[hist-analytic] Tarski, Carnap and Grice on "snow is white"
Jlsperanza at aol.com
Jlsperanza at aol.com
Thu Mar 4 01:46:33 EST 2010
In a message dated 3/3/2010 12:12:04 P.M. Eastern Standard Time,
rbj at rbjones.com writes:
"I don't myself think this a proper use of the terms contingently and
analytically. You are using them as
qualifiers for actions or events, but they are properties of propositions
or sentences in context.
Also you are mixing your qualifiers here, unless you are conceding the
coincidence of analyticity andnecessity(which I would encourage!).Maybe that's
not what you were doing.You want it to be contingently true that snow
means what it does, and your wish is granted, it is!But it doesn't make any
difference to the status of truths in the "object language", it only makes a
difference to meta-theoretic claims.Thus, "snow is white" will be analytic,
but that would normally be contingent. It depends how you say it, how you
identify the language. If you say: "In the English language 'snow is
white' is analytic"Then to discover whether this is analytic or synthetic you
have to dig into the meaning of "English language", but I
think it is likely to be synthetic. (assuming "English language" means
something like "the language predominantly spoke in England".If it is a
"meaning postulate" (a term I deprecate, since to
call it a postulate suggests something more speculative than one expects
in a prescription of meaning, and to use "meaning postulate" as the name of
a definition invites improper definition and encourages this wayward idea
that analyticity is an attribute which we can arbitrarily assign to whatever
propositions we would like to be necessary) then It will be analytic and
necessary. It makes no definition how we know that it is a "meaning
postulate" or how it came to be one, these are meta-theoretic, and it is the truth
and status of the sentences/propositions of the object language which
concerns us. It's a purely verbal adjustment.
The issues you are raising are not real problems in Carnap's position they
just need explaining. Which possibly I might have done?"
SURE! And magisterially! I'm keeping your wording above for further
reference. For now on, I would comment on the somewhat irritating literature I
have had to read on the topic!
You see, Griceians (I'm following my friend Jason Kennedy and using, like
Dennett did, and Fodor, "Griceian" as the adjective, cfr. Argentinian) have
to be careful.
Perhaps the first here was Loar, in his DPhil Oxon (under Warnock),
"Sentence Meaning". They are at odds in defining what "snow is white" _means_.
The Gricean complications are galore. But on the whole there is this consensus
-- among all Griceians except Grice -- but then he is no Griceian,
necessarily -- that we do need a reference to a
so your ref. to "language spoken by people in England" is just on spot. M.
K. Davies has also considered this. So this will relate to Carnap's idea
that at the meta-language level it is ALL synthetic and contigent. Never mind
A related item here may have to do with Putnam's somewhat irritating idea
of the division of linguistic labour. I have not checked your reply to the
'science' post, but I will after I send this. The idea that maybe
"snow is NOT white"
from a scientific point of view. Is it? I don't think so. It's not I've
heard any scientist _say_. White is not a colour, is it? Is it not, rather, a
'value'. What purpose would a silly sentence like the one Tarski used (and
Carnap heard form Tarski's lips) have? None!
H20 may be the write thing to say when we say 'snow' -- frozen water, that
is. Water itself is NOT white. So how can frozen water (ice, snow) be? Odd!
----- In any case, what I'm getting at is that some cautious speakers of
English may subscribe to _Nature_ or _Science_, and if the next thing they
read tomorrow is that 'snow is purple, really' they may be changing a segment
of English, since they would be dropping a meaning-thing (what word to use
instead of postulate) and acquiring another. Odd!
It's good nobody (almost) could beat Carnap and Grice with _analysis_!
Otherwise, this would be the end of analytic philosophy, almost!
--- I am reminded of Sellars/Yeatman, 1066 and all that. The final sentence
goes: "And this is the end of our little history. For then, America became
top notion which means that the history of our country reached a ..
-- where '.' means a final point, or something.
J. L. Speranza
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