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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Saturday, December 1, 2012

Grice and the existential quantifier

or shall we say Cameron's implicature?

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The fresh warning followed Mr Cameron expressing fears about a "witch ... and speculates about people, some of whom are alive, some of whom are dead." ...
For further analysis.
some of whom are alive, some of whom are not.
--- a third realm disimplicated.
cfr. Grice, QUANTITY:

"some of whom are alive." (-(+>) ~all)
And so on.


Love Is Like A Cigarette



"Love Is Like A Cigarette" w. Glen MacDonough m. Victor Herbert.
--- Again, this song by Glen MacDonough and Victor Herbert may endure (my favourite verb today) a Griceian analysis. I used to collect "Life is..." pharses (Birrellisms), like, my favourite: Life is JUST a bowl of cherries or Isherwood, "Life is a cabaret".
In this case, love, which is the sweetest thing (to echo Ray Noble) is not said to BE ("izz", in Griceian parlance) a cigarette, but LIKE ONE (strictly, "like a"). The point by MacDonough may be subtle, or not.
Note that "Life is", or "Love is" invites a metaphor. The "like" brings the utterance back to the boring level of truth-conditionality (cfr. "Love is a cigarette"). There may be a disimplicature there.

A Good Cigar Is A Smoke



"A Woman Is Only A Woman But A Good Cigar Is A Smoke" w. Harry B. Smith m. Victor Herbert.  
In "Logic and Conversation", Grice provides two examples of tautologies, which can be combined in a dialogue:
A: What is then your opinion of the policy undertaken by Baroness Thatcher during the South Atlantic conflict:
B: (a) Women are women.
--- (b) War is war.
In any case, this is a title of a song of 1905: "A woman is only a woman but a good cigar is a smoke". The words by Harry B. Smith, the music by Victor Herbert. It may endure some Griceian analysis. I would suggest that the emphasis should be on the second conjunct after "but" ("&" in logical form, cfr. Grice, "She was poor BUT honest") -- and it may do to analyse the Harean phrastic analysis of "good" -- as it applies to 'cigar': it may turn out that, as per Aristotle's categories, a good cigar IZZ not a smoke, but HAZZ it.

Every time it rains...


it rains pennies from heaven -- a Gricean penny from the Gricean heaven, as it were.

Just to bring to furter attention this commentary.

Abigail the Fearless left a comment on the ""What Is 'It'?" -- A Gricean Answer to a Strawsonian Question":

"Hi all,
I'm writing a paper on this very topic for a class on semantics of anaphora, offering additional evidence, with my own additional pieces of evidence which I think suggest that the "weather it" is not vacuous. However, I've been having trouble finding good sources. I've pored and pored, and found lots of mentions of different philosophers and linguists who've argued both sides, but few actual references. I was wondering if any of you could suggest anything specific? Any help would be very much appreciated!
An intrigued student."

Well, I think just QUOTING Strawson is pretty good!

Grice I would think started to _love_ to think about these questions much later in his career. The introductory (general) bits to his seldom quoted, "Actions and Events", for the Pacific Philosophical Quarterly, gives a good summary of what his views about the interface between, shall we say, 'surface grammar' and 'logical form' was, and he provides some delightful examples that compare to the "Strawsonian" question ("what is "it"?).

Grice was by then interacting with DAVIDSON more than with Strawson, having moved to Berkeley.

It may do to compare with other languages, too: There's English, there's Griceish, and there may be others.

Grice was proud of having learnt (or learned, I never learn which is correct) Greek back at Clifton, in Bristol. He knew Latin well. So, he would regard the expression of weather in such lingos as good evidence, for something.

When Gellner (a French philosopher) criticised the Oxford group of philosophers, the point was made that THEY were good at things most people (most OTHER people) are not good at: precisely the command and sensibility for the nuances of idiom that a classical education provides.

I would think this may also profit from a study in METEOROLOGY. We could start with a bit of "linguistic botany", as Grice would say -- and after all, talk about the weather IS the Brit passtime -- lovingly ironised in that nice number of that old musical comedy,"The arcadians":

"It's nice and warm -- I think that we should have a lovely day."

Oh what very charming weather!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Benevolence and Self-Love


R. Hawkins has written:

"There are "increasingly rationally cooperative ways" that we humans could live, but in order to get to them I think we need to deal with some of our embedded, irrationally competitive and combative, group-on-group evolutionary baggage."


This reminds me, yes, you guessed right: Grice. In his earliest "Logic and Conversation" (Oxford, 1965) he speaks of a balance between self-love ('conversational self-love' even!) and benevolence ('conversational benevolence') even, which he later subsumed under his famous "Cooperative Principle" (William James Lectures, 1967). At this point, he wants to know what we mean, 'cooperate'. Do we mean 'help'? He wonders in a note: "Does helpfulness in something we are doing together" equate to 'cooperation'?

In the earlier lectures, Grice argues that 'conversational maxims' (as it were) are constantly to be weighed against two fundamental and sometimes competitive demands. Conversational moves should be aimed towards the agreed current purposes of this 'principle of Conversational Benevolence'. The 'principle of Conversational Self-Love ensures the assumption on the part of co-agents that neither will go to unnecessary trouble in framing their moves).

I always found the topic fascinating, and trace it to research by J. O. Urmson and others on Prichard's influential debate on duty and interest, even!

Grice was enough of a rationalist to think that, again to quote from the earlier lectures, co-agents exhibit a 'certain' degree of helpfulness from others (usually on the understanding that such helpfulness does not get in the way of particular goals. An account of the specific type of helpfulness expected in conversation SHOULD be capable of extension to any collaborative activity. And so on.

For the historical record, then!


"some of our embedded, irrationally competitive and combative, group-on-group evolutionary baggage." I think some of this problem is tackled by so-called 'dialogue ethicists' (like Habermas, and Apel), in the "Continental" rather than the Anglo-American tradition?



