[lit-ideas] Re: Ars Amatoria

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  • Date: Thu, 30 Jul 2015 09:09:01 -0400

Witters knew his Shakespeare.

And some of Shakespeare's lines invite not only a Griceian analysis, but a
neo-Wittgensteinian one.

Shakespeare seems to be playing with Ovid's ars amatoria: is there an
'art' (techne) for loving, and unloving?

So seems Bevolio (an Italian, typically) to have thought. The sad thing is
that he tried to convince Romeo about it!

Henninge makes explicit reference to Witters's idea of a rule, and I was
reminded of

Wittgenstein, to follow a rule, by Steven H. Holtzman and Christopher M.
Leich, Routledge & Kegan Paul, in theInternational library of philosophy
Table of Contents:
Introductory essay : communal agreement and objectivity / Christopher M.
Leich and Steven H. Holtzman
Following Wittgenstein / G. P. Baker (sucessor of Grice as philosophy
tutor at St. John's).
Reply : rule-following / C. A. B. Peacocke, Waynflete professor of
metaphysical philosophy, Oxford.
Rule-following, objectivity, and the theory of meaning / Crispin Wright
Reply : semantic theory and tacit knowledge / Gareth Evans, Wilde reader
of mental philosophy, Oxford.
Non-cognitivism and rule-following / John McDowell, Oxonian.
Reply : rule-following and moral realism / Simon Blackburn, Oxonian, tutor
at Pembroke.
Understanding and explanation in the Geisteswissenschaften / Charles Taylor
Reply : evaluative "realism" and interpretation / Philip Pettit.

In a message dated 7/30/2015 4:54:53 A.M. Eastern Daylight Time,
RichardHenninge@xxxxxxxxxxx quotes from Shakespeare:

Romeo: She hath forsworn to love, and in that vow
Do I live dead, that live to tell it now.
Benvolio: Be rul'd by me, forget to think of her.
Romeo: O teach me how I should forget to think.

Henninge asks: "So the question is, in Wittgensteinian overtones, how
Benvolio can teach Romeo the following of a rule."

Indeed. I would even go on to say, in Wittgenstein TONES -- the overtones
are almost all-ways Griceian only -- vide Platts, "Shades of meaning".


"Shakespeare, in his "nature-forms of language" ("die neue Natur-formen
der Sprache"). A rule is not knowledge, but a doctrine, a belief that one
can try to teach to another."

Indeed. It may perhaps best be construed as an imperative, or command, as

God (to Moses) "Thou shalt not kill". Or "Kill not!".

-- The mark of an imperative is the so-called imperative punctuation sign.

Henninge goes on to quote the exact words of this Italian from Verona:

""Be ruled by me"

and comments:

"as a friend to a friend, is a suggestion to follow my lead, my advice,
still, granted, merely my belief, I am as fallible as you, aren't we all,
of course, naturally."

I think H. L. A. Hart would call this a secondary rule. There are rules

i. Kill not!

which are primary. And there are secondary rules as

ii. Follow (i)!

-- Witters would say there are tertiary rules and, just to tease Hart,
n-ary rules.

Henninge comments:

"One hears the despair, the sigh in Romeo's "O": O would I could be
taught (would I could learn from an external source) to forget, and what's
more, to forget all thinking, for all thinking for Romeo is desperate
thinking on the unattainable.... And the well-wishing Benvolio, who only
wishes well for his friend, has a repartee, "By giving liberty unto thine
eyes:/Examine other beauties."

These are deep philosophical questions. "Forget" is a verb that is usually
misused, as is 'forgive'. Grice was especially infuriated (in his calm Brit
way that comes out as 'stoic' to other races) by the misuse of 'remember'.
But then my favourite CD is an old CD of old ballads:

iii. Songs we forgot to remember.

-- genial!


Grice discusses Benjamin (an Australian philosopher) on Benjamin's
misconceptions about the 'senses' (alleged senses) of 'remember' and 'forget'.
we remember that p, when p never took place? Can we forget that p, if p is
not the case? In general, the common ground for the discussion of this is
that both remembering and forgetting are voluntary acts? Bergson may have a
word or two on this. It may be that one unintentionally FORGETS (the
steretotypical absent-minded uni professor), but can one unintentionally
remember? Can one be FORCED, as Benvolio (good-will, literally), or more
specifically, can ROMEO be forced to FORGET? And worse, 'by rule of thumb'?
(figuratively: 'thumb' here is sailor's thumb, and the rules are those that
'follow' and sailors respect).

Henninge goes on:

"The "nature-forms of language" include the functioning of "by" in these
lines. The word "by" can translate the German word "durch," which can be
translated in English by ("by"!) "through.""

Indeed. There is metathesis here, somewhere. I


"By "by," by means of "through," one can better grasp the force of
teaching, of teaching a rule, a belief,
granted, merely a belief, human, a proposal, a proposition, a protocol to
follow, but, hey, who knows? it might work for you. The words "liberty"
and "eyes"--it's not like these two items do not have anything in common."

