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!