The Grice Club


The Grice Club

The club for all those whose members have no (other) club.

Is Grice the greatest philosopher that ever lived?

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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The "Gricean" School

---- by JLS
-------- for the GC

--- I MUST PLEAD AN APOLOGY FOR THE rather unimaginative title, but hey. Grice writes that there was no school of Ordinary Language Philosophy: ("Prejudices, predilections, and peccadilloes, which become the life and opinions of H. P. Grice", by H. P. Grice). Grice is contesting furriners who should have known better: Gustav Bergmann had said that they (the 'Griceans') were a bunch of 'futilitarians' -- "and English, at that". The Paris-born author Gellner had said that there was a 'school' which was NOT a 'school of sirens'.

But SCHOOL it was!

You see, Tapper reminded me of the grandiosity of 'otium' ("Albritton would utter the word 'otiose' every two other" -- he means 'words'). And 'skhole' for the Greeks, was 'otium'.

Thus, when people say:

"His views are just scholastic.", what people (vague) mean is that his views spring from his otiosity. Cfr. J. K. Jerome, "Idle thoughts of an idle fellow".


Then there's 'academic'. I would distinguish between:

--- His views are just scholastic


--- His views are academic.

It says something about the present status of academia when we say:

"Einstein's special theory of relativity is academic", i.e. it has no value outside the classroom of Princeton. But it has: Hiroshima was destroyed by Einstein, indirectly!



a. How otiose was Grice?
b. How scholastic was Grice?
c. How academic was Grice?

Re (c): Oxford IS NOT an Academia! Grice indeed 'grew' from a tutor at St. John's -- a private institution -- to 'varsity lecturer' in the royal-chartered institution ('the University of Oxford'). So perhaps he was 'academic' in parts. But when you visit Oxford, it's all about the status, the prestige, and the sports! Only the poor learn at Oxford! So, he was not academic.

Re (a): He was very otiose. How can you NOT call otiose a man whose obit reads: "He championed in auction bridge"?

Re (b): Vide (a)

"Otiose" and 'scholastic' are thus strict synonyms. Only that such things ('strict synonyms') don't exist:

--- The Grecian idea of 'otium' and the Gricean one. When the Romans (ever utilitarian) translated Greek 'skhole' they were at an odd end (if that's the expression): they could NOT conceive of 'otium'. But eventually, they did. (Recall that behind a Great Roman, there is a good 'provincial' and the Roman will leave Rome in haste and just spend his idle days in the villa). Grice was otiose in parts.

As Warnock comments in "Saturday Mornings", the Griceans 'never felt the pressure to 'publish or perish', for at least two reasons:

a. Why should they?

b. They were ENGLISH!

If you've met an Englishman, they are _reserved_. They don't like to disclose things! Less so, or least so, their philosophical views! In this, they contrast with the Americans (or some of them -- some old Bostonians of the old American school WERE pretty reserved: NOT Santayana! But then he had hot Iberian blood in his veins!).

For an Englishman, you have to disclose your views if you must. "And must I?".


Grice disclosed all he had to disclose when he submitted his first essay to Mind in 1941, "Personal Identity".

In 1948, he presented "Meaning" to the Oxford Philosophical Society. This was the time of NON-multicultural Oxford! This was when you wouldn't BELIEVE the types that gathered at that Society! Charmers! Total ones! (Of course Strawson, who was a bit of an over-achiever, could NOT have that and had to submit Grice's paper to Philosophical Review on Grice's behalf (of sorts -- Grice never knew).

In 1961, Grice was invited by the Aristotelian Society to disclose his views in, of all places, Cambridge! He dedicated the session to "The pillar box seems red". Surely a partial disclosure, and as English as you can get, at that!

In 1967, Albritton, who knew Grice well, invited him to disclose his views in Harvard. Grice was hardly nervous, and dedicated the sessions to show the 'evolution' of his views from the vintage 1948 "Meaning". He wanted to show that even if Oxonian and English, he could manage the odd symbolism, too -- and his new definition of meaning is so formal that it even bored Putnam ("You are too formal", he commented. Grice confesses that he was then so oversensitive that he decided to throw logic with the tub water and he was never again seen to use a formalism).

--- By 1967, Grice had ceased to be, officially, English. He will become American, complete with passport. But this Grice Club celebrates the Englishness that remained!

American academia, I would hold, works along slightly dissimilar lines from the Oxonian lines that Grice would have been accustomed from his Oxford days --. On one front: many of the now top American philosophers had acquired the right Oxonian credentials: this was the time when not just Clinton was getting an Oxford education: Searle, Schiffer, Nagel, Stampe, Loar, you name them, were ALL Oxonian educated. The one to 'blame' for this metropolitan (or cosmopolitan) Oxford was perhaps Ryle, who Grice describes in "Peccadillos" as 'having instituted Oxford as a world centre'. In the old days, Oxford catered not even for Occam, who was inceptor at Oxford but got his degree appropriately from the Sorbonne. In the slighter not so old days, it started to cater for Colonials, including Indians (rather than Anglo-Indians who belonged rather to the civil-servant set). It was with Rhodes that, while himself a South African -- visit Rhodesia in the Spring -- Oxford became the American Mecca, if you must.


Monday, March 29, 2010

How many angels?

Grice, Anglo philosophy, and 'mean'
---- by JLS
------- for the GC

---- HAVING JUST POSTED ON ALL that verbal pyrotechnic that the Latin language allows ('implicatum', 'implicans', 'implicanda', 'implicatio', etc.) one wonders. I don't!

But allow me a few points:

(1) Had it not been by the fact (it is a fact) that English philosophy is what it is, Grice would not have been what he has been. I.e. all the distinctions he tried to make: 'natural, non-natural meaning', 'implicature', etc. make little sense in languages with a stronger 'continental' tradition.

(2) Grice's point is partly sophistic or scholastic -- he does quote "How many angels...?". He was not interested in 'conversation' (let alone in 'implicature') per se, but only as manoeuvres to deal with some trends in the philosophy of his day (the polemic 'meaning' versus 'use', for example).

(3) His was an 'applied' philosophy of language. One reads linguists' reading of Grice and you might think that, hey, this philosopher (if philosopher you think he was -- the OED does not: 'British linguist' he gets defined as) was onto language. But he was not. He was, properly, onto philosophy. His philosophy of language is schematic and meant to provide some background to his philosophical distinctions of a more abstract, theoretical nature (in 'ontology', and properly, 'theory of perception').

(4) Etc.

Grice: implicatio, implicatum, implicans, implicandum

C. D. Narvaes wrote in "Philosophical Quarterly":

"Grice’s causal-intentional theory of meaning can also be understood as relying on closure under implication. ... But [he] seem[s] to disregard the difference between the consequences of an utterance and the consequences of the content of an utterance, a fact which might be related to the predominance of the ‘formalist’ view of the validity of inferences and consequences."

I disagree. I.e. I would not think Grice disregards. If there's one thing about Grice is that he seldom disregards. Unregards perhaps (I disagree with Kramer that 'dis-' is a harmless 'negative' -- cfr. "How I met my wife", this blog -- "If pathology is the study of diseases, what is the study of eases called?").


Narvaes goes on:

"Grice uses the phrase ‘what a sentence says’ as opposed to what it implicates (hence associating the property of saying with its semantics and that of implicating with pragmatic aspects)."

This again imports serious ontological 'issues' that may need a fine-tooth comb analyis alla Grice.

In any case, Narvaes is right in adjudicating some weight to the 'implicans'/'implicandum' distinction, which has received little attention in Grice Studies (*ENROLL IN THE "PHD" PROGRAMME IN GRICE STUDIES, GRICELAND). Or not.

Grice: Implicans vs. Implicandum

--- by JLS
------ for the GC

--- FURTHER to the distinctions made by Grice: 'implying', 'implicate', 'imply', 'implicatura', 'implicatum', there's the classical 'implicans' vs. 'implicandum'. This apparently is only mentioned this far by D. Wunderlich in a festschrift for Bar-Hillel.

IT SHOULD NOT be a crucial distinction, but here you go:

'' implicans ''

'' implicandum ''


Philosophers are obsessed with this: explicandum and explicans feature strongly in Carnap. Even Grice (Geoffrey Russell, that is; not Herbert Grice) may even on occasion forget about the distinction, as Edley notes in his symposium contribution for the Aristotelian Society (on "Hume's Law" -- the implicans/implicandum in 'is-ought' matters).


--- This is an important ontological question, but trust linguists to underestimate it. The locus classicus is Gazdar: "I shall use 'implicature' to mean [x], rather than as Grice has it, to mean [y]". Linguists are inclined, wrongly, to say that an implicature is, for example, a sentence, or an utterance!

--- What is the implicans?


(a) It is hard to say. Suppose we do abide by Grice's emphasis on 'conversational move', and 'contribution'. Is a 'contribution' the implicans? I will suppose that it is any utterance 'x' -- qua vehicle for 'meaning'. I.e. provided that, by uttering 'x', U meant that p, we can say that 'x' is the implicans.

(b) This is of course otiose, because Grice has said that 'implicate' will do duty for 'mean'. So we cannot just import and export 'mean' and 'implicans' like that

(c) Still.


As for the implicandum. This is usually a futurus, or futurational, thing. As in Ockham's thing -- it's also deontic:

entia non sunt multiplicanda.

Multiplicandum, implicandum.

I.e. the idea of the '-andum' is that

-- it is passive (passive voice)
-- it is deontic
-- it is future tense

'implicandum', thus: 'the thing which is about to be judged, as per some mandatory issue, to have been put forward, in a defeasible way, by the Utterer, as interpreted by the Addressee.

Again, three points:

(a) Otiose. How can I know what my Aunt will implicate? Surely the future is indeterminate, to talk about what-is-to-be can only confuse (me).

(b) Deontic? Surely it should not be ILLEGAL not to implicate. Never mind 'mandatory' and 'expectation' that Grice uses. Mandate the commandment, as it were.

(c) And what's the vehicle. In any case, this far is clear: it's the implicatum. So the implicatum = the implicandum, only that while 'implicandum' refers to the future, 'implicatum' refers to the preterite. Odd, but Roman (enough). Etc.

Implicatum versus Implicatura

---- By JLS
------- for the GC

--- MARTIN WARNER (BPhil, Oxon -- Philosophy, Coventry) once wrote to me: "I expect you are too much of a Griceist purist to accept my views". But I did! And genial views they were too (on the Lord's prayer as an otiose name or title for "Our Father which art in Heaven..." -- Warner specialises in the anti-Gricean perlocutionary and perilocutionary language of the mis-called 'Common' Prayer).

Consider 'implicatura'. The OED rather wrongly -- but they, they were following me -- vide ADS-L online, J. S. on J. L. S. -- that 'implicature' is a Griceist thing. But Sidonius was using 'implicatura' back in the day (Lewis/Short, 'implicatura', entry in "A Latin Dictionary", Oxford University Press). This was roughly translated, or translated roughly, as Kramer might prefer, as 'entanglement'. But what about the 'implicatum'. I have started to use 'implicatum' -- on Thursdays till about Saturday noon -- for 'implicatura'. But the things are different.

