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, July 20, 2013



Grice's Tarradiddle

From today's World Wide Words World Wide Words is copyright © Michael Quinion 2013.

It may relate to Grice's so-called "Category of Quality" (which he borrowed -- but never returned) from Kant -- if not Kantotle.


Quinion writes:

"Not so much known now as it once was, this ["tarradiddle"] is mainly a British way of saying something is a minor lie."
"A contributor to Punch wrote in October 1892, “Lie, indeed! There is a middle course — say ‘fib’ or ‘tarradiddle’.”"

"These days, she lived, thought, dreamed horses, almost like Verrall himself. The time came when she not only told her taradiddle about having “hunted quite a lot”, she even came near believing it."

Burmese Days, by George Orwell, 1935.

"It has also appeared as tallydiddle and tarradiddle, a mark of people’s confusion about its origins. These are shared by modern etymologists, some of whom point uncertainly at the verb diddle, to cheat, as the source of the second element. This is recorded from the middle of the eighteenth century but they argue that it derives from the Old English dydrian, to deceive or delude. Other writers have been dismissive of this ancient etymology, mainly because, if it were true, diddle had been lurking unnoticed in the linguistic undergrowth for about seven centuries. All the experts are silent about the first element of taradiddle, which may be no more than a nonsense addition."

"This is also true of the first element of a very similar word, which musicians in particular may be reminded about — paradiddle, one of the basic patterns of drumming, consisting of four even strokes played with alternate hands. This is equally mysterious, though the second part might be from an old dialect verb meaning to shake or quiver."

"In recent decades taradiddle has taken on a divergent sense of empty talk or nonsense."

The Tarot, its origins misty until 15th-century printers got on to it, is one of those allegorical fortune-telling taradiddles beloved of fretful teenagers.
The Times, 7 Sep. 2012.
Grice, "Meaning Revisited", in Studies in the Way of Words.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Griceian Gist


From today's World Wide Words, Wide Words is copyright © Michael Quinion 2013.

"There are three senses of gist in the Oxford English Dictionary. We’re not concerned with the obsolete sense of a right of pasture for cattle (from Anglo-Norman agister, to pasture animals) nor the equally obsolete one of a stopping place or lodging (from old French giste, in modern French the more familiar gîte for a furnished holiday home). This one is the essence or substance of a speech or text."

"It evolved out of the legal language in medieval England after the Norman Conquest at a time when court cases were recorded in French. There was a fixed phrase, cest action gist, in which gist is from Latin jacere, to lie, via Old French gesir, to lie. Its literal translation was this action lies. It didn’t mean that the accusation was untruthful (though we may guess that many of them must have been), since the original Latin verb could also mean “be situated”. It meant that sufficient grounds existed for continuing with the action. This sense of lie is still known in legal English."

"Early in the eighteenth century gist shifted from meaning that an action was admissible or sustainable to referring to what the action was actually about. The phrases “the gist of the action” or “the gist of the indictment” were common."

"Mr Sturgeon, the surgeon, depos’d, That being sent for, he came to Mr. Crispe at Coke’s about Eleven, found him wretchedly cut in seven places ... It will be too tedious to describe the other Wounds, only that on the Nose, because it was the Gist of the Indictment."
The Historical Register, 1722.

"It took another century for this usage to extend beyond the legal world to mean in everyday language the essence of some speech or text."

Monday, July 8, 2013

Either this is a tautology, or it's not


Of course, one has to revise the beautiful book, "The genealogy of disjunction".


But the nice thing about the quote is that even if 'or' is not one of Grice's 'vulgar connectives', the thing is still true.

Or not, of course.


Thursday, July 4, 2013

Grice's School -- as it wasn't.


Jones was wondering about Grice's use of terms (hypothetical) like, "The American School of Latter-Day Nominalists" (Quine, Scheffler, Martin) and why Grice would be so adamant in denying that HE belonged to any school.

As a matter of fact, he did.

His mother, Mabel Felton, ran one. It was called the Grice School, and was at the Main Street in posh Harborne (Staffs -- Jones's shire, incidentally), back in the day, where Grice was born.

Grice never attended a school other than his mother's -- at the beginning.

------ His main school mate was curiously, his brother, Dereck.

------ Grice's father eventually thought it was not too bad a thing if Grice coud go to a 'proper' school, and so he was sent STRAIGHT to (of all places), CLIFTON.

So this was Grice's second SCHOOL.

He showed a talent for old Greek (of all languages) and earned a scholarship to his third school -- not his ALMA MATER, which was Clifton --: this was CORPUS CHRISTI.

There, his tutor was Hardie. This was Grice's third school.

Then he was for a time a fellow at MERTON (when he met his future wife, K. Watson).

So Merton was his fourth school.

FINALLY, he was elected at St. John's -- his fifth school.

He remained at the school of St. John's, in Oxford, till 1967, when he moved to the American school of Berkeley.

