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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Sunday, November 1, 2015

TRICK OR TREAT? The implicatures -- Towards a Griceian Halloween


Following an earlier contribution on this, I was pointed out about the brief charivari scene in "The
Return if Martin Guerre"? 

In that ritual the point of going to someone's house in costume was to demand  that he or she fix what the village regarded as a moral problem.

And for  pointing out this threat to the polis, villagers expected a reward.

Natalie Zemon  Davis wrote on this.

The wikipedia entry reads:

"The charivari as celebration was a custom initially practised by the upper classes, but as time went on, the lower classes also participated and often  looked forward to the next opportunity to join in."

This is, as Nancy Mitford -- and her sister, the Duchess of Devonshire  -- would have it, 'a good thing' -- for what is the good of a celebration that  "does not apply to the 'masses'"?

One problem with the charivari is that, as Ritchie's comment goes, the 
thing concerned:

>that he or she fix ... a moral problem.

Kant would NOT be amused. That's not a matter of a x-question of the 
disjunctive form -- "Sacrifice or curse?"

But of course Kant can be tweaked. The implicature of a disjunction is 
usually that of a horseshoe, as logicians call it, after

So we have


where 'V' represents 'or' or Latin 'vel'.


where 'W' represents the mythical EX-clusive disjunction.





i.e. "If no trick, treat", and "If no treat, trick". In terms of implicata,
"if you don't fix this moral problem you'll be cursed"

with the further implicatum, Grice would add, quoting from Kipling (After all, Grice lived in Berkeley, named after Berkeley, who was, on his emphasis on the British Empire going 'west' being a Kiplingian _avant la lettre_):

"from here to eternitee"*

The best rendition is by Rudy Vallee:

To the legion of the lost ones, to the cohort of the  damned,
To my brethren in their sorrow overseas,
Sings  a gentleman of England cleanly bred, machinely crammed,
And a trooper of the Empress, if you please.
Yea, a trooper of the forces who  has run his own six horses,
And faith he went the pace and  went it blind,
And the world was more than kin while he held the ready  tin,
But to-day the Sergeant's something less than  kind.
We're poor little lambs who've lost our way,
Baa!  Baa! Baa!
We're little black sheep who've gone astray,
Gentlemen-rankers out on the spree,

---> Damned from here to Eternity,

God ha' mercy on such as we,
Baa! Yah! Bah!

Oh, it's sweet to sweat through stables, sweet to empty kitchen  slops,
And it's sweet to hear the tales the troopers  tell,
To dance with blowzy housemaids at the regimental  hops
And thrash the cad who says you waltz too  well.
Yes, it makes you cock-a-hoop to be "Rider" to your  troop,
And branded with a blasted worsted spur,
When  you envy, O how keenly, one poor Tommy being cleanly
Who  blacks your boots and sometimes calls you "Sir".
If the home we never write  to, and the oaths we never keep,
And all we know most  distant and most dear,
Across the snoring barrack-room return to break our  sleep,
Can you blame us if we soak ourselves in  beer?
When the drunken comrade mutters and the great guard-lantern  gutters
And the horror of our fall is written  plain,
Every secret, self-revealing on the aching white-washed  ceiling,
Do you wonder that we drug ourselves from  pain?
We have done with Hope and Honour, we are lost to Love and  Truth,
We are dropping down the ladder rung by  rung,
And the measure of our torment is the measure of our  youth.
God help us, for we knew the worst too  young!
Our shame is clean repentance for the crime that brought the  sentence,
Our pride it is to know no spur of pride,
And  the Curse of Reuben holds us till an alien turf enfolds us
And we die, and none can tell Them where we died.
We're poor little lambs  who've lost our way,
Baa! Baa! Baa!
We're little black  sheep who've gone astray,
Gentlemen-rankers  out on the spree,

--> Damned from here to Eternity,

God ha' mercy on such as we,
Baa! Yah! Bah!

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