For Grice writes of the distinction ('implicatum', 'implicature' -- he did not use the Latinism, 'implicatura'):

I wish to introduce, as terms of art,
the verb implicate and the related
nouns implicature (cf. implying)
and implicatum (cf. what is implied).

(originally, untitled, 1967).


He goes on to disclose 50% of the point of the manoeuvre: the harmlessly uncontroversial 50%:

the point of this manoeuvre is to
avoid having, on each [of the forthcoming]
occasion, to choose between this or that
member of the family of verbs for which
implicate is to do general duty

-- which he has listed, sc.

A: How is Jones getting on in his new job at Lloyds?
B: Oh, quite well, I think. He likes his colleagues, and he hasn't been to prison yet.

"A might well inquire what the utterer is or was
implcying, what he was suggesting, or even what
he meant by saying that Jones had not yet
been to prison".

One thing is clear:

"Whatever the utterer implied,
suggested, or meant in this example"

--- academic or real-life?

"is distinct from" what the utterer
explicitly communicated "which was,
simply, that [Jones] had not been
to prison yet".


The second, controversial bit of the manoeuvre is to avoid a silly addressee -- perhaps one who passed a course in Introductory Logic but is still naive -- to think that 'implicatum' relates to 'implicatio' as per the Philonian (or "Megarian", as Grice prefers) 'material' -- versus 'formal' -- 'implication' -- which was hardly thus called by Philo.

(What a good name for a philosopher, "Philo" -- and this is NOT the famous "Philo" who fills 5 volumes in the Classical Library, of Loeb).


So we have the "(cf. ...)" brackets by Grice:

I wish to introduce, as terms of art,
the verb implicate and the related
nouns implicature (cf. implying)
and implicatum (cf. what is implied).

--- this is subtle (as subtle it can be):

implicate -- is indeed already established in the lingo by the time Grice was writing (or speaking) and he knew it:

Peter was implicated in Paul's murder.

'implicate' is a Latinism for 'imply': a 'parvenu': both are cognates -- and they form what Latinists call 'a doublet'. Cfr. N. E. Allott on 'plicature', this blog.




I wish to introduce, as terms of art,
the verb implicate and the related
nouns implicature (cf. implying)
and implicatum (cf. what is implied).

In fact, 'implying' is more of a verb? I mean, -ing IS confusing in English. English dislikes the distinction between -nd- forms and -ing forms. In Old English, it was a very marked difference. Suppose we have 'shape' qua verb:

"The shapend" -- "Peter is shapend a statue" (he is giving shape to a statue), where 'shapend' is the present-tense participle, participial and gerundial and gerundive.

This is different from

"Peter's shapUNG, or shapING, of the clay was a piece of sculptoric art", where 'shapING' (cfr. Grice's "(cf. implying)") is indeed a noun. The -ing (German -ung) is a suffix forming feminine nouns out of verbal stems.

But why co-relate 'implicatura' (a noun alright) with 'implying' (which is ambiguous as to what part of speech it is? We must consider that it's the 'feminine ending' noun formation that Grice is referring to here:

"The implying of" ... what?

What is the 'implying' in

"He hasn't been to prison yet".


Grice explicitly has it: "whatever

the utterer implied [i.e. implicated -- after manoeuvre],
... in this example is distinct from" ... [Jones] had not been
to prison yet".

(As it transpires, Grice suggests: "Jones is potentially dishonest" -- cfr. my paper at Buenos Aires -- in front of Searle and Davidson -- "How did you find Buenos Aires?" I haven't been mugged yet". Published in Minutes and Proceedings -- It took me 20 minutes in full to deliver the thing].


So the 'implying' is the 'implicature', or implicatura, but with a vengeance. Or rather, the implicatura (or 'implicature', as Grice prefers) is the 'implying' but with a vengeance. We may want to say that the impliying is the 'implicatio' of the Romans. The idea that it is a noun to be used to 'stand for' -- in the "Fido"-Fido theory of meaning -- for an action:

Cfr. 'natio' though, -- that which stands for the act of 'being born'?


And then there's 'implicatum'. This is NOT the present participle (which we have discarded anyway as interpretant) but the PAST participle, and it would take 'avoir', rather than 'etre' in French:

-- And thus it would NOT 'decline', necessarily:


But we do allow for pluralisation:

'implicata'. But we do use 'implicata' NOT for cases where we have more than ONE utterer doing the 'implying' or putting forward two 'implyings', but when we have TWO acts of 'implying', not necessarily by different utterers.

Since an 'implicatura' is essentially connected with 'indeterminacy' (disjunctional indeterminacy) it may be always the case that more than one 'implicatum' can always be a good case made of finding (if you allow me the clumsy syntax -- Caroline: can you especially proof-read this for me? (I mean, if Judith Butler has a proof-reader, usually female, why Kant I?).



"Since to calculate a conversational [implicatura] is to calculate what has to be supposed in order to preserve the supposition that the [Cooperative Principle] is being observed, and since there may be various possible specific explanations, a list of which may be open, the conversational implicatum [sic. JLS] in such cases will be disjunction [sic -- rather than 'a disjunction'. Proof readers take note] of such specific explanations; and if the list is open, the implicatum will have just the kind of indeterminacy that many actual implicata do in fact seem to possess."

Grice closes his "untitled, 1967 -- II" thus. If the 'Shall I compare thee to a summer's day" manoevure is to be adopted (as I think it should) in philosophy: we have here the untitled, "It is a commonplace of philosophical logic ... many actual implicata do in fact seem to possess" gem of the very best of Oxford OLP (ordinary language philosophy) with a vengeance. Etc.


The 'implying' versus the 'implicatum': the 'implicatura' versus the 'implication', and 'imply' versus 'implicate':

I wish to introduce, as terms of art,
the verb implicate and the related
nouns implicature (cf. implying)
and implicatum (cf. what is implied).

So we have:

verb and noun(s)

verb: 'implicate' versus 'imply'. Range of subject(s): utterer.


1. implicatura (cf. -- why? Why should we confront, or compare? -- 'implying')

2. implicatum (cf. what is implied).

"what IS implied": while Grice uses 'is', we have sort of decided that 'imply' rather takes 'have' -- even if 'is' was the correct more archaic English:

'what is implied': 'what HAS been implied" by [the] Utterer.

I.e. Utterer IMPLIES that p. Or Utterer implies my grandmother. To add a 'that'-clause here is unnecessarily confusing.

She implicated a dislike.

A: Do you like snails and cream?
My grandmother: I like snails.

--- I.e. she dislikes cream.

What she implies is a dislike.

A dislike is what is implied, i.e. what the utterer IS (or in more modern English, has) implied is "a dislike" (or more fastidiously: 'that she dislikes cream' -- 'suggestio falsi').


Implying, Implicatum, Implicata, Implicature, Implicatura, and Implication:

And the four categories:

I wish to introduce, as terms of art,
the verb implicate and the related
nouns implicature (cf. implying)
and implicatum (cf. what is implied).

We have seen (sometime) that Grice is jocular when speaking of the four categories alla Kant. But they are:

Qualitas (first, always, since this for Kant was 'affirmatio', 'negatio', and 'indeterminatio')

Quantitas (second always -- Grice dislikes the logical ordering here -- since, surely how can you have "many" if you haven't yet gotten "any" thing?) -- and this is the quantification: for 'all' (information), 'none' (no information) and 'some' (some information).

Relatio. This relates to assertoric, hypothetical (implicatio) and disjunctional (As every student of Kant knows -- as her tutor is bound to remind him -- I use 'her' because "St. John's" accepted female students in 1975 -- Kant was PRESSING things when having to have THREE divisions per categoria).

Modus. Again theree here: apodeictic, necessary and problematic. It is HERE that the 'implying' strikes back with a vengeance.

Grice wants to say that Categories i-iii relate to 'what is said' and 'what is implicated', but Category iv alone relates to 'the -ing': the saying, the implying. So one has to be careful here.


Note the 'ex post acto' or 'ex post facto' that J. Kennedy has emphasised in a differnt context:

It is most naturally IN THE PAST, or in the future, rather, that the addressee (or philosopher) wonders (or makes as if to wonder) as to what The Utterer HAS expressed, implicated, suggested, meant, implied, said, hinted, etc. -- It's seldom in the future ("I wonder what she'll imply"). Why?


My favourite:

"What have you been doing Sunday afternoon?"

"Spent most of it meaning that it was raining".

This will NOT do: unlike 'breaking wind', etc., to 'mean' is hardly (and neither is 'implying') used in the present continuous. It's bad English. It is, in Berkeley's phrase, a 'harsh' thing to say.

The other is that

it makes more sense to have a philosopher or addressee interested in what the Utterer has IMPLIED. Thus, Grice concludes his untitled 1967 v, as follows:

"U MEANT [sic in preterite] by uttering x that *p p' is true iff (EF)(Ef)(Ec): 1. U uttered [sic in preterite] x intending ..."

At one point Grice changes to the present tense:

"it IS not the case that ... U INTENDS x to be such that..." -- but surely that's best understood with a historical preterite in mind:

"It WAS not the case that ... U INTENDED x ..."

For suppose we are reading the Old Testament. It would be otiose to think that the Holy Ghost (or Holy Goat, in the famous solecism in "Four Weddings and A Funeral" is STILL intending stuff. Or Stuff). Or stuff.

It Ain't Necessarily So

---- Grice on "necessity"
------- by JLS
------- For the GC.

---- KRAMER WAS OBJECTING (smoothly) on the Gricean hammer and the Gricean nail. As he notes, there is

* the Gricean nail


but there is also

* the Gricean hammer


Or, "people, 'disapprovingly', say that to a man with a hammer, everything looks like a nail".

His point:

there is the Griceist phenomenon: conversation as a rational activity, etc. as per Grice's untiled William James Lectures (I follow J. Kennedy, elsewhere, this blog) that 'untitled' is the apex of a healthy narcissism -- "All titles narrow down the stuff, and I contain multitudes").

-- This is the Gricean nail. As when we say: "He e.g. Leech hit the (Griceist) nail".

If Leech hits the Griceist nail with the Griceist sledgehammer (e.g. "Leech explains the rationality of conversation along Griceist lines") then he is a full-blown or something Griceist.


This is different from 'reductionist'. As Kramer notes, he (Kramer) is a reductionist, and relies on 'evolutionary necessity' like a good Darwinist (or Darwinian). His point is that there is a PHAINOMENON ('evolution', as per Herbert Spencer, the philosopher, and his obsession with it). There is the Darwinist sledgehammer, too, 'evolutionary necessity'.

