[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):
 
_http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anomalous_monism_ 
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anomalous_monism) 
 
"the mental is anomalous, i.e. ... mental events are not regulated by  
strict physical laws."
 
For Davidson:
 
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 
physical."
 
"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 
strict  law?"
 
"[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 
42:59-64.
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.
[edit] 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, 
Oxford: Blackwell.
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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