He would hold positions in many other schools. Notably in Seattle, but also in Reed College, Oregon. Not to mention the many schools where he lectured, from Harvard, to Brandeis, Princeton, and perhaps MOST of American schools.

During his Oxonian days, he would of course lecture, occasionally, at other Oxford 'schools' (other than St. John's -- for conferences and such -- since he held an office for the British Council which organised philosophical colloquia) and extra-murally.


Now, when it comes to Austin's PLAY GROUP _not_ being a school. We should distinguish what we might call

THE OLD SCHOOL -- this was Austin himself, Ayer, Hampshire, and a few others. They met Thursday nights at ALL SOULS. Grice never attended.

After the war, Austin initiated his "Saturday morning meetings" at different colleges, and Grice soon joined. So THIS is the thing that Grice denies the title of 'school' to.

It shoud be distinguished from, more generally, "Oxford ordinary language philosophy", because Austin's was a specific group. It would NOT accept members who were older than Austin. Not that they WOULD like to become members. But famously, G. E. L. Owen, in his obituary of Gilbert Ryle, reminisces on these two notable 'groups' or schools at Oxford then: one led by Ryle, the senior group, and one led by Austin (and then by Grice when Austin died). Owen says that it was this second 'school' that became eventually more famous or had more of a cult or iconic status.

Since Austin had already created his OLD play group, it's best to refer to the post-war group as the NEW play group.

Members were:

J. L. Austin -- who became White's professor of moral philosophy.
R. M. Hare -- who became White's professor of moral philosophy.
P. F. Strawson -- who became Waynflete's professor of metaphysical philosophy
H. P. Grice, of course, who became Professor Emeritus at Berkeley, years later -- his official post during this time was "Tutorial Fellow in Philosophy for St John's College, and University Lecturer with Oxford".
G. J. Warnock, who became Vice-Chancelor of Oxford.
J. O. Urmson, Fellow of Corpus Christi
P. H. Nowell-Smith, of Trinity College
P. L. Gardiner
G. A. Paul, of New College -- author of "Is there a problem about sense data".
J. F. Thomson -- who later moved to M. I. T., and married J. Jarvis
D. F. Pears, of Oxford's most prestigious college, Christ Church
A. Flew -- who was Grice's tutee

and a few others.


Grice uses the term "Play Group" to refer to these. It was NOT an official group, obviously -- and it was Austin who gave strenght to it. They were merely there to 'entertain' Austin.

While no dogma unified them, as Grice says, there was this 'linguistic botany' sort of activity that G. J. Warnock reminisced about in his "Saturday mornings" (now repr. in his "Language and Morality").

When Grice moved to Berkeley, he would soon have his "at-homes". So this may be said to be yet another of his 'schools'. While it was formed by Berkeley faculty mainly -- Davidson, Myro, Baker, ... -- it held close connection with Stanford -- "Hands across the Bay".

It was slightly different from the Play Group, in it being less formal. Although change of venues (which in the New Play Group was restricted to colleges, rather than pubs -- Grice's favourites in Oxford: "The Lamb and Flag" and the "Bird and Baby", across from St. Giles) involved not just Grice's home, but a few restaurants, notably a nice Italian one in Oakland.


The word 'school' can be misused. But Grice didn't!


Wednesday, July 3, 2013

'A' is the same as the letter 'A'.


Wittgenstein said:
'A' is the same as the letter 'A'.
what he meant
what he implicated.

Grice and the history of 20th century analytic philosophy


Re: the Oxford handbook of the history of analytic philosophy

Introduction: Analytic Philosophy and its Historiography

--- exactly. This is the main point: historiography. Grice was not so much a historian as a historiographer. Note the plethora of authors he quotes in "Prolegomena" to "Logic and Conversation": obscure philosophers too, like Benjamin -- Ryle, Strawson, Urmson, Hart, Austin, Wittgenstein, Searle, -- he was interested in a 'methodological maneouvre' he saw in a couple of them, mainly HIMSELF. It is not unfair to say that his "Logic and Conversation" (1967) is a methodological reply to his earlier "Causal theory of perception" (1967) -- which he found, by then, outdated.

1: Michael Beaney: What is analytic philosophy?

-- exactly. For we need to ask ourselves: is there a thing as 'pre-analytic' philosophy? Never mind post-analytic and post-post analytic.

2: Michael Beaney: The historiography of analytic philosophy

--- and the ideologies behind them. You have to be English to do English history of English analytic historiography, and Beaney is! (Gellner wasn't, as wasn't Bergmann).

3: Michael Beaney: Chronology of analytic philosophy and its historiography

--- Exactly. Revising the Grice Papers, one sees he cared to keep copies of his 1938 paper on "Negation". Plus his "Personal Identity" (1941) for "Mind", and the prolific post-war period. And then the "American" phase, to conclude with his plethora of 'retrospective' views on things.

