The Grice Club


The Grice Club

The club for all those whose members have no (other) club.

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Monday, April 3, 2017

Morton Deutsch and Herbert Paul Grice on Conflict Resolution -- and beyond

Morton Deutsch, if you've heard of him (or as Geary would add, "even if you haven't") is best described as an expert on Conflict Resolution, in other words, an expert on, if not Popper, Grice!

One telling example:

After Morton Deutsch learned that Lydia Shapiro, his future wife (as it happens) was sunbathing (yes!) along (of all places) the Charles River in Boston, while she was supposed to be interviewing subjects for one of Deutsch's sociological experiments, he resorted to what D. K. Lewis would call a "conventional" means of resolving a workplace dispute.

Deutsch fired Schapiro.
A little more than a year later, though, Deutsch took a slightly more creative or constructive approach to repairing their frayed relationship. Deutsch and Schapiro became what Grice would call "fully cooperative partners," husband and wife.
“I have in the past accused my wife of marrying me to "get even," as they say, but she asserts, uinstead, and using a Freudianism,  that it was "pure masochism,"" Deutsch wryly recalls.

After completing his experiment in graduate school, Deutsch, who lives on the isle of Manhattan, perfected this formula for reconciliation to become a leading expert on Griceian conflict resolution and mediation.

He not only remained married for decades, but co-wrote a prescriptive essay titled “Preventing World War III," where "preventing" is conceptually related to 'predicting' (via opposition) --. (To prevent is that what others might predict won't happen).

Whatever credit Deutsch might have deserved for thwarting another global military conflict, his principles provided, as a matter of history, a theoretical framework for various Cold-War negotiations (as Grice notes, "not hot-war ones"), for court decisions that voided legally sanctioned racial segregation, and for Poland’s rather peaceful transition from Communist rule (where "rule" is used alla Searle -- vide his constitutive/regulative rule distinction).

Deutsch served on the faculty at Columbia -- "the uni in New York," as Grice explains, "not the country in South America" -- until he became professor emeritus (of Columbia, not Colombia).

There (in Columbia, not Colombia) Deutsch, not Grice, founded the International Center for Cooperation and Conflict Resolution (since renamed for him -- Deutsch, not Grice), which he (naturally) ran (figuratively -- i.e. using mainly his brain rather than his legs)

He should have called it "The Grice Institute," or the "Manhattan Centre for Griceian Studies," if you mustn't. ("But I thought Grice was too Oxonian for that?")

Cfr. Grice's New York example:

A: Smith doesn't seem to be having a girl-friend these days.

B: He's spending a lot of time in New York.

     (Logic and Conversation, II, Harvard)

“The Handbook of Conflict Resolution: Theory and Practice,” which he (Deutsch, not Grice -- now this is getting confusing) edited with Peter T. Coleman and Eric C. Marcus, is (for those who know it) a standard manual for dealing with labour, commercial, international and (why not?) marital disputes.

John T. Jost, a social psychologist at New York University, writes in The journal Social Justice Research that “in what is probably Deutsch’s most influential essay, ‘The Resolution of Conflict,' he summarized the lessons of his research tutorials on, among other things, Griceian cooperation and conflict.” (Oddly, the "other things" are _also_ Griceian, if not Popperian).

“The point,” Jost notes, “is" almost Wittgensteinian, to wit, "that social forms are self-fulfilling, so that anti-Griceian coercion, anti-Griceian intimidation, anti-Griceian deception -- or 'sneakiness', as Grice prefers), anti-Griceian distrust and anti-Griceian hostility are both causes and effects of competition, whereas Griceian assistance, Griceian openness, Griceian information sharing, Griceian perceived similarity, and Griceian friendliness are both causes and effects of, of course, Griceian cooperation, or 'helpfulness', as Grice prefers in his Oxford lectures on logic and conversation where he coined the English term of art 'implicature'. (Sidonius had used it in Latin, 'implicatura').