Grice, Conversation: The Oxford Lectures.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Grice and Smart


Professor J.J.C. Smart, AC

The End of the World: The Science and Ethics of Human Extinction began with the following praise from J.J.C. Smart
John Leslie details a large number of possible causes of extinction which may chill the reader’s blood, but may even be enjoyed by cheerful pessimists. Optimists might try to get the powers that be to do something about it. His argument does not imply fatalism, since our efforts can change the probabilities. Leslie’s book is of urgent practical as well as theoretical importance: it could well be the most important book of the year.
Professor J.J.C. Smart, AC, 3 Hon DLitts was an "Oxford" philosopher.

Smarted a M.A. from Glasgow University in 1946, a B. Phil from th Queen's College, Oxford in 1948, and honorary D. Litt degrees from University of St. Andrews in 1983, La Trobe University in 1992, and University of Glasgow in 2001.

He was appointed Companion of the Order of Australia in 1990 whose postnominal abbreviation is AC.

From 1948–50 Smart was a junior research fellow of Corpus Christi College, Oxford.

He was Professor of Philosophy at the University of Adelaide from 1950–72.

From 1972–76 he was Reader in Philosophy atLa Trobe University, and from 1976–85 he was Professor of Philosophy at the Australian National University.

Since 1986 he has been Emeritus Professor at the Australian National University, and has also been an honorary fellow of Corpus Christi College, Oxford since 1991 and an honorary research scholar at Monash University since 1999.

His interests were metaphysics, philosophy of science and ethics.

Smart was on the editorial boards of American Philosophy Quarterly, Philosophy of Science,Australasian Journal of Philosophy, Behaviorism, and Synthese.

In philosophy of mind, Smart was a physicalist.

In the 1950s, he was one of the early proponents of the Mind-Brain Identity Theory, which says that particular states of the mind are identical with particular states of the brain.

In ethics, he is a defender of utilitarianism.

His books includeAtheism and Theism (Great Debates in Philosophy) with John Haldane,Essays Metaphysical and Moral: Selected Philosophical Papers,Ethics, Persuasion and Truth (International Library of Philosophy),Between Science and Philosophy: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Science,Utilitarianism : For and Against with Bernard Williams,Philosophy and Scientific Realism, andOur Place in the Universe: A Metaphysical Discussion.

Gricefully outsmarted


In 1998 the Philosophy Program at RSSS decided to fund an annual lecture in honour of a former Professor and Head, John Jamieson Carswell Smart, formerly, like Herbert Paul Grice, of Corpus Christi, Oxford.

When approached to secure his permission, Smart agreed on condition that the Lecture be given a more 'down market' name than the proposed 'J.J.C. Smart Lecture.'

Accordingly, the Inaugural Jack Smart Lecture was given on Friday 15 October, 1999 by Frank Jackson, Jack's successor as Professor and Head of the Philosophy Program, and, at that time, Director of the Institute of Advanced Studies, ANU.

Before the Lecture began Philip Pettit, Professor of Social and Political Theory in the Program, said a few words (and implicated a few others) about Jack by way of introduction.

John Jamieson Carswell Smart left Corpus Christi (Oxford) -- and indeed, implicaturally, Heathrow, and arrived in Australia in August 1950 to take up the Chair of Philosophy at the University of Adelaide.

Smart had completed two years as a Junior Research Fellow at Corpus Christi College, Oxford, where he had earlier taken the new B.Phil. degree instituted by Gilbert Ryle (at Queen's College) and he was just short of thirty years old.

He spent twenty two years in Adelaide and then, after four years at La Trobe, moved to the Australian National University in 1976.

 He officially retired over ten years ago but  never ceased to be an active member of the ANU philosophical scene.

In the decades after his arrival in Australia Smart helped to change the direction of Philosophy, not just in Australia itself, but in the world at large.

His part in effecting those results has been well recognised in the various honours he has received from Australian and overseas Universities; in his having been invested in the Order of Australia; and indeed in his having the annual lecture series named after him.

Were there a Nobel Prize in Philosophy, I have no doubt but that he would have long ago been awarded this recognition.

With a small group of philosophers world-wide he succeeded in changing the direction of his discipline and he contributed to significant advances along the trajectory thereby set.

The redirection that Jack helped bring about in philosopohy was motivated by an insistence on three points.

First, that science, in particular physics, has to be taken realistically and seriously, as the best account we have of the nature of the world.

Second, that common experience cannot be breezily dismissed as illusory, since it gives us the picture of the world by which we successfully steer in our day-to-day lives.

And third, that the scientific image does not sit easily with the experiential image of the world, so that there is work to be done in trying to reconcile them to one another.

These three observations helped give shape to the project that has dominated analytical philosophy ever since.

Smart was not on his own in articulating and helping to advance the project - he himself, ever unassuming, would want to give greater credit to figures like W.V.O. Quine, Wilfred Sellars and David Armstrong - but he was certainly at the forefront of the new movement.

That movement took shape without a manifesto, it must be said, and it is only now, fifty years after it first began to appear, that we can appreciate the depth of change that it brought about.

Smart's great Oxford mentor (literally "tutor") was Gilbert Ryle and while there is much in Ryle's work that remains of value - and much that Smartcontinues to draw to our attention - it reads today, and not just in Australia, like a tract from another country.

There are non-philosophers in the audience, I am aware, and it may be worth mentioning some of the topics that Jack tackled in the spirit of the new movement.

One is the issue of how to make sense of the place that sensations enjoy in our lives, assuming that we are formed out of the bare materials described in physics and that we move under the exclusive control of physical law.

In his 1959 paper on 'Sensations and Brain Processes' - one of the classics of twentieth century philosophy - he showed, following on the work of his colleague, Ullian Place, that we could identify sensations with brain processes without having to give up on the sorts of things we spontaneously believe about them.