4: Michael Beaney: Bibliography of analytic philosophy and its historiography

--- exactly. For the forum here is the British Journal for the History of Philosophy -- or something.

Part One: The Origins of Analytic Philosophy

5: Mark Textor:

Bolzano's anti-Kantianism: from a priori cognitions to conceptual truths

6: David Hyder:

Time, norms, and structure in nineteenth-century German philosophy of science

7: Gottfried Gabriel:

Frege and the German background to analytic philosophy


8: John Skorupski:

Analytic philosophy, the Analytic school, and British philosophy

where we should distinguish between "British" and "English" and English and Oxbridge, and Oxonian. As G. Mikes says in "How to become a Brit", "When the English say Brit they mean English, and vice versa".

9: Jamie Tappenden:

The mathematical and logical background to analytic philosophy

10: Tyler Burge:

Gottlob Frege: some forms of influence

--- here the work of Harnish is the most Griceian of all -- but cfr. Horn's F-implicatures.

11: Nicholas Griffin:

Russell and Moore's revolt against British idealism

12: Bernard Linsky:

Russell's theory of descriptions and the idea of logical construction

--- cfr. Grice, "Definite descriptions in Russell and in the vernacular"

13: Thomas Baldwin:

G. E. Moore and the Cambridge School of Analysis

"Cambridge? Where is that?"


Oddly, Grice's "Causal theory of perception" was first delivered in CAMBRIDGE, for a meeting with the Aristotelian Society.

-- Cambridge is in East Anglia and Grice is an East Anglian philosopher. Not H. P. Grice, but Geoffrey Russell Grice, I mean -- author of a book on the foundations of morality.

14: Michael Kremer:

The whole meaning of a book of nonsense: reading Wittgenstein's Tractatus

Part Two: The Development of Analytic Philosophy

15: Charles Travis and Mark Kalderon:

Oxford realism

---- as perceived when you 'see' Oxford -- see Oxford and die.

16: Thomas Uebel:

Early logical empiricism and its reception: the case of the Vienna Circle

17: Erich H. Reck:

Developments in logic: Carnap, Gödel and Tarski

-- cfr. R. B. Jones, "The Carnap Corner".

18: Hans-Johann Glock:

Wittgenstein's later philosophy

19: Maria Baghramian and Andrew Jorgensen:

Quine, Kripke, and Putnam

20: Sean Crawford:

The myth of logical behaviourism and the origins of the identity theory

21: Alex Miller:

The development of theories of meaning: from Frege to McDowell and beyond

---- with Grice in the interim. I loved Harrison's description of Grice's theory: the theory most attacked by counter-examples, besides Act-Utilitarianism!

There are BOOKS written on this: Avramides, and "Conversational Implicature" (in the Cambridge Studies in Philosophy)

22: Stewart Candlish and Nic Damnjanovic:

Reason, action and the will: the fall and rise of causalism

Grice was of course a causalist. I loved the way he deals with this in "Meaning" (1948). "Of course you don't have a REASON to be amused" (or offended) -- a 'cause' will do!

23: Peter Simons:

Metaphysics in analytic philosophy

24: Jonathan Dancy:

Meta-ethics in the twentieth century

Refreshing that Dancy, who concentrated on Grice's Causal Theory of Perception in his early books in epistemology is now dealing with 'ought' questions. (His son is an actor).

25: Julia Driver:

Normative ethical theory in the twentieth century

26: Peter Lamarque:

Analytic aesthetics

--- I love Lamarque and his collection on analytic aesthetics is a memorial to F. N. Sibley, formerly of Oxford, and quite good at quoting Grice!

27: Jonathan Wolff:

Analytic political philosophy

-- conservatism! becoming Liberalism, in Grice's case.

Part Three: Themes in the History of Analytic Philosophy

28: Richard G. Heck, Jr., and Robert May:

The function is unsaturated

29: Richard Gaskin:

When logical atomism met the Theaetetus: Ryle on Naming and Saying

The "Fido"-Fido theory. Oddly, Grice had a couple of cats: Sausalito, Moraga, and Oakland. Note that "Sausalito"-Sausalito theory of meaning does as well. (He named the cats after the places where he found them)

30: Cora Diamond:

Reading the Tractatus with G. E. M. Anscombe

31: Peter Hylton:

Ideas of a logically perfect language in analytic philosophy


32: P. M. S. Hacker:

The linguistic turn in analytic philosophy

turn of the scre that is. Hacker of course succeeded (with the late G. P. Baker) Grice as tutorial fellow in philosophy at the best college in Oxford: St. John's.

33: Gary Hatfield:

Perception and sense data

--- which is Grice's specialty. "Causal theory of perception" Grice viewed as his locus classicus, as he was motivated to work on the empiricist tradition alla G. A. Paul and, Grice's junior, G. J. Warnock.