Morton Deutsch was born, of all places, in the Bronx, to Charles and Ida Deutsch, both Jewish immigrants from what is now Poland (implicature: but then wasn't). His father, if you care to know, was a butter and egg wholesaler. Ida wasn't.
Raised in the picturesque Washington Heights section of Manhattan (Grice lived on the Berkeley Heights), Deutsch read Freud and Marx when he was ten years old, graduated from Townsend Harris Hall and entered City College when he was fifteen planning, or 'intending', as Grice would prefer, to become a psychiatrist (vide Grice, "Intention and Uncertainty").
Deutsch (not Grice) recalls: "I became disenchanted with the idea of being a pre-med student after dissecting a pig in a biology lab."

(Oddly, "Grice" means 'pig' in Scots).

“I was happy to switch to a psychology major.”

Again, Deutsch, not Grice, received a bachelor of science degree from City College and a master’s from the Uni of Pennsylvania.

“I grew up in a time when, as a Jew, I experienced many instances of prejudice, blatant as well as subtle, and could observe the gross acts of injustice being suffered by blacks,” Deutsch recalls in an essay in “Reflections on 100 Years of Experimental Social Psychology.”

And Deutsch did not merely "observe" (to use a Popperianism -- recall his injunction to his class, "Observe" -- the the puzzlement of his students, "Observe _what_, prof?" -- They missed Popper's implicature -- "or rather it went over their heads").

Deutsch (not Grice, or Popper) contributed lunch money to the Spanish Loyalists in the 1930s; organized a protest against the quality of high school cafeteria food and a strike by fellow waiters at a summer resort during college; challenged what he considered racist statements by a professor; and, after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbour, enlisted in the Army Air Forces and flew 30 missions as a navigator over Nazi-occupied Old World.

“Being in World War II and experiencing the devastation and horror of war, even though I felt the war against the Nazis was justified, I became interested in prevention of war,” Deutsch notes in the "Teachers College Today" magazine

It was at M.I.T., where Deutsch (not Grice or Popper) earns his doctorate on the G.I. Bill, and perhaps more importantly, where he also met his wife, the afore-mentioned Shapiro.

It was also at M.I.T. -- a lot of things happen at this institute of technology -- where Deutsch (not Grice or Popper) became a disciple of Kurt Lewin, the psychologist whose favorite dictum was something Popper would perhaps approve of: “There’s nothing so practical as a good theory.” (Lewin is punning on Aristotle, where 'theoria' and 'praxis' are his terms of art).
Deutsch’s postgraduate studies were heavily influenced by the atomic bombings of Japan, followed by the formation of the United Nations.

Deutsch's (not Grice -- to be a DPhil in Oxford is to be overqualified) doctoral dissertation was the basis for his Griceian theory of Griceian cooperation and competition, which postulates that the success of a group (A and B) depends on the extent to which its members (A and B -- as per the New York Grice conversation cited above:
A: Smith doesn't seem to be having a girl-friend these days.
B: He has been paying a lots of visits to the Hamptons of late.

-- believe their goals are shared and see a potential to make common cause.

(in other words, conversation, and other forms of cooperative behaviour are not zero-sum games).  (In symbols, GA Int.(intersection) GB (the intersection of A's and B's goals) is not null or the empty set.
cfr. Grice's keyword: "COOPERATIVE PRINCIPLE".
He (Deutsch, not Grice) had in  (his) mind the United Nation’s Security Council, he says, when “I had an image of them either cooperating or competing and had different senses of what the consequences would be for the world.”

For Frege senses can be of two types: to the right, or to the left. For Grice there is only one sense ('do not multiply senses beyond necessity'). Popper (or at least McEvoy) use 'sense' more, shall we say, broadly.

But the same rules, if rules they are, Deutsch says (they are NOT rules for Grice) apply for confrontations big and small, and, since he fired (but later married) Shapiro, his researcher at M.I.T., Deutsch says, perhaps jocularly there were plenty of occasions to practice what he preached.

“In our years of marriage (+>to my wife),” Deutsch (not Grice, or Popper) says, using an expression meant to provoke Popper, “I have had splendid opportunities to study conflict as a participant observer.”

-- where 'study' may NOT be Griceian (or Popperian) understatement for 'necessarily resolve'. Or not, of course.

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