[lit-ideas] Re: Berkeleyiana

  • From: "" <dmarc-noreply@xxxxxxxxxxxxx> (Redacted sender "Jlsperanza" for DMARC)
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Sat, 26 Sep 2015 07:17:30 -0400

It was good to have Helm's requoting Geary, since it's so full of negatives
(what logicians call "~", the tilde), for Helm writes:

In a message dated 9/26/2015 1:22:36 A.M. Eastern Daylight Time,
lawrencehelm@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx writes:
Geary seemed in a triumphalist mood when he wrote "Without me
perceiving nothing would exist, not as far as I'm concerned anyway..

And indeed, while with McEvoy and Helm we were considering the 'as far as
I...' phrases, I would like now to deal with those tildes.

For we have:

Berkeley:

i. esse est percipi.

Affirmative. Goes with an affirmative qualifier, alla Geary:

ii. Esse est percipi, as far as I'm concerned.

But Geary writes:

iii. Nothing would exist without me perceiving, not as far as I'm concerned
anyway.

And it's difficult to think this amount to (ii).

We have Geary's use of the 'as far as' phrase, and McEvoy providing the
acronym and use for another, 'afaik', as far as I know. And then we have Grice
who writes of things and adding:

iv. As far as I can see (not far I think), Idealism is wrong.

[I'm modifying the last part of Grice's utterance].

Noel Coward was perhaps the only one to take 'far' literally. In one of his
famous plays he wrote a line for Dame (as she then wasn't) Edith Evans.
I'm modifying it slightly.

v. On a clear day you can see as far as Marlowe.

Evans kept misquoting the line on rehearsals, till Sir (as he then wasn't)
Noel Coward could tolerate it no longer and snapped back:

vi. No, Edith, on a very clear day you can see as far as Marlowe and
Beaumont and Fletcher.

So, I would think that 'far' ALWAYS has this LITERAL sense, and if it's use
figuratively, that's Grice's problem! (as when he says, "as far as I can
see (not far, I think)," Idealism is wrong", for this involves a figurative
use of 'see' and therefore a figurative use of 'far'.

In McEvoy's case, 'as far as I know', compares with "for all I know". And
it is interesting that "for all I know", involving what logicians formalise
as "(x)" -- cfr. Geary, The theory of everything -- the claim may be
vacuous by disimplicature ("for all I know, to wit, nothing, I know nothing"
--
Socrates).

Geary's triumphalism may well stem that ironically, he sprinkles his claim
with a lot of tildes?

Cheers,

Speranza


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