34: Annalisa Coliva:

Scepticism and knowledge: Moore's proof of an external world

35: Juliet Floyd:

The varieties of rigorous experience

--- "I can commit myself to the 39 articles of the C. of E. without knowing what they are" -- Grice would say. He would often reminisce his father as the best nonconformist he ever met! (And he played the violin, too!)

36: Sanford Shieh:


37: Jaroslav Peregrin:

Inferentialism and normativity

38: Cheryl Misak:

Pragmatism and analytic philosophy
39: David Woodruff Smith:

The role of phenomenology in analytic philosophy


Cfr. "The Grice Club".


Grice and the history of analytic philosophy


Re: The Oxford Handbook of the History of Analytic Philosophy.

During the course of the twentieth century, analytic philosophy developed into the dominant philosophical tradition in the English-speaking world -- notably in Oxford!

In the last two decades, it has become increasingly influential in the rest of the world, from continental Europe to America -- especially since Grice started lecturing there -- early 1960s at Brandeis, late 1960s, at Harvard -- finally settling in Berkeley -- "The Berkeley School of Griceian Analysis" -- Grice, Myro, ...

At the same time there has been deepening interest in the origins and history of analytic philosophy, as analytic philosophers examine the foundations of their tradition and question many of the assumptions of their predecessors.

Grice had one favourite: KANTOTLE.

Of course he would often quote from Oxonian predecessors: John Cook Wilson, Hardie (his tutor), Price, Prichard, Bradley, Ryle, ...

This has led to greater historical self-consciousness among analytic philosophers and more scholarly work on the historical contexts in which analytic philosophy developed.

This historical turn in analytic philosophy has been gathering pace since the 1990s, and the present volume is the most comprehensive collection of essays to date on the history of analytic philosophy.

It contains state-of-the-art contributions from many of the leading scholars in the field, all of the contributions specially commissioned.

The introductory essays discuss the nature and historiography of analytic philosophy, accompanied by a detailed chronology and bibliography.

Part One elucidates the origins of analytic philosophy, with special emphasis on the work of Frege, Russell, Moore, and Wittgenstein.

Grice would have something to say on each:

Frege he was no fan of. Michael Wrigley, a Leeds philospher, Trinity-College (Oxon) educated, once approached Grice on this. Wrigley was going to write his PhD dissertation on Frege. "I will mainly base my research on Dummett's "Frege: Philosophy of Language". "Have you read it?", Wrigley impolitely asked Grice. "I haven't -- and I hope I won't". (Ask Wrigley for further evidence).

Russell Grice loved, and there is a mimeo that has been cited by various people, including G. P. Bealer, "Definite descriptions in Russell and in the vernacular", (c) Grice.

Moore was Grice's favourite philosopher. With Austin, he would say, "Some (people) like Witters, but Moore's MY man".

And of course Witters, Grice claimed, never thought the distinction between 'say' and 'mean' and 'imply' was IMPORTANT enough!

---- (Plus he hardly distinguished what a speaker means from what an expression does, which is Grice's main point).

Part Two explains the development of analytic philosophy, from Oxford realism and logical positivism to the most recent work in analytic philosophy, and includes essays on ethics, aesthetics, and political philosophy as well as on the areas usually seen as central to analytic philosophy, such as philosophy of language and mind.

Grice is, of course, as the Berkeley catalogue read for years, a "PHILOSOPHER of language". In those days, specialty was good, so it would read: "Specialty: Philosophy of Language". Seriously, Grice was interested in modelling conversation as a co-operative enteprise, and he thought that a converastional implicature was what philosophers needed to clarify their vocabulary.

Part Three explores certain key themes in the history of analytic philosophy.


---- and Beaney is a genius, so this handbook couldn't have had a better editor.

Grice on "The Ordinary Language Approach to Philosophy"


Jones was wondering what's behind this idea by Grice that while there might (note the "might", modal) be an "American school of latter-day nominalists" (Quine, Scheffler, Martin, ...) it would be odd to refer to a 'school' of ordinary-language philosophers of the Austinian generation (the new Play Group: Austin, Hare, Urmson, Grice, Strawson, Warnock, Nowell-Smith).

Besides the point Grice makes in "Reply to Richards", to the effect that there was no dogma that unified the members of the play group, he expands on this in his essay in WoW --where, on p. 171, he comments on the diverse 'methodologies' or approaches held by practitioners of this type of philosophy.

(When I mention 'Austin's generation', I want to distinguish this -- (Austin, b. 1911, Grice, b. 1913) -- as different from what we may call the "Gilbert Ryle group" -- (Ryle, b. 1900) -- which may also be said to constitute 'Oxford school of ordinary language philosophy').

On p. 171 of W. O. W. then Grice refers to the diversity:

"I am sure that one could find
divergences among Oxford


Grice was further amused in this field by Gustav Bergmann -- would WOULD use a label to refer to this alleged 'school': "Futilitarians", or "English" futilitarians, to be more ironic.