Two points then on the former and the latter:

---- evolutionary necessity. For a Griceist, few things are necessary. On analysis, it can be shown that what was held to be a posteriori analytic is, as R. B. Jones taught me, 'mere a priori definitional stuff'. Cfr. "The fate of evolution", "evolutionary necessity". There is the minor problem of qualifying necessity. Grice refers to 'ichthyological necessity': the necessity of fish, that is. Do we need a concept of 'ichthyological necessity' ("I guess you do if you are a fish", I hear someone comment). A necessity for the fish is different from a different about a fish -- cfr. "You're the cream in my coffee", also cited by Grice, the song that ends: "My only necessity is you".

--- reductionist: Kramer is wanting to say that all reduces to 'evolutionary necessity', and that is an excellent point. Grice had qualms regarding 'reductionism', though. (He was a reductivist alright, but not perhaps a reductionist). A reductivist explains things, and explaining is to 'reduce', i.e. via, e.g. reductive analysis. A reductionist Grice rather sees as an 'eliminationist'. Suppose we do explain the love of chimpanzees as a 'evolutionary necessity' ("If a chimp loves a chimp other than himself, that's an evolutionary necessity"). This 'reduces' the experience of love in the chimp to 'evolutionary necessity', but surely the chimp's experience of love is irreducible (or unreductible). So one has to be careful there. The reductionist may have a problem in having lost the baby with the tub water, as they say. (This is a hyperbole, unless it's a newt baby, or something). Etc.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

"Romeo champions cause of childhood cancer in big way": Gricean charity

From Quinion's World Wide Words:

""Don't let your children get anywhere near these Romeo champions,"
Ken Afton warns us. He was responding to another headline, this
time in the Romeo Observer of Michigan: "Romeo champions cause of
childhood cancer in big way.""


The problem here is ubiquitous: Charity.

Ken Afton, as most of the correspondents to Quinion, are witty.

U: Romeo champions cause of childhood cancer in big way.


Afton understands the thing alright. Yet, he manages to create a context out of which his conversatonal reply:

U2: Don't let your children get anywhere near these Romeo champions.

The rationale:

--- Whatever.

What was the problem here?

--- When you encounter a conversational move that infringes a Griceist maxim, elaborate onto the context that makes the move appropriate by other lights, even if it violates the intention of the utterer.

Gricean and non-Gricean:

-- This is non-Gricean in that it ascribes to the U the wrong intention:

--- that there is a Romeon champion, and a number of them.
--- That they are the cause of cancer in childhood (in a big way).

What is Gricean?

The charitable attitude. Holdcroft has examined this: "Charity and Principles of Conversation" in Bouveresse/Parret. The idea is that charity begins at home. Etc.

--- Note that Afton's intention is to draw the attention to the clumsy grammar, rather:

-= Romeo champions cause of childhood cancer in big way.

"cause" -- Greek 'aitia'. How clumsy can a phrase be?

This in a way is clumsiness with a big C, as per the other quote in World Wide Words

"Sometimes a writer's professional vocabulary can appear where it's
inappropriate. Teresa Goodell found this in some meeting minutes at
the school of nursing where she works: "Students will communicate
relevant committee actions to other students and act as lesions
between the faculty and student body.""

--- Here charity is superficial: 'lesion'.

In the case of the 'cause of cancer' is semantic, rather than merely surface or syntactic, etc. Yet, it is NOT that 'cause' has DIFFERENT 'senses': as 'cause of cancer' and 'cause of childhood cancer'. It means the SAME in both collocations. It is the paraphrases which are different:

'cause of childhood cancer' --- should better read: 'cause AGAINST childhood cancer'? Or cause PROMOTING the welfare of children suffering from cancer?

In any case, to advice parents to keep their children away from Romeo champions may turn to be otiose, under the circumstances. Or not. (To use the Kramerianism).

"Police search for gunman in fatal South Park slaying": A Gricean outlook

From Quinion, World Wide Words:

"Robert Nathan e-mailed, "These fatal slayings are the very worst
kind." He had seen a sad story in the Daily News Wire Services over
a headline which appeared in numerous American newspapers: "Police
search for gunman in fatal South Park slaying"."


Gricean rationale:

i. Do not be more informative than is required:

'fatal slaying': overinformative.

Problem with this approach: 'fatal slaying' is NOT overinformative: it is stupid.

ii. There is no Gricean maxim, 'avoid redundancy'.

iii. Be brief (avoid unnecessary prolixity).

'fatal slaying' infringes this. Again, as per, i., Rather than long, it is Stupid.


Gricean outlook. Kramer has mentioned this Japanese mania of having the worst headlines. What we do at the GC it to provide a rationale.

--- Etymologial fallacy:

Quinion and Robert Nathan should know that 'fatum' ('fate') has NOTHING to do with 'death'.

"Police search for gunman in fatal South Park slaying".

Where _is_ South Park?

Did they find him?

How do they know it was a male? (Could it not have been a transgender: Here is where we DO need 'positive discrimination' or 'affirmation'.

fatal NN slaying

is different from (or 'then' as my friend writes -- Jack his name):

'fatal slaying'.

The fact that a PARK and a South(ern) one is interpolated between the slaying and fate makes for all the difference:


Incidentally, 'fatum' relates to Kramer on 'evolutionary necessity'. How necessary can be evolution? (He can expand, perhaps in different header. Grice loved TALK of necessity). Personally, I think evolution is CONTINGENT, rather than necessary.

But back to the gunman:

"Police search gunman IN fatal South Park slaying"

What was fatal?

I submit that the writer -- perhaps a Buddhist? -- was thinking that while the slaying was fatal (i.e. it had to be - cfr. "It ain't necessarily so", in Porgy and Bess), it may be not fatal that the police search will arrive at a good end for the police (surely not a good end for the gunman).

Strawson was obsessed with that. In Grice's favourite essay -- Strawson's Freedom and Resentment -- Strawson writes of 'fate':

"'fate' is the least of the philosophical notions, or, rather, it is the least philosophical of the notions. Philosophers don't believe in 'fate'".

A fatal slaying?

A fated slaying.

The problem is Greek. The Greeks called "Fate", "Moira". The fates were the Wyrd sisters of pre-destination.

"He was fated to die".

'fated' is perhaps better than 'fatal'. There's also fatuous.

'fatal' slaying also involves a Humean Projection. What was that made the slaying a 'fatal' one?

The idea is that the gunman shot his gun. The bullet hit the victim. The slaying, i.e. the gunman's slaying of the 'victim' -- a fatal victim, as it transpired -- was the predetermined condition for the victim ceasing to exist.

The legality of the proceedings ensued that the police is now searching for the gunman. South Park is a notorious dangerous site. Where is it?

What slaying is not fatal.

For a libertarian who does NOT believe in 'fate':

"Police search gunman in South Park slaying" will just do. But to suppose that the redundancy is non-Griceist is non-Griceist. Etc.

Grice for Philosophers

--- by JLS
------ for the GC

--- I WILL TRY TO COMMENT BASICALLY on Kramer's 'hammer' and 'nail' metaphor. The idea:

I am being, slightly, provocative when I emphasise in this or other threads, the 'philosophical' side to Grice. It is a serious thing, so I welcome the metaphor by Kramer on the hammer and the nails. I will consider them vis a vis Grice.


Grice FOR PHILOSOPHERS. I am thinking, I think, of Chapman's book, "Philosophy for Linguists" -- one of her projects about the Vienna Circle, etc. Then there's the Logic in Linguistics series -- and the Moravcsik, "Philosophy for Linguists", and McCawley, "Everything you always wanted to know about logic but were afraid to ask", etc. Disciplinarians!


GRICE AS PHILOSOPHER. While with a first (two firsts, is that possible?) in Corpus Christi, Lit. Hum., the thing was philosophy with him. It is true that he taught Classics for a year at Rossall, but hey -- is it possible to teach Latin and Greek to teenagers?


'Personal Identity' was Grice's first published thing in 1941: a philosophical thing. But a few years before he had typed a thing on "Negation" (or someone had typed it for him because he was proud of not being able to type). 'Negation' is vintage philosophy. Many of the arguments Ayer will later make in his own 'Negation'. Negation as difference, Platonic and beyond. The empiricist account of negation (cfr. Ayer, "There is no highest mountain than the Everest"), etc. We only have other than archival material a few scattered comments on this in Chapman's archival material. I don't expect a lengthy essay. 'Personal Identity' IS lengthy. it is philosophical, I surmise, rather than psychological. It is about Locke, and memory, and the idea that "I am having a terrible headache as I write this" resolves in impressions of a temporal character.


Grice in the 1940s and 1950s. Not much published. Almost nothing, other than the "Metaphysics" (in Pears, 1957), and the "Meaning" and the "In defense of a dogma" (both for Philosophical Review, where 'for' is hyperbolic -- the first was submitted BY STRAWSON, rather -- and written actually in 1948, as WoW has it. These are philosophical but not CENTRAL concerns by Grice. His 'Meaning' piece is mainly an excercise in logical analysis which became famous for the 'reflexive intention' it introduced -- the Gricean mechanism or way: if U means by x that p, then U intends that A will recognise that U believes that p on the strength of A realising that it is U's further 'communicative' intention to have him recognise that. Or something. First cited by Hart, in 1952 (Philosophical Quarterly). The 'Defense of dogma' was Grice's and Strawson's polite response to a seminar by Quine when visiting the fellows.


Grice in the 1960s: the Oxford-turns-International. It's "Some remarks about the senses", in Butler, and the first international hit, 'Logic and Conversation', where he goes back to his own "Causal Theory of Perception" -- the latter perhaps Grice's best vintage: when his views were ESPECIALLY INFLUENTIAL in the quarters where it SHOULD have been influential. The "Logic and Conversation" at Harvard was already reactionary and 'nostalgic': For Harvardites, OLP (ordinary language philosophy) was a thing of the past already, and I wouldn't be surpirsed if Albritton who, as Chair of Harvard philo, invited Grice did NOT do it to please Quine (recall "Defense of dogma" is the ONLY piece by Grice and Strawson that American of that vintage quoted).

Grice in the 1970s. Here we have the traditionally British Grice delivering his philosophical British Academy lecture on "Intention and Uncertainty". Typically, if the thing was published in the minutes and proceedings (Proc. Brit. Acad., pp. 567-81) it was because he was requested to leave the copy of the notes with them. There's also the very philosophical "Method in pyschological psycholoy" as President of the American Philosophical Association, which again got published in the Proceedings just because Grice was asked to leave a copy of the notes with the institution.

Grice in the 1980s. Grice was diagnosed with emphysema and he knew that there was a drama there. There is some stress on his part, it seems, to publish things, and a revision of this 1970s activity: the Kant-Locke lectures for 1977 (which will be published post-cremationally in 2001) and the Carus lectures for vintage 1982 (which will be published in 1991).

