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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Friday, March 25, 2016

Grice's Good Friday


When we say "Goodbye" we literally mean, "God be with you". The connection between 'good' and 'God' is Griceian in nature.

However, in Good Friday, the Griceian, qua smartest etymythologist, can go too far.

In "Good Friday", the theory, non-Griceian one, may be the boring one that 'good' means 'good'. Some are repelled by this seeing that it was the day when Jesus Christ was crucified. (Grice was C. of E., attended Clifton, and later joined Corpus Christi as a Fellowship student).

But, for all that R. M. Hare said about 'good', in this case, 'good' is just used to designate a day (or season) when some religious observance takes place.

The theory that "Good" in Good Friday IS a corruption of "God's Friday" remains valid in some Griceian quarters!
Popper subtitled the original Austrian version of his essay as being on the theory of knowledge of 'modern natural science'. But surely since then  Popperians have proliferated and there's nothing qua falsificationism that need  to apply JUST to 'natural science'. There may be falsifications in sociology,  say, or in etymology. When something is not quite falsifiable in the standard Popperian way, we may speak of an etymythology.
According to Wikipedia (falsify that!) the etymology or as I prefer, I say, etymythology of 'Good Friday' has been 'contested'. According to some it does not mean
i. Today is Good Friday.
Instead, via corruption, it originally meant:
ii. Today is God's Friday.
i.e. with 'good' being a 'corruption' of "God".

But according to another theory -- call it Theory T2 -- 'good' just means 
This may be seen, not just a test for the smart Griceian etymythologist, but as an exercise in Popperianism. I guess a falsifier would be to note the way Good Friday was referred to BEFORE 'good' started to be used to mean 'holy' (possibly "Holy Friday"). This would falsify T1.
On the other hand, finding some manuscript where the monk wrote "God's Friday" would  possibly falsify T2 (of course by corroborating T1, but Popper cares a hoot  about corroboration, it would seem).
For the record then:
a) First registered use of the very English collocation, "Good Friday":
1300   St. John Evangelist (Laud) 27 in C. Horstmann Early  S.-Eng.
Legendary (1887) 403  
"A-morewe, ase on þe guode friday, ase he deide on þe rode."
b) FIRST REGISTERED USE OF "GOOD" TO MEAN, as applied to a day or season, when a religious observance takes place:
1200 OE   Confessor's Exhort. to Penitence (Corpus Cambr. 190) in  B.
Thorpe Anc. Laws & Instit. of Eng. (1840) II. 224  
"Ðeos tid cymð ymbe twelfmonað þæt ælc man sceal his scrift gesprecan... 
Þonne hafa þu rihtne geleafan to Gode & to þysse godan tide."
So, deduce! Or rather, implicate!


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