The new identity theory of sensations - and more generally of mental processes and states - is at the origin of the hypotheses that guide cognitive science and neuroscience today and marked a genuine revolution in philosophical thought.

It attracted the name of 'Australian materialism' in its early days and while the tag was initially applied with a sneer, it quickly became a badge of honour for the generation of thinkers who took Jack Smart as one of their gurus.

A second topic on which Smart made a particularly influential contribution is one of the toughest issues in metaphysics: the nature of time. True to his scientific realism he argued that there really is no way of reconciling our experience, as it seems to be, of time passing: that the passage of time is indeed an illusion.

While he thought that the scientific image could make room for sensations and other mental phenomena - including, for example, free will - he was honest enough, even outrageous enough, to argue that it could not make room for the notion that, in any literal sense, time passes. Time is a fourth dimension, as physics teaches us, and making sense of our experience as of the passage of time can only mean explaining to ourselves how it can seem - mistakenly - that time passes.

His views on both of those topics show us how bold Jack was prepared to be. Hidden beneath the fleece of the unassuming member of the flock - and this, in his gregarious way, he loved to be - is the wolf of an original, uncompromising and voracious intellect.

His boldness also appeared in the direction that he took in regard to matters of value and morality.

True to his scientific realism, once again, he recognised that whatever place value had in the world, it wasn't the sort of place occupied by physical properties like volume and charge and spin. This led him to argue that value, ultimately, could only be associated with the experiences of pleasure and pain that we human beings, and other sentient creatures, enjoy and suffer. Thus he spearheaded efforts in the later part of the century to breathe new life into what had been the discredited doctrine of utilitarianism. In this initiative, as in the others, he was one of the first to champion his chosen line, and he was one of those who had to suffer the incredulity, even the ridicule, that new departures always attract. But here as elsewhere the new departure proved to be one that others, in a short time, began to admire and follow. While he was always prepared to go out on a limb, Jack chose his branches well.

As we have suggested in passing, Smart was not only a leading intellect; he was also a relentlessly gregarious and social being.

And so, unsurprisingly, we learn from published reminiscences that soon after arriving in Australia in August 1950 he set out to visit and make the acquaintance of leading philosophers in the country. One of these was A.C.Jackson, then a lecturer at the University of Melbourne, and Jack recalls that as he spoke to Camo Jackson, they watched Camo's young son play cricket on Ormond College grounds. It is fitting, not just that Frank Jackson succeeded Jack in his Chair at the Australian National University, but that he took the podium as the inaugural Jack Smart Lecturer.

 Jack Smart Lecturers

Susan Wolf
Edna J. Koury Professor, Chapel Hill
"Two Concepts of Rule-Utilitarianism"
10 July 2012
Alvin Goldman
Board of Governors Professor, Rutgers University
"Philosophical Naturalism and Intuitional Methodology"
19 July 2011
Kit Fine
Silver Professor of Philosophy and Mathematics, New York University
"Truth-maker Semantics"
29 June 2010
Ned Block
Silver Professor of Philosophy, New York University
"Why Consciousness Does Not Extend Outside The Brain"
30 June 2009
Click here for the podcast.
Brian Skyrms
Professor of Logic and Philosophy of Science, University of California, Irvine
Professor of Philosophy, Stanford University
"Game Theory, Evolution & The Social Contract"
22 July 2008
Philip Kitcher
John Dewey Professor of Philosophy, Columbia University
"Ethics after Darwin"
8 August 2007
Ruth Garrett Millikan
Professor of Philosophy, University of Connecticut
"Let me count the ways to tell a weasel: on extensional meanings and nature's clumps"
10 July 2006
Timothy Williamson
Wykeham Professor of Logic at the University of Oxford
"Philosophy, Conceptual Analysis, and the World"
26 July 2005
Simon Blackburn
Professor of Philosophy, University of Cambridge
"Hard Realism or Soggy Pluralism?"
29 July 2004
Thomas M. Scanlon
Alford Professor of Natural Religion, Moral Philosophy, and Civil Polity, at Harvard University
30 July 2003
Jerry Fodor
State of New Jersey Professor of Philosophy, Rutgers University
"Having concepts: a brief refutation of practically everything"
31 July 2002
David Lewis
Class of 1943 University Professor of Philosophy, Princeton University
"How many lives has Schroedinger's cat?"
27 June 2001
Peter Singer
Ira W. DeCamp Professor of Bioethics, Princeton University
"Outsiders: our obligations to those beyond our borders"
24 August 2000
Frank Jackson
Professor of Philosophy, Research School of Social Sciences, and Director, Institute of Advanced Studies, Australian National University
"Locke-ing onto content"
15 October 1999

Herbert Paul Grice and John Jamieson Carswell Smart


The Smart Papers. (J. J. C. Smart).


National Library of Australia, MS 7740.

Collection Summary

Creator: John Jamieson Carswell Smart, 1920-2012
Title: Papers of J.J.C. Smart
Date Range: 1951-1996
Collection Number: MS 7740
Extent: 70 cm (5 boxes)
Repository: National Library of Australia


Scope and Content

The papers consist predominantly of correspondence between Smart and philosophers in Australia, New Zealand, Britain, North America, Europe and Asia.

Most of the letters discuss philosophical questions, but some deal with practical matters, such as publications, conferences and travels.

The correspondents include

David Armstrong,
W.V. Quine,
David Lewis,
Donald Davidson,
John Leslie,
Antony Flew,
Gilbert Ryle and
R.M. Hare.

In addition to the letters, there is correspondence concerning Smart's association with the Fédération International des Societes de Philosophie and the Australian National University, together with a small group of his unpublished lectures and other writings.


Smart kept his correspondence in chronological order and in later years he made separte files for his Australian and overseas correspondents.

This arrangment has been maintained by the Library.

Smart retained copies of many of his own letters and in some files the outgoing letters exceed the incoming ones.