Recall that in "Reply to Richards", Grice is reminiscing and providing an ideological background to Austin's Play Group -- everyone with a proper 'public' school education, as it were, which made them specially sensitive to issues of 'ordinary usage' --, and he is also responding to simplistic views of this alleged school by 'foreigners' like Gellner.


and so on.

The Grice Papers, now deposited in the Bancroft Library -- have many references to this 'group'. Grice knew VERY well where his place was in the 'history of 20th century philosophy', and this may be a good reminder of this new publication:

"The Oxford Handbook of the History of Analytic Philosophy"

From amazon, below:

"During the course of the twentieth century, analytic philosophy developed into the dominant philosophical tradition in the English-speaking world. In the last two decades, it has become increasingly influential in the rest of the world, from continental Europe to Latin America and Asia. At the same time there has been deepening interest in the origins and history of analytic philosophy, as analytic philosophers examine the foundations of their tradition and question many of the assumptions of their predecessors. This has led to greater historical self-consciousness among analytic philosophers and more scholarly work on the historical contexts in which analytic philosophy developed. This historical turn in analytic philosophy has been gathering pace since the 1990s, and the present volume is the most comprehensive collection of essays to date on the history of analytic philosophy. It contains state-of-the-art contributions from many of the leading scholars in the field, all of the contributions specially commissioned. The introductory essays discuss the nature and historiography of analytic philosophy, accompanied by a detailed chronology and bibliography. Part One elucidates the origins of analytic philosophy, with special emphasis on the work of Frege, Russell, Moore, and Wittgenstein. Part Two explains the development of analytic philosophy, from Oxford realism and logical positivism to the most recent work in analytic philosophy, and includes essays on ethics, aesthetics, and political philosophy as well as on the areas usually seen as central to analytic philosophy, such as philosophy of language and mind. Part Three explores certain key themes in the history of analytic philosophy."

As Every School Boy Knows...


---- as Grice would say, there was no such thing as an Oxford school of ordinary language philosophy.


I have traced the other phrase he would use:

"Ordinary Language Approach to Philosophy":

NOT a phrase HE woud use, but one that he "the other day", he writes, at the beginning of one of his essays in WoW, he heard from a "philosopher of science".

Grice spends some time (p. 171 of WoW) reflecting on why he found the phrase 'otiose' -- seeing that there was just not ONE approach -- but many.

THIS connects with Grice's point, as mentioned by Jones, that there was 'no school' of Ordinary Language Philosophy -- at most Austin's Play Group -- since there were no dogmas that united them (odd he would say that, since at least the defense of ONE dogma united him co-authorially with Strawson! :)) -- "as" a rejection for abstract entities united what he "might" (but then again he might not) call, rather intentionally pompously --, and with a provocative intent, I would think, the "American school of Latter-day Nominalists".


"I'm a huge fan" -- the implicature


There is a lot of material of visual -- cartoon strips, etc. -- dealing with implicature, and, specifically, CONVERSATIONAL IMPLICATURE.

We could start with this.

Note that Grice considers this:

'bank' versus 'bank'.

-- or as he preferred, 'vice' versus 'vice' ('He was caught in the grip of a vice') -- this is a different case.

In this case, the point seems to be that if 'fan' is meant as the machine, then the president should realise, but just LOOKING, that what he has in front of him is a 'big' or huge fan.

Whereas the 'standard' intepretation is that 'realising you have a huge fan' in front of you cannot be 'tested' evidentially, and so the statement, or avowal, "I'm a huge fan" (+> admirer), gets a point.

In other words, it's in the otiosity of "I'm a huge fan" (with fan =/= admirer) where the Griceian punch line humour resides.

Cfr. Attardo.

----- Attardo, GRICE AND HUMOUR.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Peacocke and Grice



The Mirror of the World

Subjects, Consciousness, and Self-Consciousness

Christopher Peacocke
An ambitious and original theory of the self

Written by one of today's leading philosophers

"Christopher Peacocke presents a philosophical theory of subjects of consciousness, together with a theory of the nature of first person representation of such a subject of consciousness."

"He develops a new treatment of subjects, distinct from previous theories, under which subjects were regarded either as constructs from mental events, or fundamentally embodied, or Cartesian egos."

"In contrast, his theory of the first person integrates with the positive treatment of subjects—and it contributes to the explanation of various distinctive first person phenomena in the theory of thought and knowledge. These are issues on which contributions have been made by some of the greatest philosophers, and Peacocke brings his points to bear on the contributions to these issues made by Hume, Kant, Frege, Wittgenstein, and Strawson."

"He also relates his position to the recent literature in the philosophy of mind, and then goes on to distinguish and characterize three varieties of self-consciousness. Perspectival self-consciousness involves the subject's capacity to appreciate that she is of the same kind as things given in a third personal way, and attributes the subject to a certain kind of objective thought about herself. Reflective self-consciousness involves awareness of the subject's own mental states, reached in a distinctive way. Interpersonal self-consciousness is awareness that one features, as a subject, in some other person's mental states. These varieties, and the relations and the forms of co-operation between them, are important in explaining features of our knowledge, our social relations, and our emotional lives. The theses of The Mirror of the World are of importance not only for philosophy, but also for psychology, the arts, and anywhere else that the self and self-representation loom large."

