[hist-analytic] Bootstrap

Jlsperanza at aol.com Jlsperanza at aol.com
Sat Jan 29 11:49:24 EST 2011

In a message dated 1/29/2011 9:04:38  A.M., danny.frederick at btinternet.com 
I suspect
the position is  somewhat as JL indicated. Strawson was fond of 
transcendental  arguments,  

---- Of course, R. B. Jones is onto something. If I understood his points  
alrights, it may all relate to what Grice called "Bootstrap" -- a 'principle 
 whose validity I have not yet proved', I think he put it (in "Reply to  
-------    pull yourself up by your own bootstraps (if you  can).
Grice defines this in terms of the object-/meta-language distinction  
introduced by Russell, and I think R. B. Jones has worked on this formally (vis  
a vis Tarski).
So, if one reads the editorial review (amazon.com) for Strawson's  
"Metaphysics and analysis: an introduction to philosophy", one sees he thinks of 
---- 'truth'
as a _concept_ that 'developed human beings' use, even if they do not  
understand. Now, 'truth', as per the 'descriptive' "metaphysicist" (or  
'metaphysician', if you must) (or is it 'revisionary') would then divide  into:
------          a.  analytic
------- truth 
                 b. synthetic.
And so on.
Now, Grice sort of objected to a free use of meta-linguistic terms that do  
not have a correlate in the object-language. He thought that it 'saves work 
for  the morrow' (for the metaphysicist) if he can avoid just that.
So, consider 'analytic' truth. If the descriptive 'metaphysicist' (or  
'revisionary,' even, like Grice (*)) is going to _define_ (theoretically --  
since a practical grasp of this notion is presupposed) he would need to do so 
in  some sort of 'meta-language'.
This is all very obscure, but I mean to say that, in some reading, R. B.  
Jones's point may relate to: IF the statements of the 
(descriptive/revisionary)  metaphysician ARE analytic, and they include the definition of 
'analytic', isn't  there a sort of appeal to Bootstrap made here. The metaphysician 
(or 'analytic  philosopher') seems to be analytically defining analyticity. 
Nothing wrong with  that, but there seems to be a loophole, or 'taboo', as 
Frederick may prefer in  his reading of Strawson, that have Strawson being 
more obscure than he should on  this topic.
In this respect, nothing can get clearer than a stop at Carnap's Corner.  
For _he_ knew what he was doing!
(* -- Grice would say that "The king of France is bald" does _seem_ to  
display a 'truth-value gap' in the vernacular -- 'our actual conceptual scheme' 
 would possibly match Strawson's view on those gaps. Yet, the 'revisionary' 
 analysis by Grice -- in terms of implicatum-cum-entailment -- "vacuous  
definitions are otiose in conversation", etc. -- would yield that what our  
'ordinary' 'conceptual scheme' displays is NOT what it looks at _first sight.  
Grice's clearer statement on these issues, and his 'last word', almost,  
literally, is in the last section of his "Retrospective Epilogue" in "Way of  
Words" -- For the record, too, while Grice was precise in some of his  
formalisations, Strawson was never too clear about that, even in seminars they  
sort of shared back in Irvine in 1971 -- from which Strawson's "Subject and  
predicate in logic and grammar" springs). 

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