[hist-analytic] Quine on Experience and Consciousness

Baynesr at comcast.net Baynesr at comcast.net
Sat Oct 9 20:35:30 EDT 2010

Just a quick point on Quine and what is "evidential." Note the difference between what can serve as "evidential" and what can serve as a "check" (Quine uses both in a seemingly systematic way). A check may be evidence sufficient for belief. There is much more to be said but both are related, ultimately, to observation, for which there is no check nor evidence, understood is a certain way. All this is very slippery. I'm wadding through it a bit. Looking at some of Quine's criticism of pythagorian extremism. 

By the way, Grice's paper on the self is remarkably good, a truly wonderful paper. Why isn't it in WOW. Also, his remarkably good paper on perception, as I recall, was butchered in WOW. Also, by the way, note how MANY times Quine (in a paper done in the thirties "Truth by Convention") uses "ordinary usage." Ordinary usage provides the domain of a proxy function (in an attenuated sense, of course). Still, Quine is doing more than playing with axiomatic systems ala Carnap. 



----- Original Message ----- 
From: Jlsperanza at aol.com 
To: hist-analytic at simplelists.co.uk 
Sent: Saturday, October 9, 2010 4:42:33 PM 
Subject: Re: Quine on Experience and Consciousness 

In a message dated 10/9/2010, S. R. Bayne writes: 

"Now ask yourself: "Is knowledge of my own dispositions scientific 
knowledge? Is knowledge of my dispositions knowledge for you a possibility? If so, 
is your knowledge of my dispositions scientific but mine not?" I can't 
address these questions in one email. So let me just make one point: There is a 
difference between experience and consciousness, but it cannot be captured 
behaviorally. Nor is self-knowledge scientific, but it is possible."" 

---- Given what Grice says about the "Devil of Scientism" -- e.g. as cited 
by Grandy in Stanford, entry, for Grice -- I would avoid the word 
'scientific' here! I wonder if 'evidential', or a play or variant on 'evidential' 
may do? Grice considers this in his attack of the 'sceptic' in his important 
"Intention and Uncertainty" (Proceedings British Academy, 1971 -- worth a 

These are all complex issues for analysis, and I welcome Bayne's 
distinguishing them. Grice loved to play with subscripts at one time. He would write 

A judges that p 
A judges-2 that p 
A judges-3 that p, 


"A judges-2 that p" is equivalent to ""A judges that p" and "A judges that 
A judges that p". He would also strongly advise to use a GENERAL operator 
("... accepts...") to cover both 'judgings' and 'willings'. This is in his 
attempt to elucidate privileged access and incorrigibility. Fortunately, 
Baker did reprint Grice's influential "Method in philosophical psychology" in 
Grice's posthumous "Conception of Value". But while Grice's approach is 
illuminating and inspiring, I can see that there's always room for 
refinement? He criticised Davidson's account of the 'self' in various places. 
Davidson recognised the force of Grice's criticisms in "Intending" --, and there 
are other considerations in the seldom cited article by Grice, "Actions and 
Events" (Pacific Philosophical Quarterly, 1986). 

Of course the locus classicus for Grice on 'self' is his 'Personal 
Identity' that Bayne has commented on in his hist-analytic website. Parry (incl. 
his contribution to Grandy/Warner, PGRICE) has attempted a formalisation of 
some of the 'deictic' aspects of Grice's approach to "I", which are worth a 

In her bio of Grice, Chapman argues that Grice started as an 'empiricist' 
and only later moved to become an 'intentionalist'. I agree. Her evidence is 
drawn from some of Grice's earliest essays dating from Oxford in the late 
1930s -- and where Grice's views are or can be compared to those of the 
early Ayer, or I. Berlin, even. 

A fascinating subject. Thanks to Bayne for bringing it up. 

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