"The Context and Content series is a forum for outstanding original research at the intersection of philosophy, linguistics, and cognitive science. The general editor is François Recanati (Institut Jean-Nicod, Paris)."

"Readership: Scholars and advanced students in philosophy of mind and epistemology."

Next, we hope: The Grice/Peacocke interface -- :).

Grice's Bootstrap


Jones was referring to, in his post to THIS CLUB -- to Carnap's meta-language:

"Now," Jones writes, "Carnap's extensionalism, insofar as I am aquainted with it myself, as well as being pragmatic rather than dogmatic, is metatheoretic rather than comprehensive.  He believed that for the purpose of defining the semantics of formal languages an extensional metalanguage could suffice."

The Bootstrap reference which I made in his footnote to his post, then, is expanded here.

On p. 93 of his "Prejudices and predilections, which become the life and opinions of Paul Grice" by Paul Grice, now repr. in PGRICE, ed.Grandy/Warner, Clarendon, Grice  considers a 'fine distinction' concerning levels of conceptual priority -- and adds:

"It is perhaps reasonable to regard such fine
distinction as indispensable if we are to succeed
in the business of pulling ourselves up by our
own bootstraps."

"In this connection it will be
relevant for me to say that I once invented
(though I did not establish its validity) a
principle which I labelled as Bootstrap."

"The principle laid down that:
when one is introducing
the primitive concepts of a theory [ϑ] formulated
in an object-language [such as System GHP, or System CR -- after Rudolf Carnap],
one has freedom to use
any battery of concepts expressible in the
subject to the condition that
counterparts of such concepts are
subsequently definable
in the object-language

"the more economically
one introduces the primitive object-language concepts,
the less of a task one leaves oneself for the morrow".
And so on...

The American School of Latter-Day Nominalists


"the American School of Latter-day Nominalists" is the phrase picked up by R. B. Jones in his post to THIS CLUB.

We should try a list!

Perhaps Quine?

For sure -- Grice's attitude towards Quine is ambivalent. He would say that Quine was his 'mentor' even if he failed to identify with any of his theories! (The other mentor was younger than Grice: Chomsky -- and he regretted that his two mentors never agreed on anything!).


Another may be Scheffler?

as per

Rodriguez-Pereyra, Gonzalo, "Nominalism in Metaphysics", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Fall 2011 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL = .

  • Scheffler, I., 1954, “An inscriptional approach to indirect quotation”, Analysis, 14: 83–90.
  • Scheffler, I., 1958, “Inscriptionalism and indirect quotation”, Analysis, 19: 12–18.

  • Rodriguez-Pereyra writes:

    "[...]‘Seneca said that man is a rational animal’ is true and seems to entail that there is a proposition, namely what Seneca said."

    "But according to Scheffler's inscriptionalism, on which that-clauses are treated as single predicates of concrete inscriptions, to say that Seneca said that man is a rational animal is simply to say that Seneca produced a that-man-is-a-rational-animal inscription (Scheffler 1954, 84)."

    Rodriguez-Pereyra's exegesis:

    "So we have a sentence whose truth apparently entails the existence of propositions and an alleged paraphrase that apparently entails the existence of concrete inscriptions only. Assuming that they do have the same meaning (in which case both sentences entail exactly the same), why think that the apparent ontological commitments (i.e. those entities the truth of a sentence appears to entail) of the nominalistic paraphrase are the real ontological commitments of both the paraphrase and the original sentence? The fact that the original sentence and its paraphrase are semantically equivalent does not give any reason to think that the real ontological commitments of both are the apparent ontological commitments of the paraphrase rather than those of the original sentence."

    The Quine references Rodriguez-Pereyra gives -- again, in his "Nominalism in Metaphysics" entry in the Stanford encyclopedia -- cited above -- are, for the record:

  • Quine, W. V. O., 1947, “On Universals”, The Journal of Symbolic Logic, 12: 74–84.
  • Quine, W. V. O., 1960, Word and Object, Cambridge, MA: The M.I.T. Press.
  • Quine, W. V. O., 1964, “On What There Is”, in his From a Logical Point of View, Second edition, revised, Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, pp. 1–19.
  • Quine, W. V. O., 1969, “Propositional Objects”, in his Ontological Relativity and Other Essays, New York: Columbia University Press, pp. 139–60.
  • Quine, W. V. O., 1981, “Things and Their Place in Theories”, in his Theories and Things, Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, pp. 1–23.
  • Ramsey, F. P., 1925, “Universals”, Mind, 34: 401–417.

  • ---

    I would add a third name to the list: Martin.

