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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Thursday, July 2, 2015

(c) Grice/Baker


Back in the early 1980s, when Grandy and Warner (Richard and Richard, or Richards, as Grice said) were compiling Grice's list of UNpublications, they came with what they called 'book-length' ones! And a few would be (c) Grice/Baker! 
There is the VERY publication, their contribution to the Davidson festschrift, on weakness of the will (ed. by Hintikka and Vermazen).
Most of the collaboration (c) Grice/Baker came from the fact that Grice and Baker taught MORAL philosophy seminars for graduate students at UC/Berkeley (Grice never dealt with undergrads!) hence Grice's increasing interest in taking Kant seriously, since Baker has been contributing to "Kant Studies" -- more than she did to Aristotle studies!

I would think it was via Baker's more 'academic' interest in Kant that Grice got to read Kant in the vernacular, that is the Koenigsberg dialect on which Kant (or "Cant" as I prefer to spell his name) wrote. Of course, the "Metaphysics of Morals" being mandatory (even Kantianly mandatory) reading for those seminars!

Oddly, Hacking (who calls Baker "Jude", as in "Hey Jude") manages to quote from Grice in his "Why does language matter to philosophy"! -- and a good reference to him it is too, as Hacking compares him to Hobbes!

Someone SHOULD compile a list of all the (c) Grice/Baker, just for the record!  

One of the things that especially FASCINATED me about the (c) Grice/Baker is formalistic. Suppose we want to formalise that agent A has a goal G towards the fulfilment of the proposition "p" -- e.g.

i. Grice does not smoke.

I.e. Grice's goal is to stop smoking.



Now, there may be another goal -- to fulfil that goal: in symbols:


It seems to have been Baker's idea (which she shared with Grice) -- "Must our motives be pure?" -- that this should proceed ad infinitum. Only if 


proceeds indefinitely should we arrive at Grice's motto: 'obligation cashes out in desire'! No more, no less!

When Baker was writing her PhD dissertation, Grice took the problems of such dissertation SO SERIOUSLY that he had problems sleeping!

Ah, those were the philosophers that were!

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