Only the writers of letter and not the recipients have been listed.


The collection is available for reference.


The first instalment of the papers was donated to the Library by Professor Smart in 1989.

He added the 1986-1996 correspondence files in 1999.






John Jamieson Carswell Smart was born in Cambridge, England, on 16 September 1920, the son of William and Isabel Smart.

He was educated at The Leys School (Cambridge), Glasgow University and at Queen's College, in the University of Oxford.

He served in the British Army, mainly in India and Burma, during World War II.

Smart was a Fellow at Corpus Christi College, Oxford, before being appointed Hughes Professor of Philosophy at the University of Adelaide in 1950.

He held this position until 1972, when he moved to La Trobe University as a Reader in Philosophy.

In 1976 he was appointed Professor of Philosophy at the Research School of Social Sciences, Australian National University.

He retired in 1986, but continued to work at the Australian National University until 1999.

During his career he held visiting professorships at several universities including Princeton, Harvard, Yale and Stanford.

Smart was a Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities.

In 1990 he was made a Companion of the Order of Australia.

In 1956 he married Janet Paine and they had two children.

She died in 1967 and in the following year he married Elizabeth Warner.

Smart's publications include:
An outline of a system of utilitarian ethics, Melbourne, 1961
Philosophy and scientific realism, London, 1963
Between science and philosophy, New York, 1968
Utilitarianism: for and against, Cambridge, 1973 (with Bernard Williams)
Ethics, persuasion and truth, London, 1984
Essays metaphysical and moral, Oxford, 1987
Our place in the universe, Oxford, 1989
Atheism and theism, Oxford, 1996 (with J.J. Haldane)

Folder List

Folder 1 Fédération International des Societes de Philosophie, 1968-1974

Correspondence concerning Smart's membership of the Fédération

Folder 2 Australian National University, 1975-1988

Correspondence concerning Smart's appointment as Professor of Philosophy in 1975, his research at the University, his retirement in 1985, and letters sent by Smart to ANU academics.

Folder 3 Correspondence, 1951-1964

Correspondents include

Gilbert Ryle,
W.V. Quine,
Wilfrid Sellars,
 John Harsanyi,
Nathan Pusey,
H. Bondi,
Hilary Putnam,
Dorothy Moore

Folder 4 Correspondence, 1964-1969

Correspondents include

C. Hartshorne,
Jay Rosenberg,
Nicholas Rescher,
Adolf Grunbaum,
R.C. Cross,
David Lewis,
W.V. Quine,
Judith Economos,
Carl Hempel,
Richard Schlegel,
Colin Burnett

Folder 5 Correspondence, 1965-1969

Correspondents include

Gilbert Ryle,
Don Locke,
Antony Flew,
I.J. Good,
Nicholas Maxwell,
John Tucker,
R.M. Hare,
David Lewis,
Adolf Grunbaum,
Judith Kahane,
Martin Gardner,
W.V. Quine

Folder 6 Correspondence, 1969-1970

Correspondents include

David Lewis,
Michael Green,
A. Boyce Gibson,
David Armstrong,
Fred Alexander,
Antony Flew

Folder 7 Correspondence, 1971

Correspondents include

I.M.D. Little,
Bernhard Rensch,
David Lewis,
Donald Davidson,
W.V. Quine,
Dagfinn Follesdal,
Jaakko Hintikka,
D.C. Dennett,
John Leslie,
David Armstrong,
A.K. Stout,
F.C. Jackson

Folder 8 Correspondence, 1972-1974

Correspondents include

F.C. Jackson,
J.L. Mackie,
James Culbertson,
David Lewis,
Gilbert Ryle,
M.L. Meakin,
W.V. Quine,
Donald Davidson.
J.N. Crossley

Folder 9 Correspondence, 1974-1975

Correspondents include

Bas van Fraassen,
Antony Flew,
W.V. Quine,
Robert Kirk,
David Lewis,
Derek Lawden,
Georg von Wright,
David Cousin

Folder 10 Correspondence, 1975-1976

Correspondents include

David Armstrong,
Hugh Stretton,
Hugh Montgomery,
W.V. Quine,
Donald Davidson,
Francis Sparshott,
Gilbert Ryle,
Antony Flew

Folder 11 Correspondence, 1977

Correspondents include

Robin Haack,
V.A. Edgeloe,
Hector Monro,
Peter Singer,
Frank Jackson

Folder 12 Correspondence, 1978

Correspondents include

Donald Davidson,
Joel Kupperman,
Gilbert Harman,
Harry Allen,
R.G. Frey,
Bernard Mayo

Folder 13 Correspondence, 1979

Correspondents include

 John Harsanyi,
Stephen Croddy,
 Bill Lycan,
Chris Mortensen,
Hugh Mellor,
Adolf Grunbaum

Folder 14 Correspondence, 1980

Correspondents include John Mackie, Hugh Mellor, Bernard Mayo, W.V. Quine, John Harsanyi

Folder 15 Correspondence, 1980-1981

Correspondents include David Armstrong, Hector Monro, Max Charlesworth, Winston Nesbitt

Folder 16 Correspondence, 1981

Correspondents include

J. O. Urmson (Corpus Christi, Oxford)
Antony Flew,
Igor Primorac,
L. Jonathan Cohen (Queen's College, Oxford)
Ian Hacking,
Donald Regan,
Paul Churchland,
Joel Kupperman

Folder 17 Correspondence, 1982

Correspondents include

Peter Smith, Antony Flew,
Bernard J. Harrison,
Lars Bergstrom, Anne Maclean, Donald Davidson,
L. Jonathan Cohen, Joel Kupperman

Folder 18 Australia and New Zealand, 1982-1983

Correspondents include Basil Rennie, David Stove, Michael Devitt

Folder 19 Overseas, 1983

Correspondents include Bruce Vermazen, David Lewis, Guy Stock, Bernard Mayo, Bernard Williams