    His entry in Wikipedia is so fascinating that I'm excerpting it here:

    Richard Milton Martin (1916, Cleveland, Ohio – 22 November 1985, Milton, Massachusetts) was an American logician and analytic philosopher. In his Ph.D. thesis written under Frederic Fitch, Martin discovered virtual sets a bit before Quine, and was possibly the first non-Pole other than Joseph Henry Woodger to employ a mereological system. Building on these and other devices, Martin forged a first-order theory capable of expressing its own syntax as well as some semantics and pragmatics (via an event logic), all while abstaining from set and model theory (consistent with his nominalist principles), and from intensional notions such as modality.




    Martin was educated as follows:
    Martin studied under Alfred North Whitehead, then in his last year at Harvard, and may have studied under Ernest Nagel at Columbia.
    During WWII, Martin taught mathematics at Princeton University, then at the University of Chicago. After the war, he taught philosophy at Bryn Mawr College 1946–48, the University of Pennsylvania (Penn) 1948–59, the University of Texas 1959–63, New York University 1963–73, Northwestern 1973–76 (full-time) and 1976–85 (one course per year). Martin also held visiting appointments at Bonn, Yale, Hamburg, the New School, and Temple.
    In 1976, Martin largely retired from teaching, becoming a research associate with Boston University’s Center for the History and Philosophy of Science. He made excellent use of the resulting leisure, so that his final decade of life was by far his most productive, publishing over 100 book chapters and journal articles. In 1979, he published the definitive treatment of his logic / first-order theory, Part A of Semiotics, and edited a volume of Carolyn Eisele’s writings on Charles Sanders Peirce. He helped edit the Festschrift books for Fitch and J. N. Findlay, respectively, published in 1975 and 1985.
    At the time of his death, Martin served on the editorial board of eight journals and on the advisory board of the Peirce Edition Project. In 1981, he became president of the Charles S. Peirce Society. In 1984, he was elected president of the Metaphysical Society of America.
    Despite having held tenure track appointments from 1948 until his death, the only Ph.D. thesis known to have been completed under Martin’s supervision is that of James Scoggin. Otherwise, Martin’s legacy is coextensive with his published writings.


    "…one of the most many-sided, prolific, and scholarly of analytic philosophers."
    —Hans Burkhardt, Foreword to Metaphysical.
    Martin was part of the first wave of American analytic philosophers; arguably, only Quine (1908–2000), Fitch (1909–1987), and Henry Leonard (1905–67) preceded him. His chronological elders Nelson Goodman (1906–1998) and Wilfrid Sellars (1912–89) were arguably his contemporaries, as they all began their careers in earnest at about the same time, namely right after WWII. Martin's formal treatment of syntax followed Alfred Tarski; of semantics, Rudolf Carnap. Martin was generally well-disposed towards Carnap's work, contributed a long paper to the Schilpp volume on Carnap, and was seen as a disciple. Paradoxically, Martin was a positivist and radical nominalist who also sympathized with process theology and orthodox Christianity.
    Between 1943 and 1992, Martin published 16 books and about 240 papers (of which 179 were included in his books) on an extraordinary range of subjects, including aesthetics, logic, the foundation of mathematics, metaphysics, syntax/semantics/pragmatics, the philosophy of science, phenomenology, process philosophy, theology, Frege, and Charles Sanders Peirce. Martin preached and practiced that philosophy should be done formally, by employing first-order logic, the theory of virtual sets and relations, and a multiplicity of predicates, all culminating in an event logic. Starting with the papers reprinted in his 1969 Belief, Martin argued that the Frege's Art des Gegebensein was crucial to his thinking. Just what this Art entailed remains to be elucidated.
    Martin was especially fond of applying his first-order theory to the analysis of ordinary language, a method he termed logico-linguistics. He often referenced the work of the linguists Zellig Harris (admiringly) and Henry Hiz (more critically); Martin, Harris, and Hiz all taught at Penn in the 1950s. Yet Martin was dismissive of the related theoretical work by Noam Chomsky and his MIT colleagues and students. Ironically, Martin appears to have been Chomsky's main teacher of logic; while a student at Penn, Chomsky took every course Martin taught.
    Quine's Word and Object cites Martin with approval, but Martin's wider impact has not been commensurate with the breadth and depth of his writings; the secondary literature on Martin consists of little more than reviews of his books. This silence, as puzzling as it is broad-based, begs elucidation.


    “Over the portals of the entrance to contemporary philosophy is writ: Enter here fully equipped with the tools of the new logic.” Intension, p. 153.
    “God made first-order logic and all the rest is the handiwork of man.” Semiotics, p. xv.


