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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Wednesday, July 1, 2015

How Grice met Baker


Via her being his graduate student.

"Jude" – as her husband Ian Hacking was prone to call her – was no doubt more obscure than she deserved to be, given the brilliance of her thought.

But she was – from her profuse work with H. P. Grice (who loved her) through to her late work with Philip Clark – a quintessentially collaborative philosopher. 

But then so was Grice. He would joke that his conversations with Sir Peter Strawson were so minimal than nobody ELSE understood them!

Clark presented some of their joint work at the annual meeting of the Canadian Philosophical Association.

One can glimpse something of the character of Baker’s mind in her frequently cited “Trust and Rationality” for Pacific Philosophical Quarterly, 1987 -- the same publication that had Grice airing his views on "Actions and Events" and "Aristotle and the multiplicity of being".  

But it was in interpersonal dialogue that Baker's brilliance shone through.

Baker was a marvelous interlocutor, always willing to consider another’s work on its own terms.

Interestingly, she learned that from Grice! She admired Grice for putting in Baker's shoes (metaphorically) when writing her dissertation. And it was Baker who awoke in Grice a new view of MORAL philosophy alla Kantotle.

A sharp but sympathetic critic Baker was, and an imaginative source of vivid and realistic examples (which, according to Grice, as we say, enlivened his own interest in ethics in his later years). 

Baker was above all an amazing friend, one who never failed to ask attentively after the troubles of those who visited her bedside.  

Such virtues are difficult to quantify and but should never be overlooked. 

But we should take care not to overlook these who would not – not even on their death beds – let others be overlooked.

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