Folder 20 Overseas, 1984

Correspondents include John Leslie, Gilbert Plumer, David Lewis, Donald Davidson, William Lycan, Antony Flew, Guy Stock, Neil Tennant

Folder 21 Australia and New Zealand, 1984-1985

Correspondents include
David Armstrong,
C.A.J. Coady (author of "The senses of the Martians")
Michael Bradley, Paul Simpson, Michael Devitt

Folder 22 Overseas, 1985

Correspondents include B.C. Postow, Donald Regan, W.V. Quine, Stephen Voss, Onora O'Neill

Folder 23 Overseas, 1986

Correspondents include

Sir Alfred Ayer, Ullin Place, John Wright, W.V. Quine, Jeff Foss, John Leslie, Hilary Putnam

Folder 24 Australia and New Zealand, 1986-1987

Correspondents include David Armstrong, Peter Singer, Graham Oddie

Folder 25 Overseas, 1987

Correspondents include Bernard Mayo, R.M. Hare, W.V. Quine, James Young, John Leslie, Donald Davidson, Ruth Millikan

Folder 26 Australia, New Zealand, United Kingdom and Europe, 1988

Correspondents include Linda Burns, Charles Pigden, Peter Menzies, Guy Stock, Jeremy Butterfield

Folder 27 United States, Canada and South America, 1988

Correspondents include

Michael Ruse,
W.V. Quine,
John Leslie,
Storrs McCall

Folder 28 Correspondence, 1989

Correspondents include John Wright, David Armstrong, W.V. Quine, John Leslie, Paul Edwards, Ullin Place

Folder 29 Australia, New Zealand, United Kingdom and Europe, 1990

Correspondents include B. Rennie, David Armstrong, Hector Monro, André Fuhrmann, R.M. Hare, John Watkins

Folder 30 United States and Canada, 1990

Correspondents include James Sorenson, Irwin Goldstein, Arnold Johanson, Scott Arnold, Jagdish Hattiangadi, Eugene Kamenka

Folder 31 Australia and New Zealand, 1991

Correspondents include John Clendinnen, David Armstrong, John Furge, Peter Forrest, Andrew Holster, David Stove, Alex Millmow, Paul Simpson

Folder 32 Overseas, 1991

Correspondents include Bill Lycan, Ferrel Christensen, James Young, David Lewis, Christopher Daly, Huw Price, Jenny Teichman

Folder 33 Australia and New Zealand, 1992

Correspondents include Angas Hurst, John McKie, Justice Gerard Brennan, Jim Franklin, Eddie Hughes, Charles Pigden, Keith Campbell

Folder 34 Overseas, 1992

Correspondents include Ullin Place, Christopher Daly, Dame Iris Murdoch, John Heil, Paul Edwards, Charles Martin, Edward Averill, John Leslie

Folder 35 Australia and New Zealand, 1993

Correspondents include John Bigelow, Jack Copeland, John Fox, John Clendinnen, Jim Franklin, Peter Forrest

Folder 36 Britain, Europe and Asia, 1993

Correspondents include Ullin Place, Christopher Daly, Stephan Hartmann, Danny Shaw,
Mark Sainsbury (author of "Saying and Conveying", and "Logical Form").

Folder 37 USA and Canada, 1993

Correspondents include Sydney Shoemaker, Ray Bradley, Hilary Putnam, W.V. Quine, James Young, Paul Edwards

Folder 38 Australia, New Zealand, Briatian and Europe, 1994

Correspondents include Jim Mackenzie, Peter Forrest, Murray MacBeath, Stephan Hartmann, John Leslie, Bryan Magee, Alex Miller

Folder 39 USA and Canada, 1994

Correspondents include Jonathan Adler, Anil Gupta, Anthony Serafini, Ray Bradley, David Lewis, David Duemler, Susan Haack

Folder 40 Australia and New Zealand, 1995

Correspondents include Justice David Hodgson, H.S. Green, Peter Forrest

Folder 41 Overseas, 1995

Correspondents include Ullin Place, Antony Flew, Hilary Putnam, John Leslie, Anil Gupta, Jonathan Adler, Susan Haack

Folder 42 Australia and New Zealand, 1996

Correspondents include David Armstrong, Alan Chalmers, John Barrett, Justice David Hodgson, Daniel Nolan

Folder 43 Overseas, 1996

Correspondents include Ullin Place, Michael Lockwood, Antony Flew, Alex Miller, Geoffrey Scarre, Jenny Teichman, W.V. Quine, John Leslie

Folder 44


Unpublished papers, 1964-1976


 Two ways of life - some moral issues.

How to turn the Tractatus (Wittgenstein) into (almost) Donald Davidson.

A critique of Meinongian semantics

The prisoner's dilemma and utilitarianism

Has modal logic got an intelligible semantics?

Science as an approximation to truth

Abstract entities

Can theories be criticized only from the point of view of other theories?

Physics, extensionality and idealisations

The mechanistic nightmare

Men and machines'

Box List

Folder Box
1-8 1
9-17 2
18-25 3
26-34 4
35-44 5

John Jamieson Carswell Smart: The Oxford Years: Queen's College, Corpus Christi, Gilbert Ryle, and Herbert Paul Grice


Herbert Paul Grice and John Jamieson Carswell Smart


Gricefully Outsmarted

John Jamieson Carswell Smart was born in Cambridge into an academic family on September 16, 1920.

His father, W. M. Smart, was an astronomer in Cambridge until 1937 when the family moved to Glasgow.

J. J. C. Smart entered the University of Glasgow in 1938.

War service interrupted Smart's education, as it did interrupt H. P. Grice's career, from 1940 to 1945, after which Smart rapidly completed his degrees at Glasgow.

Smart then proceeded to the University of Oxford, where he read for the newly established BPhil degree and came under the influence of Gilbert Ryle, while a student at Queen's College.

