[hist-analytic] Descriptive Metaphysics and Analyticity
Jlsperanza at aol.com
Jlsperanza at aol.com
Fri Jan 28 21:28:49 EST 2011
In a message dated 1/28/2011 4:23:53 P.M., danny.frederick at btinternet.com
Although descriptive metaphysics is a product of analysis,
it is an analysis of 'our actual conceptual scheme' (Strawson seems to
we have only one of those). Since he also thinks that alternative
'revisionary' conceptual schemes are possible, he would have, I think, to
say that the propositions of descriptive metaphysics are not analytic.
Cfr. other interesting comments by R. B. Jones in reply to D. Frederick and
True. "Metaphysics and analysis" does not seem to quote from Kripke, but I
think, from the 'editorial review', that the view is pretty clear:
So I will interperse comments in connection with my shared interests with
R. B. Jones below:
The amazon review reads:
"All developed human beings possess a practical mastery of a vast range
concepts, including such basic structural notions as those of identity,
truth, existence, material objects, mental states, space, and time;"
---- This idea of 'developed human being' seems to be close to D.
Frederick's idea of things we feel 'at home with'. When one enters the study of
philosophy (as I once did) one is NEVER told that one is going to devote one's
life to what "developed human beings" possess. I mean, who cares? We are
NOT psychologists, philosophers!
So, in that simple editorial review, the reviewer is being 'reactionary':
stipulating what the philosopher (analytic philosopher, if you will) needs
do is concern himself with 'reconstructing' what "developed human beings"
The analytic-synthetic distinction seems far a more technical thing than
practical mastery does not entail theoretical understanding. It is that
understanding which philosophy seeks to achieve. In this book, one of the
distinguished of living philosophers, assuming no previous knowledge of
subject on the part of the reader, sets out to explain and illustrate a
certain conception of the nature of analytical philosophy."
---- His own! Of course, Grice's, too. Grice used to say ("Reply to
Richards") that his conversations with Strawson tended to be so concise that
nobody else knew what they were talking about. Plus, Grice (Chapman recalls, via
Mrs. Grice) how tedious (to Lady Ann Strawson -- nee Martin) Grice would
go in interrupting Sir Peter's usual life with abtuse questions on
categories in the middle of the night.
"Strawson draws on his
many years of teaching at Oxford University, during which he refined and
developed what he regards as the most productive route to understanding
fundamental structure of human thinking."
---- Again, Kantian. "Human thinking". Only, as neo-Kantian, he would
object to Kant's own emphasis on what he was doing as NOT being 'empirical
psychology'. "Apperception of the ego" and other Kantian pieces of jargon, while
apparently dwelling on human thinking are 'conceptual' structures. And the
analytic-synthetic distinction, as per Kant, is a narrow distinction
within the definition of some forms of judgements. It's NOT the cornerstone of
all philosophy, I would think.
"Among the distinctive features of
his exposition are the displacement of an older, reductive conception of
philosophical method (the ideal of "analyzing" complex ideas into simpler
elements) in favor of elucidating the interconnections between the
irreducible notions which form the basic structure of our thinking;"
So, he would quote from Hume. Kant of course was awoken from his dogmatic
slumbers -- by Hume. In the context of the Grice-Strawson 'historical'
context, their campaign was perhaps against neo-behaviouristic or
analytic-behaviouristic (as they are also called) accounts such as Ryle, The concept of
mind. Grice and Strawson would NOT be 'empiricist' (like Ryle, or Hume,
before him), but 'conceptualists' (or 'intentionalists', as Grice prefers).
They dwell on 'our actual conceptual scheme' as D. Frederick aptly quotes from
"Individuals: an essay in descriptive metaphysics". I would need to revise
this, but I think one unfinished project by Grice was "From Genesis to
Revelations", which he saw as an essay in 'revisionary' metaphysics, rather.
It would seem that Strawson and Grice thought, deep down, that it was with
'revisionary' metaphysics that all the fun begins!
demonstration that the three traditionally distinguished departments of
metaphysics (ontology), epistemology, and logic are but three aspects of
----- So if he does not explicitly deal with the formerly Princeton prof.
of philosophy (Kripke) that may be the reason. Do not multiply 'necessities'
beyong, er, necessity. Note, too, that Sir Peter was one of the TWO
philosophers at Oxford (officially). He held the title of Waynflete prof. of
metaphysical (METAPHYSICAL) philosophy. (as opposed to 'moral' philosophy). So,
there is a professorial side to his research, too.
If the book deals with 'philosophy of language', I was always fascinated by
this big polemic between Sir Peter and Grice (Grandy has dealt with
another interesting polemic: the conventional-implicature (favoured by Sir Peter)
versus the CONVERSATIONAL-implicature) account to 'if' -- Grandy, in
"Legacy of Grice"): the idea of a truth-value gap.
THIS *HAS* an important metaphysical side to it. Grice rejected a
'metaphysics' that allowed for 'truth-value gaps'. And struggled hard to, say,
account for 'the' phrases in terms of implicatum-plus-entailment, rather than in
the Strawsonian manner involving things which -- never mind 'analytic' or
'synthetic' -- are neither true nor false! ("The king of France visited the
------ Chapman quotes extensively from unpublished work by Grice and
Strawson. It is very fortunate that it was GRICE who kept all the notes. They
are deposited at UC/Berkeley. They spring from joint seminars on "Categories"
(strictly, Aristotle's categories -- for the Lit. Hum. programme at
Oxford), and include some delightful examples concerning, as I recall, a man
------ And so on.
(If I define myself as a neo-Gricean, I would define Noel Burton-Roberts, a
linguist, strictly, as a neo-Strawsonian. Pity you cannot really engage
Burton Roberts in the usually otiose talk philosophers love to engage,
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