>  being or having-been!  Anyway, the point concerns the
>  'analyticity' (alleged) of this or that 
>  'generalisation', call it empirical -- or observational
>  (perhaps better).   Ramsey and Carnap and Grice seem to
>  be saying that for ANY  'observational-language', say,
>  it may be held that any 'generalisation' yields  --.
>  Hence the need of Carnap to narrow the desiderata of
>  Ramsey sentences to  deal with 'hypothetical' cases. 
>  So, the choice of "He who wills the end,  wills the
>  means" _as_ 'analytic' will be part (and parcel) of what
>  the _speaker_  of the language is establishing. And so:
>  even in the realm _other_ than  'assertoric' logic as it
>  were, it would not easy to distinguish between those 
>  claims we dub 'analytic' from those we don't. I'm
>  speaking VERY vaguely! (Bear  with me, till I can
>  clarify, or as Carnap would have it, self-explicate!)

Well this sounds interesting stuff, but it veers at the end 
too close to treating the analyticity as being something we 
decide upon by fiat, which is how Quine would have us think 
of it, but not how Carnap does and even less how he should!
(You have to decide meaning and accept the extension of 
analyticity which flows from it, and its best to present the 
matter so as to make that clear, which Carnap often does not 

> iii. Carnap does explicitly argue, I would think, that
>  Morals (or what would stand as such) would _be_ a branch
>  of "Empirical Psychology" (phrase as we  see, used by
>  Grice), so the topic may have broader consequences.
>  Consider Hintikka's doxastic claims
>     (Bel(A, p) & Bel(A, p-->q)) ---caet.par.--->  B(A, q)
> Grice wants to say this belongs to "rational" psychology,
>  rather than "empirical" psychology, but there may be
>  connections. Carnap did work extensively on the
>  'pragmatics' as he called it, of 'belief and 
>  assertion'.

Well I would like to know where he does this.
He says some very radical things early on which I can't 
imagine him holding to if we were to corner him later.

In that he is making it a branch of science, which is fair 
enough, insofar as it does offer a way to make sense of it.
However, it doesn't make the right kind of sense of it, and 
one has a better chance of getting a good analysis by 
treating it as a part of logic rather than science (in 
Carnap's terms), this is also more consistent his saying (as 
he does) that moral statements are like metaphysical ones, 
"cognitively" meaningless (another bad choice of word).

> iv. Grice discusses at length Davidson's playing with
>  "ATC" -- all things considered and caeteris-paribus
>  generalisations which _are_ contingent and synthetic,
>  but also with some which we 'entrench' as 'analytic'.

We can expect difficulties with Carnap if Grice leans toward 

>  Since Carnap  did work so extensively on probability,
>  I'm sure Grice would look for THAT work.  Anything of
>  importance that Grice wants to say about 'desirability'
>  (which for  him yields 'morality') he is careful enough
>  to find an analogue in terms of  'probability'. In fact
>  this amused me once, because Levinson, in his textbook
>  of  pragmatics ("Pragmatics", Cambridge University Press
>  -- and Levinson has  discussed Carnap extensively vis a
>  vis Carnap/Bar-Hillel along with Atlas)  quotes Grice
>  1973 as being, "Probability, Defeasibility and mood
>  operators"  where it is actually, the mimeo goes, as
>  cited by Grice/Baker in  Vermazen/Hintikka,
>  "Probability, _Desirability_ and mood operators."

You make Grice sound more like a utilitarian than a 
deontologist. (a deontological utilitarian perhaps).

I fear I am straying outside my comfort zone.


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