[hist-analytic] BRUCE AUNE'S Philosophical Autobiography

Jlsperanza at aol.com Jlsperanza at aol.com
Wed May 11 20:22:34 EDT 2011


Next thing would be to get a ground floor of Corpus Christi so we can  
LOCATE the Saturday mornings. I'll see if I can find a good ground plan to  
locate those glorious, sunny, Saturday mornings. I loved Aune's analysis of  the 
line,
 
"Ah, to be in England now that April's there".
 
And indeed, would say Aune's environs were the BEST Oxon offers (where  
"Oxon" stands for "Oxfordshire"): just across Blenheim no less! (Incidentally,  
as we consider Beardsley's alleged intentional fallacy, it is interesting 
to  consider the implicature (if I may not be pedantic) as to what Browing is 
 _exaggerating_ about with that 'avowal'.  I'll have to read more about the 
 "logical grammar" and complexity of avowals, and stuff. It was also great  
to have Aune's wife's clever riposte to Strawson's cliche (along the  lines)
 
"I suppose you must have visited all Oxford colleges by now."
---- "We haven't. But we did see one in Cambridge. And, as Bruce says:  
'You've seen one English college, you've seen them all."
---- "Indeed."
 
being Sir (as he then wasn't) Peter's courteous curt nod. (Contrast Aune's  
document for the exact wording).
 
----- Perhaps it was good of Aune to have stayed, during his Oxford  stay, 
at Woodstock, rather than Corpus can it can _get_ COLD, I  am told. Grice 
himself lived on Banbury Road. Which reminds me of THE PLACE  where Grice also 
used to philosophise. The PUBS!
 
There are two of them. Having known them, I think, "Lamb and flag"  exceeds 
by far the other one which Grice would frequent, and which is today  a bit 
on the too touristy side (due to the Lewis and Tolkien  association): "Bird 
and Baby". First, you don't even need to CROSS St.  Giles's, as you ramble 
from from St. John's, and its nice French windows  get all the glorious sun, 
and you get a nice view of St. Giles.  But  Richardson -- the late George 
Richardson, this Glasgow economist who wrote  this obit for Grice for "St. 
John's College Records" -- a St. John's  philosophy tutor shared that with me 
-- goes on to expand on how one could have  TRUSTED to find "Godot" in 
"either the Flag and Lamb or the Bird and Baby" as he  was waited on by his 
'tutees'. (Bird and Baby is officially, "The Eagle and the  Child"). 
 
Talking of avowals, I have found a few references to "Complexity of  
Avowals" online. It was reviewed by well-known Wittgensteinian J. M. Shorter (of  
Oxford, but originally Australia) in 1968 -- I mean his review of the Black  
volume. And he focuses indeed on Aune's schematisations on 
 
p ent q
 
i.e. p logically implying q -- and further things of Griceian interest.  
There are also some good quotes (online, by other authors citing 
Aune-in-Black)  which refer to first person vs. third person. One reference interested 
me,  since
 
It hurts.
 
is surely NOT in the first person. So either one disallows it as an  avowal 
or rather, as I prefer, opt for 'the complexity of avowals' as Aune has  
it. I actually posted a post elsehwere to that effect. I entitled it,
 
Does it hurt?
 
-- for surely we never are sure what 'it' is. Yet we manage to "keep the  
conversation going" as it Griceanly were. That same online reference to "it  
hurts" makes another one to Witters's famous dentist and how he dealt with  
stuff. Reading on Aune, Complexity of Avowals, I was reminded of a line in 
Grice  1991 (actually his APA presidential address for 1975), "Method in 
philosophical  psychology" to the effect that we need 'pirots' (as he calls 
them) to have  BOTH
 
----- privileged acess
---- incorrigibility.

At the time, a sort of American phase of "formalism", he is merely into  
providing 'remarks' of a formal nature as to how to proceed. With "B" to stand 
 for 'believe' it seems easy enough:
 
B(A, p)  
 
-- Agent A believes that p. Then:
 
B(A (B(A,p))
 
And so on ad infinitum. (Grice I think goes on to simplify that by using a  
subscript, with "A believes-2 that p" meaning not just that he believes it 
but  that he believes that he believes it." What's more interesting is that  
Grice is providing a 'rationale' of an evolutionary sort for why Witters 
(and  Wisdom?) were perhaps right along those lines.  I also notice that, if  
Grice contributed to the early enough 1962 Butler collection (R. J. Butler, 
of  Oxford, later of Reading), "Analytic Philosophy", that collection 
contains some  references to avowals by Gaskill, etc. So, I cannot see how Grice 
COULD *NOT*  have been interested by having Aune at the Dons' Club so 
engagingly engaging  others.
 
A vintage trend. Revising the Grice chronology, I notice that his third  
publication ever or so (or 'unpublication', rather, in this delightful idiom 
he  shared with Grandy/Warner) is on scepticism and common sense ("Common 
sense and  scepticism' , which Grice 1989 dates it as 1946. (The book Aune 
quotes from,  regarding the Hardy reference to 'triviality' in reasoning. On p. 
148 of WoW we  find Grice's reference to Malcolm, "Certainty and Empirical  
Statements", and in the next essay -- "Moore and philosopher's  paradoxes' 
-- again to Malcom now on "Moore on Ordinary language". He typically  does 
not provide dates but I could doublecheck.  But as we moved closer to  Aune's 
territory, there's this fascinating pasage (among many) in what turned  out 
to be a 'locus classicus' apparently, although I'm not sure of what  
("Martian" examples for one). Thus, in "Some remarks about the senses"  Grice 
indeed provides a few alternate 'criteria' seriously enough. He makes  the 
occasional reference to 'pain' (a non-cognitive avowal, to use an online  
reference to Aune's paper), but goes on to propose ONE purely introspective  
criterion for the things that matter. Grice is referring to specific  'criteria' 
for distinguishing the (five, Urmson later will have them in his  British 
Academy lecture -- no wonder the Oxonians turned out conservative at  this 
point) senses, and proposes:
 
"It might be suggested that two senses, for example,
like seeing and smelling, are to be distinguished by 
the *special introspectible character* of the _experience_
of seeing and smelling. That is, disregarding the differences
between the characteristics we learn about by 
sight and smell, we are ENTITLED [as per a self-avowal, as
it were] that seeing is itself different _in character_
from smelling."
 
Grice goes on to complicate the picture, which ends up by talking of  
'primarily visual' and so on. I think it ends up with subscripts. Thus, 'big-i',  
'big-ii'. Both refer to the 'bulk', but 'big-i' may be what you claim you 
SEE as  'big'. While 'big-ii' may be what you claim you TOUCH, say, as 'big'. 
      In the context of the online references to  Aune's "Complexity of 
Avowals" -- as it relates perhaps to Gaskill -- and this  should motivate R. B. 
Jones -- we have the 'phantom' of Ayer out there  somewhere. Ayer was, in 
the words of Grice in his own memoir  ("Prejudices and predilections, which 
become the life and opinions of Paul  Grice") the 'enfant terrible' of Oxford 
philosophy (back in the day), and the  point about avowals was then that 
they were either irrefutable, or unverifiable,  yet meaningful. "Complexity", 
indeed, is the right word! I was fascinated to  re-learn or re-read about 
the details. The Dons' Club at Corpus and all  that. Which brings us back to 
that plan for the ground floor, somehow.  But later...
 
Cheers,
 
JL
 
J. L. Speranza
 
 




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