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, July 15, 2016

Köpcke's Implicature


A woman filled in the blanks in a piece by Köpcke based on a crossword puzzle. Let me explain.

The woman has not been named, under German privacy law, but I shall here refer to her as "Ms Grice".
Ms Grice was questioned under caution after she filled in the work valued at €80,000 with a biro she had in her purse. "Reading-work-piece", a is a Griceian collaborative object d'art by Griceian conceptual artist Arthur Köpcke, of the Fluxus movement. The object d'art essentially looks like an empty crossword puzzle.
Next to the work is a sign Köpcke Griceanly added a caption which reads: “Insert words”.
The female, our Ms Grice, explained to the German police that she was simply following the instructions, "in the most Griceian, cooperative way."
Ms Grice told us she had taken the Köpcke's Griceian instruction as an also cooperative invitation to complete the crossword, a police spokesman said.
The German cop went on: "We do realize that [Ms Grice] didn’t mean any harm," using "mean" as per Grice's analysis of natural meaning ("mean to" as mean-NN, mean to harm). The museum director added: "A state museum couldn’t avoid making a criminal complaint, though  -- even if this goes against the Griceian spirit. But we Germans are not anarchic."
Ms Grice was part of a group visit to Nuremberg’s Neues Museum (it means new museum in German)  where Köpcke's genial work (now with added value as McEvoy cleverly implicates) is displayed.
If the museum didn’t want people to follow Köpcke's instructions, they should put up a sign to make that clear "or perspicuous," as Ms Grice told the German police.
The museum director said the "damage" (as Grice, Ms Grice, or Köpcke would NOT call it) is not permanent and would probably be relatively easy to repair.
“Also for insurance reasons we had to report the incident to the German police.”
The German collector who presented Köpcke's masterpiece to the museum took the incident in good humour,  the museum director said -- "even Griceian humour, if you mustn't."
Restoring the work is expected to cost a few hundred euros and the museum will bear the expense, not Ms Grice, the museum director said.
“We did let the Ms Grice know that the collector took the damage to the work in good Griceian humour," the museum director added ("Although I still cannot Griceianly think what kind of a crossword puzzle could be filled by 'inserting' any word; but the piece was an iconic representation, as Grice would have it, of a real crossword puzzle as gets published in The Telegraph. So there was an openness in Köpcke's implicature that Ms Grice merely cleverly flouted."
The museum said that in future it should alter the label for the Köpcke's masterpiece to make it clear visitors were NOT permitted to fill in the blanks, in spite of the blatant order to the contrary.
As Popper would put it, "Irrefudiable!"

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