We must have been up and down, in and out, and in circles as John alleges, as
well as in many another shape, on whether Popper is a meaning-philosopher i.e.
a philosopher who bases his views on what makes 'sense'. [Grice and
Wittgenstein being two kinds of meaning-philosopher, and with some philosophers
after the 'lingustic turn' talking about philosophy as if there can be no other
kind than meaning-philosophy.] We know that Popper disavowed that he was a
meaning-philosopher, whereas others said he was [AJ Ayer initially maintained
falsifiability was offered by Popper as a criterion of meaning]. Again and
again, JLS treats Popper as if he was a meaning-philosopher, and again and
again I set out why Popper is not a meaning philosopher and should be taken at
The latest example is:>Popper once said that in a class to students of physics,
he said to them:
Popper says that (ii) is meaningless.>
For anyone else following, Popper never said any such thing i.e. he does not
say "Observe!" is meaningless - and certainly not in the context in which he
uses it above. He does say the injunction "Observe!" led his students to query
"Observe what?" (a query that could hardly be made if the injunction were
meaningless); and that their understandable query points up the flaw in the
view that we start our knowledge with observations, for observation is always
from a point of view, and so the start of our knowledge goes further back to
this point of view - but the point of view is always relative to some problem
or other, and so the actual starting-point for knowledge is a problem, for
knowledge is always knowledge relative to some problem.
The whole point of Popper's story is lost in JLS's account; its point is not to
erect another dismal dogma of meaning but to illustrate the naivety of the
traditional empiricist view that knowledge is 'observation-based' in that it
starts from 'observation'/sense experience (when the term 'observation-based'
was used in my earlier post, it was used in inverted commas to mark that it is
being used without commitment to this traditional empiricist view).
Perhaps, after a decade or so of this, we should change this game to one where
I continually interpolate Popperian terms and maxims into a supposed account of
Grice's writings? Cui bono?
On Sunday, 27 March 2016, 14:47, "dmarc-noreply@xxxxxxxxxxxxx"
The Romance Languages (unlike, say, English) use a root for "Easter" that
is actually Hebrew, and supposed to mean 'transition'. The first Christians
found it difficult to apply the SAME conceptual analysis for 'transition'
in the Old Testament to 'transition' in the New Testament, but the Apostles
(twelve of them, see Quine, "Methods of Logic", for the logical form of
"The Apostles were twelve") constantly made this reference to 'pasqua'-1 as
used in the Old Testament and 'pasqua-2' as used in the New Testament. They
were being Griceian, of course ("Do not multiply the sense of 'pasqua'
beyond necessity"). To specify the _Christian_ way of using, a collocation is
needed, and 'pasqua' "of resurrection" is used. English is a completely
different animal here.
Since Grice was C. of E., the English roots for "Easter" and the invited
implicatures of "Happy Easter!" (cfr. "Buona pasqua!") need to be explored.
We are considering not just Grice (C. of E.) but Popper (not C. of E.). The
empty tomb, did it prove that Jesus had resurrected? Does
i. Jesus's tomb is empty.
In a message dated 3/27/2016 5:49:44 A.M. Eastern Daylight Time,
donalmcevoyuk@xxxxxxxxxxx writes in "Grice's Good Friday"):
may be applied more widely than as a criterion of science. (This point has
been addressed many times in previous posts.)"
But not on a Griceian Easter! (And we skipped, by McEvoy's request, the
problem-solving strategies vs. conceptual analyses used by Patrick to banish
the serpents not long ago).
McEvoy: "One way to understand the position is that 'falsificationism' is
fundamentally a doctrine that is logic-based, not observation-based, and
this logic holds much more widely than in its application to
'observation-based' statements like those deemed 'scientific'."
And I would take
i. Jesus's tomb is empty.
as observational. It is, granted, negative in essence, and the use of "~"
needs to be used. Umberto Eco would say more about this, but he forbade to
speak of him for some years! ("Jesus's corpse was eaten by jackals; he
didn't resurrect," some sceptics then claimed).
"Popper use 'falsificationism' as criterion for science by taking the
purely logical notion of falsifiability and allying it with a requirement of
testability by observation: so the statement "Here is a swan" is scientific
if observation could test were it otherwise than true."
i. See: Jesus's tomb is empty.