ARCHIVAL MATERIAL AND REPRINTS. What we need is a catalogue raisonee, which Bancroft (Univ. Library) should commission if only as gratitude that the Trustees of H. P. Grice regaled the institution with such a gem. And there's reprints that could well fill a

"Philosophical Papers" volume, to be published by Clarenon -- alla Austin, eponymous, and which should enclude:

-- Vacuous Names
-- Intention and Uncertainty
-- Aristotle on the multiplicity of being (PPQ 1988)
-- Actions and events (PPQ 1986)
-- Metaphysics in Pears, The nature of metaphysics
-- etc.


I once wrote a review for WoW, and I cited Platts reviewing the same thing in Mind: I was, at that time, but pretty much to name-drop, favourably inclined towards Platts' descript of H. P. Grice (for Anglophiles and Brits amongst us it's NEVER "Paul" Grice, less so the New-Worldish, "H. Paul") as

"a philosopher's philosopher"

-- I find the descript ambiguous:

(a) sillily but crucially ambiguous: the possessive and the 'a'. When we say, "a philosopher's philosopher" (we cannot define that as "the" philosopher's philosopher") what do we mean 'a'? It applies to who -- philosopher? Not Grice, but - Platts? Is Platts saying that he is 'a' philosopher that finds Grice a 'philosopher'. So that Grice becomes a philosopher's (i.e. Platt's) philosopher? The phrase is inexistent in Italian (land of the dilettanti).

(b) Other.


"A philosopher's philosopher" hateful implicatum. Grice was perhaps naive or clever when NEVER mentioning 'damn by faint praise'. After all, this is the RESPECTFUL, respected, received name, in the English-speaking world (of people -- a world does not speak, people do), apres Pope, for "he has beautiful handwriting". Ditto, I submit, for

He was a philosopher's philosopher.

Indeed, Platts is even more hateful. He goes:

"The book under review is meant as a subreptitious festschrift on becoming Emeritus for H. P. Grice, a philosopher's philosopher if ever there was one" One what? One Platts? One Grice? If one Platts, indeed! Most people's lives are contingent, and we can imagine a world without Platts. So there.


Why it is a hateful implicatum. Like "His handwriting is beautiful", to be a philosopher's philosopher can only give Grice the nightmares:

"It is a pleasure for me to browse this festchrift. First, because it's all by my colleagues. And more importantly by my friends".

--- But not all of those contributing had 'philo' associations, and he knew it.

--- But cfr. the important variant:

"If Leibniz and Descartes, if Plato and Hegel, if Aristotle and Kant are _great_, it's because they speak to the Common Woman. I, on the other hand, am happy to remain a philosopher's philosopher, if ever there was one."

Surely silly.

Now for Kramer's commentary -- he introduces percussion into the proceedings: the hammer and the nails. He writes:

maybe you're being too hard on these linguists, JL.

Or 'linguists' as I would now have them. I'm not sure Taylor and Cameron hold chairs of linguistics. I think they feel better being described as 'ethnomethodologists'.

Kramer goes on:

Is it not fair to answer the question "What does Grice have to say to linguists?" in a way that does not try to answer "What does Grice have to say to philosophers?" Are you suggesting that all (good) writing about Grice cover the same ground in the same way?

Good. Qualification on 'good' necessary, though. If you re-read, as a philosopher, Taylor/Cameron, you may be finding yourself asking questions, of a philosophical or merely critically conceptual or conceptually critical kind that they are just unable to provide answers for. This can irritate (the philosopher). It's good you left the 'good' in brackets (and thus otiose). (My argument is that anything is brackets is otiose: "Yes, I do own two cars (I also own five others)." "Yes, I am married (or was married, if you must; since I am also a widow" -- Baker makes fun on the way Grice kept using brackets in his writings that she had a problem in interpreting when editing the mimeos for publication -- footnote in "Conception of Value" re: 'pinko').

Kramer continues:

That would not necessarily be wrong; Darwinists debate evolutionary necessity constantly.

Expansion welcome. Are we saying that "Darwinist" is, as I hope it is, like "Gricean" -- witness the hateful 'like', though. I would so much think. But some of the authors discussed label themselves 'neo-Griceans' and 'post-Griceans' which is like saying, neo-Guinness and post-Guinness (thinking alla D. Dutton of "Althusser" as a brand (name)).

Incidentally, is Darwin a Darwinist? I hope you are enamoured by my mention of Grice as a palaeo-Gricean. Strictly, palaeo-Gricean is Aristotle (vide Horn: "Greek Grice: some protoconversational rules in the history of logic", on Aristotle). Horn does not use "palaeo-Gricean", though, _then_ (or afterwards, maybe). We may even doubt about the implicatum-free remark, "Darwin is Darwinist". (or "Darwinian"). I surmise that '-ist' is even a better, more euphonic suffix, "Grice as a Griceist", etc. "The principle of cooperation is a Griceist thing".

Kramer goes on to introuduce the sledge:

It is often said, disapprovingly, that to a man with a hammer, everything looks like a nail, and you do not fall into that trap.

Or into that vyse, as it were. (""Vice" is as ambiguous word," writes Grice ambiguously -- they are DIFFERENT words -- "yet a pun is created if I say that Jones (sorry Roger Bishop, but "Jones" IS the surname Grice keeps using) is caught in the grip of a vice").

Oddly, even to a man not at the moment of utterance WITHOUT a hammer, most things do look like "one" nail: My argument goes that everything is like everything else (only different). If you've seen the Mad-Hatter (Johnny Depp) in tridimension you leave the movie theatre thinking that if we do not know why a raven is LIKE a writing desk that's the script-writer's fault.

Kramer goes on:

Maybe philosophy is the only nail worthy of the Gricean hammer. But I hope not. For me, a simple reductionist with no preference for any discipline - "undisciplined," you might say - there are precious few hammers and many, many nails, and I cannot stop always to do philosophy before nailing down something else.

Thank you: that was an excellent phrased thing to say! Only I would use 'sledge'. Oddly, Grice's metaphor is the fine-tooth combed (of Bill Bailey's fame). He would seeve through arguments with a fine-tooth comb. Not your regular sledge. But of course you say that people do use 'hammer' disapprovingly. In fact, Grice discusses the cooperative principle as the carpenter's art of dovetailing (cfr. his use of 'vice' -- "a tool used by carpenters", Grice notes, WoW:MR). The art of dovetailing is NOT having to use a hammer (and thus, not having to use a nail, or two).

Wood ("The force of lingusitic rules") and others have elaborated on this. The idea is that a hammer is a 'functional' word (cfr. Grice on 'cabbages and kings' in "Conception of Value"). Indeed, the disapproving idea about the hammer is that: what purpose can a hammer have without a nail. Thus the adage cited by Kramer:

"To a man with a nail, everything looks like a hammer" (or something). (I echo Kramer's remark, 'Screw it, JL!').

Kramer goes on to cite a very apt poetical thing:

Recall Robert Frost's famous essay on the choices we make about misusing our tools: "Whose nails these are I think I know/His workshop's in the village, though/
He will not see me stopping here/To ball and peen his cabin so./Linguistics is all right, you see/But I'm into [philosophee]/And that's just how it has to [bee]. And that's just how it has to [bee]."

Indeed amusing. Oddly, to be 'into' is sometimes stupidly described as being a Valley-Girlism, "I'm so not into Malibu". It's odd that Frost used it like that, "But I'm into philosophee". How "all right" can lingusitics bee if you're not INTO it, in the stead, the implicatum goes.

Kramer comments: "I left out a couple of verses, as I don't remember them exactly and I wouldn't want to misquote". Excellent. For the record, I think he said he was 'into butterflies' or stuff.


But back to the hammer and the nail. The problem with the hammer is Heideggerian. Geary knows about this stuff. A hammer is what Heidegger calls 'zu hand', i.e. to the hand. A nail, on the other hand, is not 'to the hand' but 'to the hammer', literally. A tool is a tool is a tool.

Grice --
what Grice wrote --
the disciplines.
The keywords: 'philosophy'.

In my own PhD dissertation, I made a POINT OF NEVER using the word 'philosophy' or 'philosophical'. It sounded so otiose to me to focus on that word. After all, the thing WAS being submitted to a "Philosophy Department", and surely philosophers don't want to hear about philosophy (they don't want to hear about most anything else either -- and I never used 'linguistic' or 'linguistics' either).

'philosopher' qua keyword.

--- In a way, 'philosopher' is possibly a misnomer. "Grice for philosophers", I enitlted, unimaginatively, this (Hey, one should stop calling thing 'unimaginative'. I know people -- and friends even -- compared to what THEY say, "Grice for philosophers" is 'florid'. They have the most unimaginative, dreary, dull prose -- and verse, too -- even if it usually gets the 'rhyme' wrong!

---- Etc.

Genial Title by Grice

--- by JLS
----- for the GC

---- HEY, I MAY BE PROVIDING some genial thoughts as to why ALL of Grice's titles invoke a geniality! But at a later stage:

Way of Words -- was perhaps 'genial'. So was 'Personal Identity', and "From Genesis to Revelations", etc.

ODDLY Grice finds Austin's "Sense and sensibilia" unfunny. I tend to think of it as one of the most imaginative title by an OLP (ordinary language philosopher -- don't you hate it when you have the writer using a most acronymic kryptogram and killing the effect by elucidating it?)

While NOT perfect: the idea that students at Oxford could enrol in a course "Sense and sensibilia" (such a bore) by one J. Austin -- is a charmer.

Russell would say that Saturday mornings are NOT the right day or the right time to philosophise. One is HARDLY imaginative. Ah well. The other day, a cartoon in the daily I read (!) by Andy Capp read: wife witnessing football match: "In Saturday morning football, that is called the hangover head-on".

PART OF THE CHARM Of Grice's genius is that he was so creative with words (Hegel, too, but differently): 'implicature', 'immanuel', 'pirot', ... you name it. The fact that these creativity is hidden behind perfectly boring and respectable titles ("The Causal Theory of Perception", "Meaning", etc.) is yet another mark of Grice's genius! (There are seven of them -- such marks).

How Imaginative Can Grice Be?

--- by JLS
------ for the GC

ODDLY, even if I, to challenge the Establishment, cite this as "How UNimaginative Grice can be?", the implicatum is the same: i.e. "how imaginative" and "how UNimaginative" carry the SAME set of implicata (a one-member set as it happens). Cfr.

"How silly is Joan Rivers?"
"How intelligent is Joan Rivers"

--- the rationale for this must be in the Irish dislike for 'n't' ("Do you not think that?")


Kramer wrote extensively on 'unimaginative titles'. There are TWO things to consider:

--- R. B. Jones's idea of a keyword: We have a work in progress (forever in progress as my aunt jokes), "Carnap and Grice" -- "We must keep the keywords: surely more people will be interested to read about them than us", he surmises. Not so sure!

--- Kramer's idea that IMAGINATIVE titles are narcissitic (cfr. his views on pricniple) and 'otiose'.


A REVIEW OF GRICE'S TITLING PRACTICES, with an emphasis on his post-crematorian practices (* I used to refer to many items of Grice's stuff as 'posthumous' -- his three books to date, for example -- but surely since the man (or his body, as I prefer) was cremated in 1988, post-crematorial sounds more apt -- or apter).

