[hist-analytic] Is empiricism an empirical theory?
Jlsperanza at aol.com
Jlsperanza at aol.com
Fri Sep 17 21:35:33 EDT 2010
Oddly, Grice saw Empiricism as a bete noire (as R. B. Jones is well aware)
on his way to the City of Eternal Truth! In "Logic and Conversation" I am
always amused by Grice's self-description as "enough of a rationalist" (to
argue for things like the cooperative principle's normative basis) -- With
the years he grew into a relentless, 'ireverent, conservative, rationalism'
(if I recall the wording alright -- footnote to "Reply to Richards"). This
explains why while both Phenomenalism and Physicalism are BOTH betes noires
for Grice, only Empiricism is. Rationalism is a bit all-right.
What also never ceases to amuse me is that Grice was invited to give the
Kant Lectures (at Stanford) -- and surely there was nobody more rationalist
than Kant was. Two years later, he (Grice, not Kant) was invited to give the
Locke lectures (now across the 'pond', in Oxford) -- and surely you Kant
think of a bigger empiricist than Locke. Yet, guess what: he used the SAME
set of lectures. Only the PACE of delivery was different. (Just teasing).
But as Warner notes in the intro to "Aspects of Reason" which contains the
text of the Locke lectures, they did originate as the Kant lectures. If
that's no reconciliation, I don't know what is.
Note that while Bayne's paradox holds: "empiricism is not an empirical
theory", the reverse is true: "Rationalism IS a rational theory". That should
teach Locke and the Lockeans a few lessons!
In a message dated 9/17/2010 11:01:59, Baynesr at comcast.net writes:
The "singularist" view of causation is consistent with an empirical theory
of history which is not based on corroboration based on retrodiction or
prediction. Control over initial conditions may presuppose laws; if these
laws do not exist,
In answer to Bayne's question:
No: empiricism is NOT an empirical theory. This by reductio ad absurdum of
Quine via Bayne's clever argument!
Now, Bayne's take on 'laws' (I prefer the adjective 'nomological' -- it is
SO pretentious!) reminds me of Davidson, who was, of course 'anomalous'. I
wonder if Bayne may care to comment about that!
Here some remarks about 'anomalous' as used by Davidson ("anomalous monism"
in the wiki entry):
"the mental is anomalous, i.e. ... mental events are not regulated by
strict physical laws."
1. "The principle of causal interaction: there exist both
mental-to-physical as well as physical-to-mental causal interactions."
2. "The principle of the nomological character of causality: all events are
causally related through strict laws."
3. "The principle of the anomalism of the mental: there are no
psycho-physical laws which relate the mental and the physical as just that, mental and
"The principle of the nomological character of causality (or cause-law
principle) requires that events be covered by so-called strict laws. Davidson
originally assumed the validity of this principle but, in more recent years,
he felt the need to provide a logical justification for it. So what is a
"[T]he mental cannot be linked up with the physical in a chain of
psycho-physical laws such that mental events can be predicted and explained on the
basis of such laws.
"Since Davidson believes that mental events are causally efficacious (i.e.
he rejects epiphenomenalism), then it must be a mental event as such
(mental properties of mental events) which are the causally relevant properties."
Davidson, D. (1970) "Mental Events", in Actions and Events, Oxford:
Clarendon Press, 1980.
Davidson, D. (1993) "Thinking Causes", in J. Heil and A. Mele (eds) Mental
Causation, Oxford: Clarendon Press.
Honderich, T. (1982) "The Argument for Anomalous Monism", Analysis
Honderich, T. (1984) "Smith and the Champion of Mauve", Analysis 44:86-89.
Fano, V. (1992) "Olismi non convergenti" (Non-convergent holisms) in Dell
Utri, Massimo (ed). Olismo, Quodlibet. 1992.
 Further reading
GRICE, "Method in philosophical psychology: from the banal to the bizarre"
(repr. in "Conception of Value")
----- "Actions and Events" Pacific Philosophical Quarterly.
Child, W. (1993) "Anomalism, Uncodifiability, and Psychophysical
Relations", Philosophical Review 102: 215-45.
Davidson, D. (1973) "The Material Mind", in Actions and Events, Oxford:
Clarendon Press, 1980.
Davidson, D. (1974) "Psychology as Philosophy", in Actions and Events,
Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1980.
Davidson, D. (1995) "Donald Davidson", in S. Guttenplan (ed.) A Companion
to the Philosophy of Mind, Oxford: Blackwell.
Ducasse, C.J. (1926) "On the Nature and Observability of the Causal
Relation", Journal of Philosophy 23:57-68.
Honderich, T. (1981) "Psychophysical Lawlike Connections and their
Problem", Inquiry 24: 277-303.
Kim, J. (1985) "Psychophysical Laws", in E. LePore and B.P. McLaughlin
(eds) Actions and Events: Perspectives on the Philosophy of Donald Davidson,
LePore, E. and McLaughlin, B.P. (1985) Actions and Events: Perspectives on
the Philosophy of Donald Davidson, Oxford: Blackwell.
McLaughlin, B.P. (1985) "Anomalous Monism and the Irreducibility of the
Mental", in E. LePore and B.P. McLaughlin (eds) Actions and Events:
Perspectives on the Philosophy of Donald Davidson, Oxford: Blackwell.
Stanton, W.L. (1983) "Supervenience and Psychological Law in Anomalous Moni
sm", Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 64: 72-9.
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