Popper once said that in a class to students of physics, he said to them:
Popper says that (ii) is meaningless. "My students wanted to know WHAT to
observe." Popper invites with this the implicature that observation is
theory-laden (to speak figuratively).
"This idea of 'test' is inextricably linked with the logical notion of
falsifiability in that it is only a scientific test if there are test outcomes
that could falsify the statement (i.e. if all test outcomes could only be
consistent with a statement, the 'test' is not a test in any scientific
Hence my point as to (i) can become a falsifier.
Tertuliano once said that he believed that p because he found that p was
absurd. And Aquinas, an Italian, later would say that philosophy is merely
the 'ancilla' of philosophy. So this is serious!
And I met one theologian who said schatology is a science (Cfr. Grice,
"Philosophical Eschatology -- from Genesis to Revelation").
McEvoy: "Once we understand this, we understand what is central to
scientific method - testing by observation and its "logic"."
But (i), "Jesus's tomb is emtpy" is OBSERVATIONAL, if not theory-laden.
"We can also understand that the more severe a test is, the better its
scientific worth as a test, and that the severity of a test is linked to the
extent to which test outcomes could falsify the theory, and that a theory
proves its scientific worth the better it passes tests along a scale of
Well, the theory here is the theory of resurrection. Let's symbolise it as
Tr. Why did Ayer, a logical positivist, thought that all theological
discourse was unverifiable? And would Popper go on to say that, as per
'witch ducking stool', it is irrefutable, and thus essentially and
"But decoupled from 'observation-based' statements, falsifiability still
applies as a purely logical notion. It can be applied to all statements
such as (i)
"e.g. the propositional content of a statement is always the same as 'what
it rules out', and 'what it rules out' is the same as the class of its
potential falsifiers (i.e. the same as the class of what would render the
statement false were that class not actually empty; it being a necessary
condition of the statement being true that its class of potential falsifiers
Coincidental that McEvoy would use 'empty' seeing that we are analysing
'Jesus's tomb is empty'.
"In the case of scientific statements, this class must be testable by
observation. But in the case of a non-scientific statement, the same logic
holds: so strict determinism may be characteristised as the view that
there are no undetermined events [i.e. an undetermined event is 'what is ruled
out' by determinism], and strict determinism is falsified if there are any
undetermined events. Here the issue becomes non-scientific because, in the
way this discussion is usually pitched, we cannot test by observation
whether there are any undetermined events (for any apparent undetermined
may have an unobserved deterministic basis)."
As in eschatology? Because there may be various explanations why (i) is
true -- Jesus's tomb is empty, say, not because he resurrected but because his
corpse was eaten by jackals.
"That is, whether an event is undetermined cannot be checked by observation
because nothing we observe could falsify its being undetermined. Pitched
differently, we can say Newtonian's physics is prima facie deterministic
and Einstein's physics is prima facie indeterministic - but this 'on the face
of it' does not settle the underlying metaphysical issue, as underneath
Newton's physics might be an unobservable layer of indeterministic events and
under Einstein's a layer of unobservable deterministic events (which is
actually what Einstein thought), where this layer characterises whether the
system is actually deterministic or indeterministic. As nothing in
observation can falsify what might be the case for the unobservable layer,
in observation can show either that there exist any undetermined events or
even that there exist any determined events (in the Laplacean sense). [See
Popper's 'The Open Universe' for a brilliant treatment of these issues.] So
all statements with content are 'falsifiable' in that they are false if
'what that content rules out' actually obtains. This does not make them all
'falsifiable' in the scientific sense: they are only falsifiable in the
scientific sense if 'what they rule out' could presently be observed."
Well, do not multiply the uses of 'scientific' beyond necessity? Why is
theological eschatology not a science in Popper's view? Why is even Grice's
PHILOSOPHICAL eschatology (the study of transcategorial predication) not
'scientific' in Popper's use of the adjective? After all, "eschatology" ends in
"-logy", which most linguistic botanists (including Grice and Geary) take
it as the CRITERION of science.
Grice loved ichthyology, and laughed at the idea, when analysing the
concept of 'necessity', that we need 'ichthyological necessity'. But with
'eschatological' we are in a safer terrain, we hope.
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