After a short period at Corpus Christi College, as Junior Research Fellow, Smart accepted, at the age of twenty-nine, the Hughes Professorship of Philosophy at the University of Adelaide.

Smart spent twenty-two years at the University of Adelaide, moving to La Trobe University in Melbourne in 1972.

In 1976 he was appointed to a Chair in the Research School of Social Sciences of the Australian National University, which he held until his retirement in 1985.

Since then he continued to be active in philosophy at the Australian National University and in Melbourne.

He died on Oct. 6, 2012.

Soon after his arrival in Australia Smart's thought moved away from its "linguistic", "Oxford" orientation and began to take on its characteristic science-based form.

Showing the influence of both eighteenth-century Scot David Hume and twentieth-century American W. V. Quine, Smart's mature philosophy has been consistently empiricist, taking human experience as the wellspring and touchstone of knowledge, giving primacy to statements of actual fact and treating modal claims regarding necessity or mere possibility as human artifacts, and embracing nominalism concerning universals.

In the philosophy of science, he has upheld regularity views of causation and natural law.

Unlike many empiricists, however—who regard imperceptible entities as human constructs—Smart has always been staunchly realist in his account of some theoretical entities, claiming that electrons, for example, are straightforwardly real components of the world.

Smart's ethics has been similarly consistent.

Smart has defended a rather pure act-utilitarian consequentialism throughout.

His major contributions to philosophy have involved three themes:

(a) in cosmology, four-dimensional physical realism.

(b) In the philosophy of mind or philosophical psychology, materialism.

(c) In ethics, utilitarianism.

For forty years, culminating with Our Place in the Universe (1989), Smart has argued that the four-dimensional conception of space-time introduced by Minkowski for the interpretation of the theory of special relativity is superior to all others.

This conception implies the equal reality of past, present, and future and rejects as unreal the flow of time that seems to underpin the human experience of time passing.

Smart's second major theme is materialism, the claim that there are no spiritual realities, and that in particular human minds are not spiritual.

The mind—the organ with which one thinks—proves to be the brain.

All the various states of mind are states, processes, or functions of the brain and its associated nervous system.

This central state materialism emerged in its contemporary form from two landmark papers.

Smart's colleague U. T. Place published his "Is Consciousness a Brain Process?" in the British Journal of Psychology in 1956.

Smart's "Sensations and Brain Processes," which appeared in The Philosophical Review in 1959 (reprinted in Essays, Metaphysical and Moral [1987]), gave the view wide notoriety.

The importance of Smart's paper consisted in his exposing the inadequacy of the reasons then prevalent for holding that the mental and the physical belong to essentially incompatible categories.

Smart expanded and defended materialism in subsequent discussions both of the general issue and of its implications for the secondary qualities, particularly colour.

From An Outline of a System of Utilitarian Ethics (1961) onward, Smart has presented a utilitarian theory of moral judgment and action.

Unlike what Grice thinks, what matters for Smart is not people's intentions, or character, nor any fixed set of moral rules, but the actual consequences of behaviour.

The consequences to be considered concern the happiness of all sentient beings, as judged from a natural, secular point of view.

To adhere to a social or traditional rule of conduct, even in those cases where doing so would result in increased misery, Smart deprecates as "rule worship."

He recognizes the notorious difficulties that questions of justice generate for any rigorously utilitarian theory.

In Ethics, Persuasion and Truth (1984) discussing the enormity of accepting the idyllic happiness of many at the cost of the continuing torture of one lost soul.

There is no definitive resolution in his ethical thought of this conflict between the claims of happiness and of justice.

Philosophy and Scientific Realism (1963) marked the first appearance of a line of thinking that continues through Our Place in the Universe (1989) and subsequent pieces: what is now known as the Argument to the Best Explanation.

The issue is realism over theoretical entities such as electrons and quarks, which must forever be beyond any direct observational validation.

Smart's position is that the complex, interlocking set of experimental results that have been obtained and validated about electrons, for instance, would constitute an incredible set of interlocking coincidences for which there could be no intelligible accounting, unless electron theory were (close to being) literally referentially correct.

In Ethics, Persuasion, and Truth (1984) Smart argues for a sophisticated subjectivist theory in metaethics.

As an empiricist, Smart rejects the idea that moral judgments state some special kind of "moral fact," and develops a preference semantics and pragmatics for them.

Our Place in the Universe (1989) presents a coherent naturalistic vision of the physical world and life on earth, suffused with a kind of natural piety or philosophic awe.

Since 1990, Smart has continued to write on all the major themes of his philosophy.

In 1996 he joined with J. J. Haldane in a debate on the issue of atheism.

In all his work, Smart argues for firmly held views with the calm, well-informed courtesy and candour that have made him one of the best loved, as well as most respected, of contemporary philosophers.

Colors; Consequentialism; Empiricism; Inference to the Best Explanation; Philosophy of Mind; Utilitarianism.

Books by Smart

An Outline of a System of Utilitarian Ethics. Melbourne: Melbourne University Press on behalf of the University of Adelaide, 1961.

Philosophy and Scientific Realism. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1963.

Between Science and Philosophy: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Science. New York: Random House, 1968.

Utilitarianism: For and Against, with Bernard Williams. Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 1973.

Ethics and Science. Hobart, Australia: University of Tasmania, 1981.

Ethics, Persuasion, and Truth. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1984.

Essays, Metaphysical and Moral: Selected Philosophical Papers. Oxford: B. Blackwell, 1987.

Our Place in the Universe: A Metaphysical Discussion. Oxford: Blackwell, 1989.

Atheism and Theism. With J. J. Haldane. Oxford: Blackwell, 1996.
Books Edited by Smart

Problems of Space and Time: Readings. New York: Macmillan, 1964.
Books About Smart

Petit, Philip, Richard Sylvan, and Jean Norman, eds. Metaphysics and Morality: Essays in Honour of J. J. C. Smart. Oxford: B. Blackwell, 1987.