1941. 'Personal Identity', for Mind. Unimaginative. But since this was published in the imaginatively titled review, "Mind" -- originally and BY THE TIME GRICE PUBLISHED IT, still subtitled: "a journal of philosophy and psychology", let that be.

The next paper by Grice was in collaboration, so we can skip that. He then published

1957. 'Metaphysics' (again in collaboration). Grice thought so little (literally) of this item, that he had forgotten all about it when he was listing his publications for his festschrift.

1957. 'Meaning'. Unimaginative. Oddly, my thesis advisor (Rabossi) who could SPEAK Iberian (with an accent) was so IRRITATED when Analise Menasse translated this as "Significado" -- He crossed that out to read, "SignificAR": i.e. it is not a noun in Grice, but a verb (as in "Breaking Wind", to use J. Kennedy's remark by Orwell on Italian waitery).

1961. The causal theory of perception. Unimaginative. I would have titled the thing, "When a pillar box seems red". This was for the imaginatively called "Aristotelian Society" so let that be.

1966. Some remarks about the senses. In Butler, "Analytic Philosophy". Unimaginative. "Remarks" is NOT an infomrmative remark. Cfr. Kramer's notes on 're:' in post titles. "Surely" (or words), "a post about 'myth' is still to be entitled 'myth', not "Re: myth"". For Kramer, the addition of 're:' disqualifies the FIRST post ('myth') as NOT being about myth.

1967. Logic and Conversation. UNIMAGINATIVE. But then, "William James Lectures", as he left them untitled, is perhaps TOO 'imaginatory'. Of the 7 William James lectures, I think the most imaginatively titled one is the first: "Prolegomena". This reminds me of Borges and his favourite philosophical book ever: Schopenhauer, "Prolegomena and Paralipomena" (Ah well). To think that while Schopenhauer was providing deep thoughts on the nature of suicide and the prospects of pessmisim, while Grice is discussing Searle's example of a bunch of Texas oilmen uttering, "He is not lighting his cigarette with a 20-dollar bill" gives you the idea.

1975. "From the banal to the bizarre". This is the subtitle (VERY IMAGINATIVE) to his less imaginative title, "Method in philosophical psychology", which was his (i.e. Grice's rather than Searle -- by default, my use of pronouns refer immediately to the previous MALE in the discourse -- not mentioning "he" who was NOT lighting that cigarette, etc.) presidential address for the American Philosophical Association. ("American" means "US.", and thus it may include a Harborne native).

1971. "Intention and Uncertainty". Witty more than imaginative. This came earlier than 1975, but what the heck! It was a parody (alla music-hall) of Hampshire, "Intention and Certainty".

1978. Further notes on logic and conversation. Perhaps Grice's LESS imaginative (or more UNimaginative) title. THe idea of 'notes on', and "further" is so otiose that one wonders about Peter Cole. Peter Cole and Jerry Morgan had cajoled Grice into allowing his thing published for his friends Davidson/Harman, "The grammar of logic" (1975) into the third volume of their "Syntax and Semantics" boring series for Academic Press. Now it was 1978, and Cole was commissioned -- by the hardly 'academic' Academic Press -- to submit yet another volume in the series. If he had unimaginately entitled the 3rd volume, "Speech acts", he entitled the volume 9, "Pragmatics" -- and he had the thing by Grice, untitled. "How the hell shall we call this?". It was decided, on a VERY unimaginative day, "Further notes on logic and conversation". I would have entitled it, "Modified Occam's Razor" or something.

1982. "Meaning Revisited". This is imaginative, if perhaps NOT AS imaginative as Waugh's (now a major film with Emma Thompson), "Brideshead Revisited". How can you revisit 'meaning'? (Cfr. Kennedy on 'revising' Breaking Wind). This was published in the unimaginatively titled "Mutual Knowledge" book -- again by the hardl academic "Academic Press" in a volume ed. by N. V. Smith).

1986. Actions and Events. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 1986. This is a VERY imaginative essay with a rather dreary unimaginative title of Davidsonian resonances -- it was one of Grice's typical things published to please others: Davidson, in this case.

1988. Aristotle on the multiplicity of being. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly, 1988. Pretty unimaginatively titled, seeing that he quotes from the WONDERFULLY imaginatively titled (by Canadian author G. E. L. Owen), "Aristotle: The Snares of Ontology").



1968. The Syntax of Illusion -- an analysis of "The pillar box seems to me, in post-hallucinatory haste, as if it wouldn't exist".

1967. Can one have a pain in one's tail?
-- NOT PUBLISHED. Cited by Grice in "The unpublications of H. P. Grice", the appendix to "Prejudices and predilections, which become (sic) the life and opinions of H. P. Grice" by H. P. Grice.


The Whisky Principle

--- by JLS
----- for the GC

--- I WAS ONCE CONVERSING WITH ZWICKY AND HORN. ZWICKY was telling us how his surname is Swiss in origin. We were (rather, Horn and Zwicky and others were) discussing the unphonematicity of "Zweck". There is NO such phonemic combination in English, so the NAME HAS to be furrin. Zwicky explained that there was a problem with the -cky, too. I don't recall the particulars -- must have them somewhere else -- but Horn suggested that a more natural phonological evolution of this linguist's surname ("Zwicky", not "Horn") to match English natural phonetics would be "Whisky" (properly metathesised). "Horn", on the other hand, is Indo-European.


Anyway, 'whisky' is NOT English. It is CELTIC. The Scots spell it 'whiskie'. The 'wh-' is strong. It means 'water of life'.

--- J. KENNEDY comments that it's never


in Eire, and Ulster,


"do not"


Zwicky has famously put forward a similar thesis. We were criticising Grice on "not" and he goes, "Surely, 'Ain't she sweet?' DOES not feature 'not'. It features 'ain't'"

For Zwicky,

"The King of France isn't bald"

-- projects different truth-conditions, and not just implicata, from (or 'than' as my friend, the illiterate one, prefers)


"The King of France is not bald".

I wouldn't (i.e. woud NOT) know!

The Only Faculty that Matters Oxonianly

-- And that's Lit. Hum.
-- by JLS
----- for the GC

----- GRICE HELD TWO FIRSTS from Corpus Christi.

I. M. Crombie, of Wadham, passed a couple of days ago.

Nowadays, there is a Sub-Faculty of Classical Languages and Literatures. In the good old days of Grice and Crombie, it was plain "Faculty of Lit. Hum." -- The very idea of a sub-faculty is confusing (if not irritating).

If one studies the education of a gentleman (almost -- vide Osbornce) one gets the idea. Grice was unsure if what he was doing was classics OR philosophy. The programme of Lit. Hum. was such that the less of philo, the more.

Nowadays, with the "Classical Languages AND Lits" the whole thing is very confusing and the result obvious. If D. Dutton has criticised English teachers who can't write English, it's all "Diegetical gender bender narratives in "Daphne and Chloe"" today. The classics have become notably unphilosphical, and a genius, and author of "An examination of Plato's doctrines" (as Crombie was -- and the one I used in my first philo essay ever, on Plato) becomes 'sub-marginal'!

Friday, March 26, 2010

A Linguist Reads Grice

--- By JLS
----- for the GC

--- ACTUALLY IT'S TWO: Taylor and Cameron. As a submittor to a thesis in philosophy for a department of philosophy I had to order so many books! Among them, this rather dreary one by Deborah Cameron (I love her) and Talbot Taylor (I love him). Their book was expensive and slim and it's called, rather unimaginatively (I love them) "Conversation", and it has one chapter, called, unimaginatvely (I love them), "Grice". As I comfily browse it at my Swimming-Pool Library -- it's a hardback so it has a small niche therein, I excerpt some passages for the Club. It occupies, p. 81 to 97 and it has no philosophical reflection to it, but hey.

They introduce the topic or 'brand' "Grice" as follows:

One school [cfr. Esther Williams, "School of sirens". JLS] of thought in pragmatics that has had a strong influence ... is that which has its source in Grice.

--- What do they say regarding Grice himself?

Grice originally presented his theory of ... implicature in the William James lectures... These have never been published in their entirety

They are writing, admittedly, before 1989, when Grice's book was posthumously published.

mimeographed copies of the [thing] have circulated widely.

But Grice never allowed for publication of his unpublications to be misquoted freely. And rightly so.

Cameron and Taylor continue:

Grice begins his discussion

Does he? They have just said that the things were NOT published in their entirety. As the format of the WoW reprint shows, that above is NOT HOW Grice begins his discussion. Rather, he begins his discussion by placing his own self as an A-philosopher. He is concerned with the evolution of his views on meaning [as a methodological concern of philosophical import only, not an empirical-linguistic, less so ethnomethodological one] from "Causal theory of perception" via the lectures at Oxford to the 1967 vintage (meant for Americans). -- Note that Taylor and Cameron are Americans.

by pointing out that conversations are
not made up of a series of disconnected remarks

You see what you mean!? Such deep thought! I mean, you have Grice being quoted (murdered?) by some linguists and philosophy gets the worst press ever. Why aren't philosophers citing linguists in the stead? Grice is not pointing out THAT: Everybody knows that! What he is saying is that his previous views against Wittgenstein's account of 'perception' talk was totally misguided because he (Witters) ignored the OBVIOUS fact that there is a rationale behind the report of perception facts. It was TOO good that Grice cared to leave the "Valedictory Essay" for posterity, but count the linguists quoting from it -- even the relevant section on strand 6 -- seriously enough!

They continue, our Taylor and Cameron:

rather, they are characteristically rational, co-operative events

Let's have a party!


[Grice] claims that the participants in
a conversation will recognise a common
purpose or set of purposes

In the future. They will recognise a common purpose in the future!

which may evolve during the conversation and may be more or less definite

As in the talks he had to endure from some of his tutees!


This general pricniple of conversational interaction,
helping to organise participants' contributions around
a common purpose, Grice refers to as the
'Co-operative Principle'

But with which he fought for years. Nothing about it in the lectures he had delivered at Oxford one year before. It's all about Candour, Benevolence, Self-Love and stuff. He could change to amuse different audiences. (Recall he was official university or varsity lecturer for Varsity).

Grice goes on to dientify a number of
specific maxims and sub-maxims which
fall under and joinlty make up the
force behind the CP

No reference to the Kant amusing reference ('echoing Kant', Grice says). He is echoing Kant in MORE than the obvious respect of using 'maxim' (a Kantianism) and the FOUR Categories of Understanding for Kant (Quantitas, Qualitas, Relatio, and Modus) --: also in the fact that the CP works as Kant's 'principle of practical reason' that universalises the particular maxims.

Maxims function by constraining
the participants' behaviour so as to make
conversations orderly, purposeful, and
maximally efficient

--- At least they could have provided different adjectives for each category. What about informativeness? Trustworthiness? Clarity? -- each category has a special import.

