[hist-analytic] Carnap, Grice, and the Infinity

Jlsperanza at aol.com Jlsperanza at aol.com
Fri Mar 12 13:01:32 EST 2010

In a message dated 3/10/2010 8:49:36 rbj at rbjones.com writes:
"Can  JL  offer us some story about why Grice is interested in  
philosophical  psychology and what he is trying to achieve  
there?  Is this something  to do with rationality?"

Well,  in this particular thread, with 'infinite'  in the title, I was 
quoting  some remarks by Grice on a language being by  definition an 
of, say, sentences. 

In which case, it would be UNLEARNABLE, as per  Davidson's argument. 

The recursive nature of the 'syntax' *rules*,  however, would stop the  
regressus ad infinitum, before it starts,  almost, as we may then be  only 
concerned with the user of a language  being able to apply these  recursive 

I was providing the  quotes because it is at THAT level only, i.e., when we 
are thinking of  a 'denumerable' infinity, Grice thinks, that we are 
justified in   talking about a 'language' at all.

Both NL (natural language) and FL  (formal language) would be infinite in  
this sense.

I was  providing the quotes by Grice to check if Carnap makes a reference 
the  issue of the infinity. 

One problem which should NOT concerned us, but  did concern Quine is that 
HIS approach (in "Word and Object"),  "Belief---" gets to be a 'monadic'  
predicate, so that there is one  specific belief for each sentence of the  
language (of the correct  assertoric type).

If Carnap sees the link between 'assertion' and  'belief' as a close one -- 
and as the subject matter of "pragmatics"  (in Pierce's and Morris's 
tradition  that he often relies on), he may  need a different account of 
'belief'  predicate. 

In the  case of Grice, his programme in philosophical psychology allows him 
to  ascribe content to believers which is 'compositional' in this way (i.e. 
not  monadic as in the case of Quine, if not Davidson) although the  
of his  psychological theory construction are far from crystal  clear, I 
hasten to  say.

J. L.  Speranza
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