Gricefully Outsmarted: Herbert Paul Grice (MA Oxon, Corpus Christi) and John Jamieson Carswell Smart (BA Oxon, Corpus Christi)


John Jamieson Carswell Smart (B. Phil, Oxon., Corpus Christi) and Herbert Paul Grice (M.A., Oxon., Corpus Christi)


Smart's Academic Background
Hon.D.Litt., University of Glasgow, 2001
Hon.D.Litt., La Trobe University, 1992
Hon.D.Litt., University of St.Andrews, 1983
--- B.Phil.Queen's College, Oxford, 1948
M.A. Glasgow University, 1946.

Smart's Career Highlights

Honorary Research Fellow, Monash University

Jemison Visiting Professor in Humanities, University of Alabama, Winter quarter, 1990

Gavin David Young Lecturer, University of Adelaide, 1987

Emeritus Professor, Australian National University since 1986
Visiting Bonsall Professor of Humanities in the Dept. of Philosophy, Stanford, Spring quarter, 1982
Fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, Stanford, 1979
Professor of Philosophy, RSSS, Australian National University, 1976 - 85
Emeritus Professor, University of Adelaide since 1972
Reader in Philosophy, La Trobe University, 1972 - 76
Visiting Professor of Philosophy, Yale University, Spring term 1964
Visiting Professor of Philosophy, Harvard University, Fall term 1963
Visiting Professor of Philosophy, Princeton University, Fall term 1957
Hughes Professor of Philosophy, University of Adelaide, 1950 - 72

---- Junior Research Fellow, Corpus Christi College, Oxford, 1948-50.



Elected Honorary Fellow, Queen's College, Oxford, 2010
Elected Honorary Fellow, Corpus Christi College, Oxford, 1991
Companion in the General Division of the Order of Australia, 1990
Member of Institut International de Philosophie, 1971 - 96
Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities since 1969
At various times, member of editorial boards of American Philosophical Quarterly, Philosophy of Science, Australasian Journal of Philosophy, Behaviorism, Synthese.

Smart's Research Interests include

Metaphysics, Philosophy of Science, Ethics

Smart's Publications include

'Ockhamist Comments on P. F. Strawson', Journal of Consciousness Studies, 13, (2006), 58 - 62.
---- Strawson was H. P. Grice's favourite student (or "pupil", as Grice would prefer).
'Metaphysical Illusions', Australasian Journal of Philosophy, 84,(2006), 167 - 175.
'Comments on Hodgson', Journal of Consciousness Studies, 12,(2005), 58 - 64.
The Brain in a Vat', Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences, 35, (2004), 237 - 247.
Consciousness and Awareness', Journal of Consciousness Studies, 11,(2004), 41 - 50.
'Atheism and Agnosticism' in the Stanford Electronic Dictionary of Philosophy, (2004).
Atheism and Theism (with J.J. Haldane), 2nd ed., Oxford, Blackwell, 2003.
'Critical Notice of David Stove's On Enlightenment and Scientific Irrationalism', Australasian Journal of Philosophy, 82, (2003), 429 - 433.
'The Compatibility of Direct Realism with the Scientific Account of Perception; Comment on Mark Crooks', The Journal of Mind and Behavior. 23 (2002). 239 - 244.

Review of John Leslie, Infinite Minds: A Philosophical Cosmology in Australasian Journal of Philosophy, 80, (2002), 522 - 524.
Obituary of David Kellogg Lewis, Proceedings of the Australian Academy of the Humanities, (2001), 81 - 83.
'Might you not have been you?', Philosophy Now, (Dec.2000/Jan.2001), 17.

John Jamieson Carswell Smart (B. Phil., Oxon., Corpus Christi) and Herbert Paul Grice (M. A., Oxon., Corpus Christi)


John Jamieson Carswell Smart
Born(1920-09-16)16 September 1920
DiedOctober 6, 2012(2012-10-06) (aged 92)
Melbourne, Australia
Era20th-century philosophy
RegionWestern Philosophy
SchoolAustralian Realism, analytic philosophy
Main interestsphilosophy of mind, metaphysics, philosophy of science, political philosophy, philosophy of religion
Notable ideasMind-Brain Identity Theory

John Jamieson Carswell "Jack" Smart AC (September 16, 1920 – October 6, 2012) was an English philosopher and academic who was Emeritus Professor of Philosophy at Monash University, Australia.



Born in Cambridge, England, Smart began his education locally, attending The Leys School, a boarding school in the area.

His younger brothers also became professors: Alastair (1922–1992) was Professor of Art History at Nottingham University; Ninian Smart was a professor of Religious Studies and a pioneer in that field.

Smart's father, William Marshall Smart, was John Couch Adams Astronomer at Cambridge University and later Regius Professor of Astronomy at Glasgow.

In 1950, W. M. Smart was President of the Royal Astronomical Society.

In 1946, Smart graduated from the University of Glasgow with an M.A., followed by a B.Phil. from Oxford University in 1948.

Smart then worked as a Junior Research Fellow at Corpus Christi College, Oxford for two years.

Smart arrived in Australia in August 1950 to take up the Chair of Philosophy at the University of Adelaide, which he occupied from 1950 until 1972.
After twenty-two years in Adelaide, Smart moved to La Trobe University where he was Reader in Philosophy from 1972-76. 
Smart then moved to the Australian National University where he was Professor of Philosophy in the Research School of Social Sciences from 1976 until his retirement in 1985, and where the annual "Smart Lecture" is held in his honor.
Following his retirement Smart was Emeritus Professor at Monash University.
In 1990 Smart was awarded the Companion in the General Division of the Order of Australia.
In 1991 Smart was elected to become, like Grice, a honorary Fellow of Corpus Christi College, Oxford Oxford University and in 2010, elected to become an honorary Fellow of Queen's College, Oxford.
At first Smart was a behaviourist before becoming an early proponent of Type Identity Theory.

