[lit-ideas] Re: Berkeleyiana

  • From: "" <dmarc-noreply@xxxxxxxxxxxxx> (Redacted sender "Jlsperanza" for DMARC)
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Fri, 25 Sep 2015 07:21:14 -0400

Suppose Bishop Berkeley had qualified his famous ('infamous'?) dictum:

"Esse est percipi"

with the colloquial phrase by Geary that appeased L. J. Helm:

"Esse est percipi, as far as I'm concerned anyway."

It that a claim to knowledge? What type of knowledge? What kind of
'concern' is involved? Is the degree of concern SPECIFIED in the
quasi-comparative
"as far as"? Would we rely on 'tacit knowledge'? These are serious
questions, even if, as far as we recall, Witters UTTERLY ignored them ("one by
one," as P. M. S. Hacker would say)

In a message dated 9/25/2015 2:43:30 A.M. Eastern Daylight Time,
donalmcevoyuk@xxxxxxxxxxx writes:
It may be tacit knowledge here, but bears emphasis given the way some may
think the first-person present tense use of "know" is exclusively a JTB
sense (perhaps due to a reading or misreading of remarks by Wittgenstein):
with 'afaik' we have a first person present tense use of "know" that chimes
with "know" being used as per conjectural knowledge rather than knowledge as
JTB. (Perhaps Wittgenstein and others were unaware of the expression
'afaik'?) It might be interesting to know what philosophers gave any attention
to
the expression 'afaik', especially as a potential counter-example to
claims that the sense of "know" (particularly in its first person present
tense
form) is always a JTB sense.

Well, I would combine this interesting comment by McEvoy to his previous
one:

"As with children, we often use the terms "know" and "knowledge" without
clearly knowing what epistemologically is involved by this use - afaik."

I take the above to mean:

i. Children use terms like 'know' without clearly knowing what is involved
by its use.

Let's specify.

ii. Little Tom said, "I know", but surely he hasn't read Gettier.

Now McEvoy refers to 'tacit' and indeed, the keyword: TACIT filled the
pages of "Mind" for some time with people like M. K. Davies chiming in. So
let's see if we can recover some of the references:

The reference seems to be:

Davies, M. K. Tacit knowledge and semantic theory: Can a five percent
difference matter? ... Martin Davies ยท Mind 96.

And it may be worth re-considering.

We are comparing ii to McEvoy's use of 'afaik' in the second quote:
"afaik", i.e. as far as he knows, "[a]s with children, we often use the terms
"know" and "knowledge" without clearly knowing what epistemologically is
involved by this use."

And now:

"It may be tacit knowledge here, but bears emphasis given the way some may
think the first-person present tense use of "know" is exclusively a JTB
sense (perhaps due to a reading or misreading of remarks by Wittgenstein):
with 'afaik' we have a first person present tense use of "know" that chimes
with "know" being used as per conjectural knowledge rather than knowledge as
JTB. (Perhaps Wittgenstein and others were unaware of the expression
'afaik'?)"

That _might_ be, I call Andreas Kemmerling the greatest German Griceian
that ever existed and I won't doubt that he'll find the corresponding German
expression for 'afaik'. (He met with Grice at Bielefeld, would stay with
Grice at Berkeley, and wrote Grice's obituary for Erknenntnis -- emphasising
Grice's sense of humour).

It would seem that 'afaik' CAN be easily translated to German; and, a
fortiori, to Witters's Austrian.

McEvoy concludes the post:

"It might be interesting to know what philosophers gave any attention to
the expression 'afaik', especially as a potential counter-example to claims
that the sense of "know" (particularly in its first person present tense
form) is always a JTB sense."

Well, and then there's Geary. As Helm notes, when he first read Geary's
proclamation of Berkeleyianism:

iii. Esse est percipi.

Helm added that he did not find that as 'idealist' as he would otherwise
have, because Geary qualified this with

iv. Esse est percipi, as far as I'm concerned anyway.

So, there seems to be a sort of expression that use 'afa', i.e. 'as far
as'. It is a comparative. Therefore, it falls within the implicatures of
comparatives which as J. D. Atlas (also, like M. K. Davies, of Oxford,
sometime)
are a trick.

(iv), like 'afaik', does not STATE any measure of 'concern', or
'knowledge', but mainly compares 'as far as'.

"As far as" sometimes, since McEvoy mentions this, is NOT followed by the
first person. Note that we can report McEvoy's claim:

v. Afaik, it's raining in Peru, Indiana -- McEvoy.

vi. As far as McEvoy knows, it's raining in Peru, Indiana.

So I don't think the use of the FIRST person is crucial. Although perhaps
the use of 'as far as' constructions with 'you' are rare, but cf.

vii. As far as YOU should be concerned, Geary's use of "as far as I am
concerned anyways" hardly defeats his Berkeleyanism.

When I say the 'a.f.a. is a comparative that, with Atlas, bears a complex
analysis, the point is that Geary is not making explicit how concerned he
is, and thus, truth-conditionally, alla Tarski, cannot be taken as a
statement of the form:

viii. I am very concerned, and esse est percipi.

Similarly,

ix. Afaik, it's raining in Peru, Indiana (*)

is hardly equivalent to

x. I know it's raining in Peru, Indiana.

If an implicature is involved, so would a cancellation of it:

xi. As far as I know, it is raining in Peru, Indiana, but surely I might be
mistaken.

The whole point seems to be conditional in nature, and involving the horse
shoe โŠƒ

Thus.

xii. As far as I am concerned, anyway, esse est percipi.

being equivalent to the hypothetical:

xiii. (If I am concerned) โŠƒ (esse = percipi).

Similarly, for McEvoy's hypothetical (ix)

xiv: (I know it's raining in Peru, Indiana) โŠƒ (It's raining in Peru,
Indiana).

Cheers,

Speranza

* According to

http://www.cityofperu.org/

McEvoy couldn't KNOW this since today it is sunny in Peru** with a nice
temperature of 56 F.

http://www.wunderground.com/US/IN/Peru.html?bannertypeclick=big2

goes more specific:

"0% Chance of Precip."

** A recent exhibit for a Porter celebration was entitled, "From Peru to
Paree," where are Palma might testify, the chances of precip. are ALWAYS
other.


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