Grice suggests that there are nine maxims

This is an excellent point! For with the extra one in WoW:P & CI that gives us the "Decalogue"!


One good thing that Taylor and Cameron could NOT have possibly misunderstood in Grice is the rationalist motivation:

conversationalists follow the CP and may
justifiably be assumed to follow the CP
ceteris paribus because it conforms to
principles of human rationality

How many times I have witnessed linguists filling their mouths (I love them) with the word 'rationality' but few caring to go in detail in Grice's special book on the topic, "Aspects of Reason". For Grice, rationality is the problem, not the solution!

Cameron and Taylor continue:

Grice and his followers argue that
conversational 'rules' are NOT
arbitrary and are NOT simply the
products of social conventions

This is good, but trust that they want to rush to their comfort zone:

Although Grice's rationalism is clear,
he does not support it at any length

--- Only he dedicates a whole book, five lectures at Stanford ("The Kant Lectures"), six lectures at Oxford ("The Locke Lectures") and zillions of references in "The H. P. Grice Papers" -- at no length, indeed!

Taylor and Cameron leave Kant, Aristotle, Grice and the major philosophers and go on to discuss Leech instead! (I mean, I love him! But what can he SAY about the Philosophical Grounds of Rtionality: Intentions, Categories, Ends?

That is the Griceian chapter finished. And we are on p. 87. The remaining of the chapter entitled Grice is for a discussion of a disparate bunch of authors!

Grice on "Not"

--- by JLS
------ for the GC

--- WE HAVE DISCUSSED PROFUSELY at this club the idea of 'not', mainly with regard to what J. Kennedy identifies as an Irish 'tic': "Don't you think he is always wrong?", rather than the more natural, "Do you think he is sometimes right?". Also in connection with what Kramer calls "Queen Anne is dead" "or is not dead".

Kramer was asking me to revise Gazdar's arguments. Believe it or not, I have a copy of Gazdar's book in my Swimming-Pool Library. I treasure it, because when I had to be evaluated for a course as a student, I cited from Gazdar, and the person who was grading me -- asked me for a copy of the book. (It happened to me often, that I had to instruct my instructors. In the case of providing copies of Grice, "Method in philosophical psychology" to instructors who had to grade me on philosophical psychology the thing was kind of amusing).

In any case, this is what Gazdar says about the four possible truth-functors of monadic appearance, like "not".

The others are T, P, and Q.

--- where he found the rubrics from escape me (i.e. go beyond my whatever).

We are concerned with Kramer especially the rationale for this. Kramer was saying that indeed, there is a rationale for the T, the P, and the Q, and not just 'not'. And I agree wholeheartedly with Kramer.

Gazdar is a linguist, not a philosopher. As such, they really don't care for philosophical arguments. They care for realizations in natural language, provided they are not just realisations in philosophers, even if native speakers. They are not ideal enough.

So this is what Gazdar rather dogmatically, authoritatively and unphilosophically says:

"There are four one-place truth-functors definable for a language having a bivalent semantics."

Their definitions are:

1 0 1 0
0 1 1 0


"Why is it that the only one which occurs in natural language is N?"

Why not? ie. Not why? The question is loaded already.

The sad is that the brings Grice onto the picture he wants to draw (This was a mere PhD dissertation under Palmer at a provincial university -- not far from Oxon, indeed, but provincial enough -- I love the provinces, don't get me wrong (* It was Berkshire).

Gazdar writes:

"Grice's maxims provide us with straightforward answers".

But Grice's maxims were UNPUBLISHED. Gazdar -- does he quote from --- where? Because he does have the decency NOT to quote from unpublished things by Grice. (Recall that Grice's 1967 William James lectures were only published posthumously in 1989 -- so that all of the Griceian influence was in areas where he'd rather not be seen cited at all).

"The maxim of manner," Gazdar goes on, ignoring or minimising the fact that this is AMUSING Grice. I.e. Grice amusing himself (or his-self) and his Harvardite audience back in 1967. No such thing as SERIOUS manner. This is the MODUS of Kant, as mistranslated as "Manner" by, of all people, Kemp Smith.

"motivates exclusion of T".

But a bit of undogmatic thinking along TRULY Griceian lines motivates again its inclusion. And never mind obscure lingos that no-one speaks. We's talkin' English! And I have some native speakers on my side, too!

"Because," Gazdar continues, Tphi iff phi, but Tphi is a LONGER expression than phi, use of Tphi in preference to phi would involve unnecessary prolixity, which violates the maxim."

He means the SUPER-maxim, 'be perspicuous' (sic -- see the amusement by Grice in calling a clarity maxim by reference to a very obscure way of naming clarity: perspicuous-being). Rather, it may be the maxim proper, "avoid unnecessary prolixity (sic)". But this is of course NOT violated since Grice dedicates the full last bit of lecture III to Strawson on 'it is true that...'.

"Furthermore," Gazdar goes on, P and Q are eliminated by the maxim of [relatio]." He uses 'relevance', but Grice would rather be seen talking French as a native speaker than using 'relevance' as the name of the maxim!!

Gazdar goes on: "Because Pphi iff Ppsi and Qphi iff Qpsi for ANY sentences phi and psi, it follows that the arguments of such functions are quite irrelevant to the truth valuation of sentences in which they appear."

Typical PhD dissertation talk. Impressive, i.e. meant to impress F. R. Palmer, a linguist whose claim to fame is to have written a short commercial intro to semantics where he cursorily eliminates Grice in one passage or two. Recall that Gazdar's thing was DISTRIBUTED before book form, and then, hocus pocus, got published by the very 'academic' "Academic Press", which is the one I have in front of my eyes -- and not out of the pleasure of reading it, but because my love for Grice!

I refer to Kramer's commentary for a truly Griceian (and Kramerian and Speranzian) account of P and Q (Minding your P's and Q's we could call it, echoing Robin Talmach -- married to Lakoff).

Gazdar, not happy with having impressed Palmer and been awarded the title of a doctor (PhD but this is a misnomer in that it's NOT in "philosophy") (I love Gazdar) goes on:

"If Grice's maxims capture universal principles of language usage".

-- or "universal principles of language usage at Oxford", as I rewrote the thing in the ch. viii of my philosophy thesis, "The cunning of conversational reason", the title of that chapter --

Gazdar continues:

"then it is is HARDLY surprising that NO languages [that Gazdar speaks -- they exclude English, as thought out by people like Grice, Kramer, and me] have truth-functional operators which would violate those maxims whenever they are used."

--- And the circus? Can't language be used at the circus too? I mean, Gazdar is supposed to have brought a 'fresh air' to linguistics: hey, the man was FORMALISING pragmatics! But in the proceedings, he is violating Grice! For surely the linguistic idiosyncrasies of one, say, H. Corey HAVE to be taken into account. If you CAN Think of things like "NAND" and "NALL" then these operators DO Exist. Ditto for T, P, and Q. They are not inconceivable. Perhaps THAT's the big mistake that linguists commit, from the more perspicuous vision of the philosopher. For the philosopher (and Grice was a philosopher, not a linguist) argues (rationally) about the CONCEIVABLE. If Grice or I had wanted to study linguistics, imagine the bore! Grice quoting from Firth!

--- Anyway, Gazdar goes on:

"Use of N will NOT in general violate any of Grice's maxims"

My! What about "That man over there is NOT lighting a cigarette with a 20-dollar bill". THAT does violate the maxims alright. And yet it is a perfectly well-formed logical operator and attending formula. So what is Gazdar talking about? (Of course we know, but we are playing the philosophical devil's advocate -- which Grice needs most when discussed by linguists).

--- Gazdar continues:

"Besides this negative advantage, N can be used to define other operators and connectives in a way which T does not permit."

This IS a good point.

"Thus N can be used to define T (Tphi iff NNphi), but the converse is not possible."

Good point. No iteration of Queen Anne can yield "NOT" dead, or something. So what? Who says that the virtue of x is that it allows to define y? Imagine if we say "Jupiter is less important than Mars, because from Mars you can travel to Jupiter, but not vice versa". Fallacious. Etc.

Gazdar goes on:

"Furhermore, if we add T to a language containing just conjunction and inclusive disjunction, then we are no better off. But if we add N to such a language, then we can define all the other connectives and thus increase the expressive power of the language."

Again, this begs on the question that definability of one operator in terms of another is a rational requsite. Indeed, quite the contrary. If definability were SUCH a rational requisite, people would NOT be introducing otiose operators which can be defined elsewhere in the FIRST place. It's not like Grice's analysis of 'mean' in terms of 'intend', say. I can teach someone the meaning of 'mean' by explaining how 'mean' is constructed out of 'intend'. But it would be stupid of me to teach someone the meaning of 'if' by relying on 'not'.


Gazdar finishes this rather inconclusive section thus: "This fact makes N invaluable in such languages."

Not for Jenny:

"Jenny made her mind up when she was twelve,
into furrin languages she would delve,
but at seventeen at Vassar it was quite a blow,
For in twenty four languages she couldn't say 'no'"

---- Gershwin.

--- Gazdar finishes it off this section of his Reading MS: "If the arguments to be given later can be maintained," -- typical PhD phrasing: it's all about the argument and how things can be maintained till you are awarded the degree -- never mind afterwards! Note that Gazdar never again publish ONE thing in formal pragmatics -- "then it may well be that natural languages [sic in plural -- i.e. not logic, not Griceish, not anything resembling a rational calculus alla Leibniz and Whithead and Russell that Grice is defending --] are of just this type."

The type that typifies "not"!

Fields's Griceian Humour

--- by JLS
----- for the GC


JOURNALIST: Do you believe in clubs for young men?
FIELDS: Only when kindness fails.

--- cited by Attardo.

I am going to try to retrieve some of the sort-of humorous illustrations in Attardo's work and see how they connect with Grice, as he explicitly (Attardo does) makes the connection.

In this case,


'avoid ambiguity'.

Grice and Strawson as The Philosophical Logicians

--- by JLS
----- for the GC

-- AS I COMFILY REVISE STUFF AT MY SWIMMING-POOL LIBRARY, I come across the intro to Strawson to his "Philosophical Logic". Of all papers by Grice, he (Strawson) HAD to reprint "Meaning" -- totally offtopic, but hey -- he had respect for his tutor's views, and what Grice ONLY IN 1989 (one year after his death) had as "Logic and Conversation" was NOT YET PUBLISHED.

In the intro, Strawson manages to make an excellent commentary. Since this is my PhD thesis I know. I did study all of the Grice philosophers of the Grice generation (Strawson does NOT count because he was almost ten years Grice's junior). But Urmson, Austin, Nowell-Smith, Warnock do count). Strawson only counts as Grice's "pupil".

Yet, Strawson is on the other hand important because he was the ONLY one Grice cared to quote -- he would NEVER quote from Warnock's brilliant "Metaphysics in Logic". Grice saw Warnock as a philosopher of PERCEPTION only and never took his views on philosophical logic seriously enough. Nor Thompson's and his "Defense of Material Implication", or Urmson in "Philosophical Analysis".