Smart's main contribution to metaphysics is in the area of philosophy of time.
Smart has been an influential defender of the B-Theory of time, and of perdurantism.
Smart's most important original arguments in this area concern the passage of time, which he claims is an illusion.
He argues that if time really passed, then it would make sense to ask at what rate it passes, but this requires some second time-dimension with respect to which passage of normal time can be measured.
This in turn faces the same problems, and so there must be a third time-dimension, and so on.
This is called the rate of passage argument.
Smart has changed his mind about the nature and causes of the illusion of the passage of time.
In the 1950s, he held that it was due to people's use of anthropocentric temporal language.
He later came to abandon this linguistic explanation of the illusion in favour of a psychological explanation in terms of the passage of memories from short-term to long-term memory.

---- In this, he can be seen to be arguing against Grice's seminal essay in Mind, "Personal Identity", which offers a rather standard, Lockean-type (alla D. Locke, Myself and others) type of memory-based logical construction approach to "I" sentences.

In the philosophy of mind, Smart is a physicalist.
In the 1950s, he was one of the originators, with Ullin Place, of the Mind-Brain Identity Theory, which claims that particular states of the mind are identical with particular states of the brain -- and which Grice criticised in "Method in philosophical psychology".
Smart's view was dubbed "materialism".
Smart's identity theory dealt with some extremely long-standing objections to physicalism by comparing the mind-brain identity thesis to other identity theses well-known from science, such as the thesis that lightning is an electrical discharge, or that the morning star is the evening star.
Although these identity theses give rise to puzzles such as Gottlob Frege's puzzle of the Morning Star and Evening Star, in the scientific cases, some claim that it would be absurd to reject the identity theses on this ground.
Since the puzzles facing physicalism are strictly analogous to the scientific identity theses, it would then also be absurd to reject physicalism on the grounds that it gives rise to these puzzles.

In meta-ethics, Smart is a defender of utilitarianism, unlike Grice, who remained a Kantian ("duty, not interest").
Specifically, Smart defends "extreme", or act utilitarianism, as opposed to "restricted", or rule utilitarianism.
The distinction between these two types of ethical theory is explained in Smart's essay Extreme and Restricted Utilitarianism.
Smart gives two arguments against rule utilitarianism.
According to the first, rule utilitarianism collapses into act utilitarianism because there is no adequate criterion on what can count as a "rule".
According to the second, even if there were such a criterion, the rule utilitarian would be committed to the untenable position of preferring to follow a rule, even if it would be better if the rule were broken, which Smart calls "superstitious rule worship".
Another aspect of Smart's ethical theory is his acceptance of a preference theory of well-being, which contrasts with the hedonism associated with "classical" utilitarians such as Jeremy Bentham.
Smart's combination of the preference theory with consequentialism is sometimes called "preference utilitarianism".
---- There is an Aristotelian side to Smart's "well-being"-based meta-ethics that agrees in part with an approach like Grice's in "The concept of happiness" (final lecture in "Aspects of reason").
Smart's arguments against rule utilitarianism have been very influential, contributing to a steady decline in its popularity among ethicists during the late 20th century.
Worldwide, his defence of act utilitarianism and preference theory has been less prominent but has influenced philosophers who have worked or been educated in Australia, such as Frank Jackson (who follows Grice in a conventional-implicature approach to "if" sentences), Philip Pettit, and Peter Singer.
One of Smart's two entries in the Philosophical Lexicon refers to his approach to the consequences of act utilitarianism: to "outsmart" an opponent is "to embrace the conclusion of one's opponent's reductio ad absurdum argument."
This move is more commonly called "biting the bullet".


^ Smart, Jack. "River of Time". In Anthony Kenny. Essays in Conceptual Analysis. pp. 214–215.
^ J.J.C. Smart, "Extreme and Restricted Utilitarianism", The Philosophical Quarterly, Oct., 1956, pages 344-354, based on a paper read to the Victorian Branch of the Australasian Association of Psychology and Philosophy, Oct. 1955. Smart later stated that he made mistakes in this essay (for example, that probably maximizing benefit is not the same thing as maximizing probable benefit).

However, perhaps because of this very fact, that is, perhaps because Smart did not fall prey to what might be called the "philosopher's disease" of attempting to be obsessively precise, this essay lays out a good clear, readable presentation of act utilitarianism.
^ J.J.C. Smart, "Extreme and Restricted Utilitarianism", The Philosophical Quarterly, Oct., 1956, pages 344-354, based on a paper read to the Victorian Branch of the Australasian Association of Psychology and Philosophy, Oct. 1955. Smart's views on rule utilitarianism have been challenged, for example by Alan Gibbard


  • J.J.C. Smart
"Extreme and Restricted Utilitarianism", The Philosophical Quarterly, Oct., 1956, pages 344-354.

An Outline of a System of Utilitarian Ethics, 1961.

Philosophy and Scientific Realism, 1963. London: Methuen, and in Reprints.

Problems of Space and Time, 1964 (edited, with introduction).

Between Science and Philosophy: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Science, 1968.

Utilitarianism : For and Against (co-authored with Bernard Williams; 1973.

Ethics, Persuasion and Truth, 1984.

Essays Metaphysical and Moral, 1987.

Atheism and Theism (Great Debates in Philosophy) (including contributions by J.J. Haldane; 1996)

Pettit, Philip; Sylvan, Richard; Norman, Jean (editors); Metaphysics and Morality: Essays in Honour of J.J.C. Smart, 1987.
Franklin, James, Corrupting the Youth: A History of Philosophy in Australia, 2003

External links

The annual Jack Smart lecture at Philosophy RSSS, the Australian National University.
J.J.C Smart's homepage at Monash University.