    The first four titles below and Part A of Semiotics are monographs. The other titles are fairly loose collections of papers, most first published in journals.
    • 1958. Truth and Denotation: A Study in Semantical Theory. University of Chicago Press.
    • 1974 (1959). Towards a Systematic Pragmatics (Studies in Logic and the Foundations of Mathematics). Greenwood Press.
    • 1959. The Notion of Analytic Truth. University of Pennsylvania Press.
    • 1963. Intension and Decision. Prentice-Hall.
    • 1969. Belief, Existence, and Meaning. New York University (NYU) Press.
    • 1971. Logic, Language, and Metaphysics. NYU Press.
    • 1974. Whitehead's Categorial Scheme and Other Papers. Martinus Neijhoff.
    • 1978. Events, Reference, and Logical Form. Catholic University of America Press.
    • 1978. Semiotics and Linguistic Structure. State University of New York (SUNY) Press.
    • 1979. Pragmatics, Truth, and Language. Reidel.
    • 1979. Peirce's Logic of Relations and Other Studies. Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science. John Benjamins.
    • 1980. Primordiality, Science, and Value. SUNY Press.
    • 1981. Logico-Linguistic Papers. Foris (Netherlands).
    • 1983. Mind, Modality, Meaning, and Method. SUNY Press.
    • 1988. Metaphysical Foundations: Mereology and Metalogic. Philosophia Verlag.
    • 1992. Logical Semiotics and Mereology. John Benjamins.

    See also


    • Meguire, Philip, 2005, "Richard Milton Martin: American Logician," Review of Modern Logic 10: 7–65. Contains a:
      • Bibliography of Martin's articles published in journals, conference proceedings, and in books edited by others;
      • Combined topic index for the papers appearing in Martin's books.


    ---- Grice was writing his "Reply to Richards" circa 1982 (published in 1986), so one would need to verify what he meant, "latter-day", though!


    Grice's Extensionalists

    In the first leg of exploring Grice's view on extensionalism and whether Carnap is for Grice due discredit for complying with Grice's conception of extensionalism, I came to the following naive point of view on which I intended to elaborate.

    Firstly, that Grice meant by "Extensionalist" someone who identified a universal with its extension, and secondly that Carnap was not that kind of extensionalist, and therefore was not one of the targets of Grice's obloquy.  I then had intended to describe what kind of extensionalist Carnap was and to consider in more detail Grice's criticisms to see whether they would apply to the kind of extensionalist that Carnap was.

    One might imagine here that Grice's extensionalist is a paper tiger, holding a position too naive and simplistic to be found in any real person, but perhaps instead this description of Grice's notion of extensionalism is the paper tiger, making Grice's point seem easier to dismiss than it is.

    Sure enough, as soon as we move on from Grice's supposedly definitive example we find that Grice's extensionalist is a more complex character. His fault is not to identify a universal with its extension, but to look for some other extension or extensional object which will serve.

    Now Carnap's extensionalism, insofar as I am aquainted with it myself, as well as being pragmatic rather than dogmatic, is metatheoretic rather than comprehensive.  He believed that for the purpose of defining the semantics of formal languages an extensional metalanguage could suffice.

    Carnap was interested in non-extensional languages, most conspicuously modal logics (perhaps because the notion of logical or analytic truth was so important to him, and correponded to the idea of necessary truth in modal logics, all of these being the principle locus of his difficulties with Quine).  Methods for defining the semantics of such non-extensional languages are discussed in "Meaning and Necessity".

    The method which Carnap prefers and adopts in that book he calls the method of intensions and extensions.  The notions here correspond roughly with Frege's "Sinn" and "Bedeutung" (often translated "sense" and "reference").
    The process of defining a language according to this method, involves defining in the chosen extensional metalanguage, for each phrase in the object language both its intension and extension.

    The examples which Grice comes up with in his more detailed discussion of the tactics an extensionalist might resort to are not Carnap's, so its not immediately obvious whether Grice would find fault in Carnap's method's.  I could expore this in greater depth by detailed comparison of Grice's criticisms and Carnap's solutions, but there are some more general points of principle which perhaps should first be touched upon.

    It seems to me to be in the spirit of Grice's critique that even if some formal correspondence could be established between the meaning of universals and the structure of certain sets, that Grice might nevertheless still not be willing to accept the idenitification of the two.  This is a manifestation of that tendency in minimalism which Grice abhors, the elimination of all but one class of entity by the identification of apparantly distinct kinds of entity with a subclass of that one special kind.

    But Carnap is not that kind of extensionalist either.  He has no nominalistic zeal, he is happy to accept whatever kinds of abstract entity prove most practical for the task in hand.

    Would this absolve him from Grice's critique.
    Perhaps not, perhaps Grice is interested in what universals really are, not in what we might usefully suppose them to be, and this might be for Carnap an "external question", meaningless metaphysics.

    Does the potential disagreement between Grice and Carnap on "Extensionalism" collapse into a disagreement on the status of metaphysics?


    Latter-day nominalists

    In his "Reply to Richards", while discussing whether philosophers of language constituted a "school" Grice refers to:

    "an unflinching (or almost unflinching) opposition to abstract entities unified and inspired what I might call the American School of Latter-day Nominalists".

    To what group of philosophers is Grice here referring?