"Liberty" may be Shakespearean Latinate attempt at 'freedom of the will'
(liber arbitrium). The idea of 'freedom' here was thoroughly analysed by
Grice. There's natural freedom, as in free fall of a material object. There's
phototropism, which is the freedom of a plant to grow towards the light. And
there's full free will. The concept is Roman in nature, since they had
slaves. A Greek philosopher working (if philosophers can be said to work)
spoke of semi-liberty (since he thought that there was no such thing as full
freedom of the will, but that we are all 'half-enslaved' by the
pre-determination of the laws or rules of nature).

Henninge goes on:

"And it is not wild happenstance that finds "giving" to be the
appropriate verb form in this context. Eyes tend to roam. The mind dwells.
It is
natural to give liberty to that which falls upon whatever comes before it.
And "examine": wasn't that the quintessential philosophical word, wasn't
that the English version most accepted for Plato's Greek version of
Socrates' saying, "The unexamined life is not worth living"? (By the way, the
Greek word translated by "unexamined" has the sense of going through
something thoroughly, "durch und durch," as in the German word for experience
"Erfahrung," which has the "-fahr-" root of "driving," "Fahren," not so
distantly removed from the notion of Forschung [research], Forscher
explorer], Suche [search]"

a favourite Popperian term, I understand too, as per the German title of
his most famous work!

("infamous work", as Toulmin said).

Henninge goes on:

"and Wittgenstein's Untersuchungen [investigations, examinations]. Romeo
reparts or re-departs on Benvolio's "beauties," energized by its preceding
word "other" and the impertinence of his friend even to suggest that love
object could even compare to "others": Romeo: Show me a mistress that
is passing fair;/What doth her beauty serve but as a note/Where I may
read who pass'd that passing fair?/Farewell [note: fahr gut!], thou canst not
teach me to forget.
Benvolio: I'll pay that doctrine or else die in debt."

This must be an evocation of Auden,

"We must love one another OR ELSE die [implicature, +> in debt]."

The problem of dying in debt as the debt is no longer yours, but your
estate's! And what WAS the Veronese gentleman Benvolio's estate?

Henninge concludes:

"In other words, Benvolio believes that his belief, which he is teaching
trying to teach to Romeo, that being to forget, will eventually be seen
Romeo as a good investment, a good advice taken, to examine (not focus on
one) other (what, there are others?) beauties (perhaps my language was
running away with me?). Benvolio hopes to be able to say in the future:
"Romeo, have I not acquitted myself well by and in proffering the advice
forget?" Benvolio's teaching, his doctrine, is proved right for Romeo
minutes on the stage. The above scene is in Act I: by Act III a little
more than
an hour into the action Romeo (smitten now by Juliet and accused,
justly, of
having slain her cousin Tybalt) is carping at Friar Lawrence for trying
talk reason and philosophy to the young man who has just been banished
from Verona:
Romeo: "Banished"?/O Friar, the damned
use that word in hell./Howling attends it. How hast thou the
heart,/Being a divine, a ghostly confessor,/A sin-absolver, and my friend
profess'd,/To mangle [!] me with that word "banished"?
Friar: Thou fond mad man, hear me a little speak.
Romeo: [re-parting from "speak"] O, thou wilt speak again of
Friar: I'll give thee armour to keep off that word,/Adversity's
sweet milk, philosophy,/To comfort thee though thou art banished. [Oh boy,
batten down the hatches, here it comes...] Romeo: Yet "banished"?
/Hang up philosophy./Unless philosophy can make a Juliet,/Displant a town,
reverse a Prince's doom,/It helps not, it prevails not [i.e. it doesn't
"rule," philosophy "setzt sich nicht durch," is ineffectual] Talk no more.
Friar: O, then I see that mad men have no ears. Romeo:
[re-departing from "ears"] How should they when that wise men [like thee
have no eyes?/Friar: Let me dispute with thee of thy estate.
["Yet" words, talk, speaking, philosophy, might Romeo interject, here with
the overtones of Wittgenstein--where have we heard exactly these words and
these concerns before?]
Romeo: Thou canst not speak of that thou dost not feel. Wert thou as
young as I, Juliet thy love,
An hour but married, Tybalt murdered, Doting like me, and like me
banished,/Then mightst thou speak, then mightst thou tear thy hair/And fall
upon the ground as I do now,/Taking the measure of an unmade grave."

I loved the hang up philosophy, "unless philosophy can make a Juliet".

Of course one has to be Kripkean here. One thing is

iii. Juliet.

and another

iv. A Juliet.

By using "a", Romeo is being slightly antiphilosophical yet Griceian.
Grice analysed the implicatures of 'a': "I saw a tortoise on the way to a
house". "It would be odd," he adds, "if it happens to be my tortoise on the
front garden of MY house."

v. Giulietta.

is what Kripke calls a 'rigid designation', in that philosophy could never
make her, since she was made by her Veronese mama and papa -- even if she
was taught (or learned, as I prefer, following "Wind in the willows") things
by her maid. (Juliet existed and her wealthy family lived in Verona,
headed by Capulet and his wife. Giulietta was Capulet's only child and was
thought of by him a gift from heaven. She was cared for by her nurse, who is
her confidant, or Juliet's stepmother -- if not both -- if I might be



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