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, February 8, 2017

Herbert Paul Grice and Marcus William Dick on hyperbole as conversational implicature


Quinton, if you heard of him (and even if you haven't) started his distinguished career with the All Souls Prize Fellowship.

The pleasure of winning it may have been heightened by an overheard comment by another candidate before the exam.

Quinton reported Marcus William Dick, of all people, saying to Richard Wollheim:

"Not much competition here, Richard."

Perhaps there was a touch of reciprocity (called 'vengeance' by Italians) in Quinton's later description of Marcus Dick as

"the only professional philosopher I have ever heard of in Oxford who never published a single word."

This is false, even if the implicature (if not disimplicature) is true.

Surely, Witters is right that St. Augustine is right that when you SPEAK you speak your mind, you publish your mind.

So, given that both Grice and Dick were brilliant tutors, they surely DID publish words -- and not just a single one.

Let us consider wicked Quinton's utterance:

i. Marcus William Dick, the son of Dr. James Reid Dick, is, if I must say, the only professional philosopher -- rather than 'amateur,' you know -- I have ever HEARD OF at Oxford ('never 'in' Oxford,' which is non-U) who NEVER published a single word.

Perhaps it's about time to list the unpublications of Marcus William Dick.

Or not!


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