No. For Grice, it was "Strawson" only. And this because Grice found Strawson 'colourful'. I.e. the mere idea of a truth-value gap amused Grice. Strawson gave Grice the opportunity to go to the defense of his ultra-conservative views on classical logic.

Strawson and Grice knew what they were talking about: Quine. -- Quine had visited the men (well before the infamous defense of a dogma by Grice/Strawson in reply to Quine's more infamous yet, "Dogma of Empiricism"). To think that Grice and Strawson were empiricists was just too much for Grice and Strawson to swallow.

Anyway, I have a copy of Strawson's Intro -- to Philosophical Logic (volume, self-edited for OUP) and Grice is cursorily but brilliantly cited, on p. 9.

The section where Strawson cites Grice is "Truth-Functions".

Rather than Grice, Strawson quotes directly from Quine. In Methods of Logic, Quine had written:

Such connection between antecedent
and cosnequent

of material implication via horseshoe

p --> q

underlies the useful application
of the conditional without needing to
participate in its meaning. Such connection
unerlies the useful application of the conditional
even though the meaning of the conditional
be understood precisely as
'- (p.-q)'

Strawson adds:

"The case has been most powerfully argued
by Grice in a paper unfortunately

---- Indeed, Grice possibly delivered those lectures just to get Strawson off his head. He quotes explicitly from Strawson on 'if' in "Intro to Logical Theory" (vintage 1952) in "Prolegomena" and dedicates the central lecture, No. 4, to 'if'.

The thing had impressed Strawson so much that he wrote, in 1968, 'If and -->'. Which some 18 years later was finally repr. in the PGRICE festschrift. In a gaffe, Strawson managed to REPRINT the thing in his "Identity and Essence" -- thus killing the idea of a festschrift which contributors should SWEAR they are NOT going to publish elsewhere. (Strawson did swear and fulfilled his promise when he said that he would NEVER reprint the thing he co-wrote with Grice, "In defence of a dogma" -- but one never knows with executors).



In "If and -->" Strawson is more clear as to what the gist is (cfr. Grandy in "Legacy of Grice" for the Berkeley Linguistics Society, 1990, ed. K. Hall). It is a MOOT point.

For Grice, the implicature is CONVERSATIONAL. For Strawson it is CONVENTIONAL. Big deal, right?

The Silly Toe

--- By JLS
----- for the GC

-- I LOVE SILLITOE and I hosted him when he was in Buenos Aires. Leech/Short cite him along with the authors of "The Horse Dealer's Daughter" and "The Magus" on p. 298 of "Conversation in the novel" -- implicature section. They quote from "Loneliness of a long-distance runner"

DETECTIVE. Well, you know where Papplewick Street is, don't you?
SMITH. Ain't it off Alfreton Road?
DETECTIVE. You know there's a baker's half-way down on the left-hand side, don't you?
SMITH. Ain't it next door to a pub, then?
DETECTIVE. No, it bloody well ain't.

Leech/Short comment:

"The detective is quizzing Smith on the break-in that has just taken place in Papplewick Street. Both participants know that Smith is responsible, and also that the detective cannot prove it. Each time the policeman invites Smith to give him information whey they BOTH KNOW he has as his disposal, Smith avoids giving him the answer by pretending to make guesses which they both know are incorrect. The detective states what he believes to be true and invites Smith to confirm it. By replying by asking questions, Smith denies the premise of shared knowledge on which the detective's interrogation is based. The detective's loss of temper is easily understood when we realise that Smith has turned the tables on him, posing questions where, in his role of suspect, he should be giving answers."


LeCarre and LeGrice

--- By JLS
----- for the GC

WHEN YOU RESEARCH FOR GRICE ONLINE you are bound to encounter LeGrice, a Brit film maker. Ditto, when you research for cheap authors cited by Leech and Short in the chapter "Conversation in the novel" you are bound to meet LeCarre.

Leech/Short cite from his "The Spy who Came in from the Cold"


ch. 25:

LIZ. But what about Fiedler? Don't you feel anything for him? Do you think the death of this East German innocent that you have contributed was justified?
LEAMAS: This is war.


Leech/Short describe Leamas's reply as

"a further example of a statement which is self-evidently untrue. Here, Leamas breaks NOT only the maxim of Qualitas, but also the maxim of Relatio. But on a deeper level, via the maxim of relation, we wee that he DOES answer it. By saying that there is a where then there is not and also when it is NOT relevant he implicates that having feelings for victims in espionage is, as in war, inappropriate."

Branwell Brunty Does Grice

--- by JLS
----- for the GC

--- AT LONG LAST LEECH/SHORT manage to quote from a quotable author: Brunty, Branwell. HE is the author of "Wuthering Heights". Leech and Short cite from Ch. 17:

NELLY DEAN. Hush! Hush! Heathcliff IS a human being. Be more charitable: there are worse men than he is yet!

ISABELLA. He's NOT a human being. And he has no claim on my charity. I gave him my heart, and he took and pinched it to death, and flung it back to me.


LEECH AND SHORT (and I quote this to please or amuse or something Kennedy!):

"When Nelly calls Heathcliff 'a human being', she breaks the maxim of Quantitas by stating what is self-evidently true and therefore redundant. The implicature made apparent by twhat follows, is that he DESERVES to be treated with the sympathy and consideration that human beings usually afford to each other."

Except when you are a darky from nowhere as this Yorkshireman savage is! Did you see Olivier in the film version?! A veritable monster!


Leech/Short continue:

"Isabella, on her part, breaks the maxim of Qualitas a number of times by uttering what is literally untrue, to wit: that Heathcliff is NOT a human being, and that he has torn out her heart and killed it. It is through the implicative force of metaphor and hyperbole"

--- this is all before loose talk on loose talk!

"that Isabella indicates the extent of her ill-treatment by her hubby and the depth of her resentment towards him."


Brunty! Where did he get all his chauvinism sexism from?

Agatha Christie Does It Again

--- I.e. she quotes Grice again, sort of.

---- by JLS
------ for the GC.

LEECH/SHORT, not happy with quoting from this cheap authoress (I mean, there ARE ZILLIONS OF sublime authors of English lit. and THEY have to quote from this lady?), the lovable Christie. "Later in "Destination Unknown"" -- hardly your Nobel Prize winner, Christie writes:

J#SSOP. Now, he is supposed to be a cousin,
--- by marriage, of Tom Betterton.
JESSOP. Let us say, more correctly, that if HE is
who he says he is, he is a cousin of the late
Mrs. Betterton.


This reminds me of Lauri Carlson. I ordered his expensive book from Holland, only to find that all his corpus is novels by Agatha Christie. Ah well, at least this blog is for free.

Leech/Short comment:

"Again, in order to avoid breaking the
maxim of quality, by saying 'he is a cousin by
marriage of Tom Betterton', which he suspects
is false, Jessop uses a more complex
and less definite locution. Hillary Craven echoes
the added part of the sentence in order to
indicate that she has understood the implicature,
and to ask for further clarification."


Since they have to FILL pages (this is a commissioned book) Leech (the brilliant Griceain) and Short go on to analyse "Supposed?" alla Grice ("Surely there is notreason to suppose that Miss Craven has NOT HEARD the sentence correctly. Hence we, like Jessop, treat the echo question as a request for more explicit information."


Agatha Christie Goes Griceian

--- By JLS
----- for the GC

LEECH/SHORT EXPLICITLY quote from Christie in their summary of Griceian perspectives in novelistic narrative. It's from

Destination unknown

Leech/Short are interested in reported conversations in the novel format. I will simplify the narrative by providing the direct conversation:

WHARTON. How about the wife? You've tried her?

JESSOP. Several times.

WHARTON. Can't she help?

JESSOP. She hasn't so far.

WHARTON. You think she knows something?


Leech/Short comment, and they do grant it's a very simple case:

"Jessop's answer to Wharton's question ("You've tried her?") is perfectly straightforward. However, his reponse to the second ("Can't she help?") breask the maxims of quantity and manner (it is quite common for a contribution to a conversation to break more than one maxim at a time)."

--- In fact, my friend Patricia breaks them all all of the times.


Leech/Short continues:

"'She hasn't so far' breaks the [super]maxim of Modus [be perspicuous] because if he had the information asked for, "yes" or "no" would have been the shortest and most uncomplicated reply. The maxim of Quantitas is broken because Jessop does not give as full an answer as he might, "She can't help" woul dhave entailed the actual reply, but "She hasn't helped" does not entail "She can't help". One good reason for breaking one of the maxims is to avoid violating one of the others. In this case, Wharton notices Jessop is apparently breaking the cooperative principle and interprets this violation as being necessitated by his not breaking the maxim of Qualitas."

which is a sin for Grice and Henderson ("It's a sin -- to tell -- a lie. Millions of hearts have been broooooken").

Leech/Short continue:

"Jessop is not sure of the answer and therefore cannot truly reply 'yes' or 'no'. Wharton reasonable concludes from his colelague's reply not only taht the woman has not helped so far but also that she MIGHT be of some use in the future."

----- Wharton has written on this, and Wharton 'reads' this from Jessop's shrugging his [i.e. Jessop's] shoulders.

By Wharton (i) I mean Timothy Wharton (this blog), by Wharton (ii) I mean the character of Christie's novel.

For the narrative really goes:

WHARTON. Can't she help?
JESSOP [shrugging his shoulders]. He hasn't so far.

--- Leech/Short comment:

"In real life, the deduction of implicatures
is often aided by the use of kinesic
signals. ... In this case, Christie gives us
the kinestic information in the stage-direction,
'shrugging his shoulders' thus helping us to understand
Jessop's implicature".

Idiot-proof as it were. Fool-proof as someone else may prefer. Oddly, I recently was told by an Anglo-Argentine who is a VERY DEAR friend of mine her torture at Oxford. She was spending some time at Magdalen College as invited by the British ambassador Millington Drake. She was in this party at Magdalen. She has an impeccable English, and the best modals and manners. Yet, a fastidious tutor at Magdalen out of the blue asked her, "You are not English, are you?". "No, I was born in the Argentine". "I knew that." "How?". "We English never shake our shoulders".

---- But Jessop?!? Oddly, this is more like an abduction than a deduction (not of Figaro, though), and it's good that Leech/Short write, "Wharton concludes". I have a friend WHO WILL WRITE, "Wharton implies". He systematically uses 'infers' for 'implies' and vice versa. Since I am a countersuggestible person I never correct him -- he is French, too, which doesn't help. Etc.

Grice: Conversational Maxims and Rationality

-- by JLS
---- for the GC

WHAT FOLLOWS ARE MAINLY EXCERPT FROM WHAT I call Kasher No. 5 -- cfr. Chanel No. 5 -- i.e. Kasher's expensive volume "Implicature" in the Concepts of Pragmatics Series. Kasher is NOT an Anglo-Saxon philosopher, and Grice was, and Kasher does NOT teach in an Anglo-Saxon university, and Grice did. Therefore, Kasher WILL not be discussed freely by Anglo-Saxon philosophers, but I will. It's not I'm wedded to Kasher, but I'm revising stuff at the Swimming-Pool Library and come across his full essay, which he later repr. in the "Implicature" volume. Since a recent M.Sc. thesis online makes a good study of Kasher and Hintikka on Grice as 'rational' philosopher, I will excert some passages (Part of my motivation is to compare Kasher's views with Kramer -- who in different commentary to this blog has expressed similar views).

In fact, I agree with Kasher whole-heartedly and have corresponded with him, and he has let me know that Grice was pretty well aware of Kasher's early reflections on this via a graduate student of Kasher's who was lately one of Grice's at Berkeley.

Kasher, like Grice, notes that the 'maxims' follow from general 'rationality' principles.

--- This is a full excerpt from Kasher's crucial p. 203 of the original essay. It echoes Grice's CP and FOUR categories:

For the General CP Kasher proposes instead:

At every stage on a way towards
achieving an end of yours, actd
as required for the achievement of the aim


For the first category -- QUANTITAS in Kant/Grice:

Do not use the means you have
for achieving your ends more or less
than is required for their achievement,
ceteris paribus.


For the second category, QUALITAS -- recall that Grice is amusingly echoing Kant here -- nothing transcendentally true about it -- But Grice's intention to amuse -- 0one successfully carried over as far as myself is concerned -- should by no means be underestimated. Seldom Griceians are as amusing as the vintage one is.

Try to achieve your ends by the standard
use of the eans you have for their
achievement, ceteris paribus.


For the third category, RELATIO, Kasher has:

At every stage on a way to the achievement
of your ends, consider the means being
used by other persons to achieve their ends,
as you come to determine the manner of your
progress at that stage, ceteris paribus;
and prefer using your means in a manner which
is likely to HELP the progress of others on
their way to the achievement of their ends,
over any other use of these means, ceteris

Quite a moutful, compared to Grice's 'be relevant', but so there.

-- Finally for the fourth category of MODUS, Kasher has:

Give preference to means
which lead you to your ends
over means which lead you to situations
where achievement of the ends
themselves is just a possible result.

--- Personally, I have been able to further these considerations in my PhD dissertation --elsewhere, in the cellar --. Where I discuss each category, after a "Manuscrito" essay, along ways which make it explicit both the following of the attending maxims and their flouting.


Kasher finds that CP indeed follows from what he calls 'the principle of effective means' which he formulates on p. 205 as:

given a desired end, one is to choose
that action which most effectively, and at
least cost, attains that end, ceteris paribus

Incidentally, I made Habermasian scholars aware of this, sort of. After all, my Speranza, "German Grice" (on Habermas misreading Grice) is cited in Habermas, "Pragmatics and Communication" -- in that essay, longish one, and one that I HAD to write for a seminar, loved doing it though, :)), I quote from Kasher extensively just to give Habermasian students of communicative rationality the trembles. You mention efficiency and efficacy to a reader of Habermas's two thick volumes on "The Theory of Communicative Action", which discusses Grice cursorily -- and you'll see. Habermas also dealt with Grice in more specific articles, such as "Intentional Semantics" (in Post-metaphysical Thoughts). But back to Kasher then.

For Grice's 'working out pattern' of implicature, Kasher suggests instead:

There is no reason to asusme that
the utterer is not a rational agent;
his ends and his beliefs regarding his
state, in the context of utterance
supply the justification of his behaviour.

--- For the record, Kasher cites from the 'mimeograph', which I wonder whether it would have pleased Grice.

The actual reference is thus:

Grice, H. P., 1968 [indeed, 1967] Logic and Conversation [indeed untitled, and should be quoted as "William James Lectures". 'mimeographed'. I.e. typed and made photocopies of. -- Grice was VERY reluctant to have this widespread. It was only in 1975 that he was cajoled into having the thing (lecture II) published in Davidson/Harman --, and further reprints followed (of lecture III in Cole). It was only in 1988 that he was more or less ready to submit the thing to Harvard. Sadly, he died in August 1988, and the book came out, posthumously, in 1989. Now in paperback.

"Metaphysics", authored by Grice, Strawson, and Pears, in Pears, The Nature of Metaphysics, Macmillan, 1957

--- by JLS
------ for the GC

--- I THINK IT WAS A GEM TO FIND THIS ref. to Grice in P. Edwards's entry for "metaphysics" (actually by Hamlyn) in the monumental Encyclopaedia of Philosophy. The thing I have discussed elsewhere, but it is NOT included in "The publications of H. P. Grice" in the PGRICE festschrift. And only very seldom if at all quoted in the literature. Some excerpts will follow as I browse the thing safely deposited in the Swimming-Pool Library:

Grice (and Pears and Strawson write):

The thing is pretty elementary, but still, no reason why not to mention in a list.

They write:

"The name of the [thing] is the name
given to a treatise by Aristotle".

p. 1.

-- The essay occupies p. 1-20 in the Pears compilation. This was the famous "Third Programmes" of Aunt Beeb.

"Aristotle described the subject
of this treatise as the science of
Being as such, a supremely general
study of existence or reality."

Grice goes on to quote directly from Bradley. The passage by Bradley is on p. 2 of Grice's article and runs:

We may agree, perhaps, to
understand by metaphysics an
attempt to know reality as
against mere appearance, or the
study of first principles or
ultimate truths, or again the
effort to comprehend the universe, not
simply peacemeal or by fragments,
but somehow as a whole.

Of course, it may well be that it was Pears that brought the passage to Grice's mind. Most likely. Recall that these Third programmes were organised by Pears (who died last year) -- he also edited the "Freedom of the Will" one, and thus felt the responsibility of checking with some of the sources to really please Aunt Beebe.

The editorial by Grice et al goes:

"This agrees with Aristotle in
contrasting metaphysics with departamental or,
as Bradley would say, fragmentary studies."

(p. 2).

Recall that this was BEFORE Strawson had published "Individuals: An essay in descriptive metaphysics".


Grice et al go on to quote from that seldom quoted (now) philosopher, John Wisdom -- the cousin of John Wisdom:

But they typically being Oxonians, hasten to add:

"In any case, the relation of Wisdom's
to Bradley's account on the matter is NOT
obvious", p. 3.

They do manage to find a connection:

"The attempt to secure that
comprehensivenes which Bradley
finds characteristic of his enquiry
leads often enough to those shifts of
view expressible in paradox, which Wisdom
finds characteristically metaphysical" (p. 4).


They go on to discuss Kant. And find him on the right track:

"Whatever the shortcomings of Kant's
doctrine, it at least gives a clear meaning
to saying that metaphysics is concerned
with the presuppositions of science and
not merely its most general part" (p. 8).

But they find refuge again in Oxford: especially in COLLINGWOOD as rectifying Kant's mistake.

For Grice et al write:

"This was in fact Collingwood's idea
of the nature of metaphysics: the metaphysician
exposed the presuppositions of the science
of a particular epoch".

This was of course before Kuhn! (Collingwood was Waynflete Professor of Metaphysical Philosophy at Oxford just before Ryle).


THIS WILL HAVE TO be, I hope, in "The Carnap/Grice Conversations" -- project with R. B. Jones:

Carnap explicitly cited on p. 8:

"This line of thought about metaphysics
is NOT peculiar to a relatively
traditional thinker like Collingwood. There
is at least some analogy between his views
and those, for example, of CARNAP, who was
once a member of the philosophically radical
Vienna Circle"

--- although apparently he was never there when one wanted him! Recall Quine writing to his mother, "Have just arrived to Vienna to see Carnap. Of course he isn't here. I'm goin to Poland tomorrow to see if I can spot him there."

-- Etc.

---Grice et al continue:

"Carnap draws a SHARP distinction between
questions which arise within [emphasis Grice's et al.]
a given system of concepts, or framework of ideas,"

--- cfr. Carnapian Jones's reply to Restall in "Carnap Corner" and "linguistic framework" --

"and questions which are sometimes raised
about [again, emphasis Grice's et al's]
that framework or system."

This is the semantic/pragmatic distinction, alla Carnap. Grice et al write:

"Questions of the FIRST sort belong to the field
of some science or of everyday life, and are
answered by the methods appropriate to those fields"

-- they had been discussing the Kinetic Theory of Gases.

"Questions of the LATTER sort have traditionally
appeared in metaphysics in the MISLEADING
form of questions about the reality of existence
of some very general class of entities
corresponding to the fundamental dieas of the system
of the concepts in question".

They had been analysing the transcendental justification of Kant in a previous passage.

They go on:

"Thus philosophers have asked whether there
really [emphasis mine. JLS] existed
such things as numbers, whether the space-time
points of physics were real, and so on."

--- I.e. Kant's points, sort of.

"But such questions can be significantly
understood ONLY as raising the practical
[emphasis Grice's et al. cfr. 'pragmatic']
issue of whether or not to embrace and
use a given conceptual scheme or framework
of ideas."

--- the external questions of Carnap.

"To answer affirmatively, according to
Carnap, is simply to ADOPT such a framework
for use, and hence to give shape or direction
to a whole field of inquiry".

--- But isn't there a drawback to this? Grice et al suggest:

"Carnap's view of the matter might seem
to make it mysterious that there should be
such things as metaphysical ASSERTIONS,
as opposed to metaphysical DECISIONS."

Good point about illocutionary force, as it were. Recall that Grice's unfinished book project by the year of his death, was "From Genesis to Revelations: a new discoruse on metaphysics".

Grice et al go on:

"The mystery could be solved
in principle by regarding metaphysicians
as engaged in a kind of propaganda
on behalf of some conceptual scheme,"

--- I like the idea of a pro-slogan, emotivist in kind.

They go on:

"the acceptance of which is obscurely
felt to be a presupposition of the development
of science in a particular decision. Like
all forms of propaganda, conceptual or metaphysical
PROPAGANDA is liable to involve distortion
or exaggeration".

Or excecrescences?

Grice et al continue to mention Carnap explicitly:

"As Carnap's remarks suggest, one form
which conceptual advocacy is liable to take
is the entering of a strong claim
for the status of reality on behalf
of some general class of entities, together
with a disposition to DENY this status to other,
less favoured things."

Foreshadow against which Grice's Ontological Marxism is invoked.

The essay goes on to quote from Hegel and Marx. There is some extended treatment of Descartes and Leibniz. Then it invokes a different 'spring' for metaphysical thought, and goes on to discuss Hume, whom they have cited before in connection with the idealism that will lead to Berkeley. The essay finishes with a general characterisation of metaphysics as essentially revisionary.

A good piece, on the whole, and one in which one READS Grice, as often, as DELIVERING the message in the oral medium: as a speaker. Not so much the tutor, this time, but the philospher of Oxford vintage aiming at the general audience. Etc.