[lit-ideas] Re: Can a lawyer be a conceptual analyst?

  • From: "" <dmarc-noreply@xxxxxxxxxxxxx> (Redacted sender "Jlsperanza" for DMARC)
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Tue, 3 Nov 2015 08:03:42 -0500

In a message dated 11/3/2015 3:42:52 A.M. Eastern Standard Time,
donalmcevoyuk@xxxxxxxxxxx writes:
"[I am] proposing a 'problem-solving approach' [to legal reasoning] that,
as with turtles mentioned by Walter, goes all the way down. So that
'language-acquisition' is a product of problem-solving and not 'conceptual
analysis'. Rudy says to Donal

i. I'm very proud of you.

when Donal buys Rudy some sweets but not because Rudy has used any
conceptual analysis - he has a W2 grasp of adults being pleased with him when

ii. I'm very proud of you, Rudy.

and with this grasp misapplies the phrase to express his own 'being
pleased'. At some point he will realise there is a *problem* with this in that
the sense [or way -- Speranza] of 'being proud of' differs from 'being
pleased with', and he will correct and adjust. The same goes for his grasp of
irregular verbs so that

iii. I is.

gets corrected over time to

iv. I am.

It's a very complex interaction between W123 that accounts for language and
its development, not "conceptual analysis"".

-- I should have to re-read W. O.'s contribution. But surely a
conceptual-analytic aproach to this can be offered. The

v. pleasure/pride

distinction is one that pertains to conceptual analysis, and when Rudy
finds there's a problem the solution will come after he realises of this
conceptual distinction. This is of course not the only alternative (Geary says:

"Otiosely: alternatives are always TWO").

Grice mentions that he knew a little girl whose French 'sucked'. He noted
that this little girl used an expression which meant something roughly
translatable as "Bergson's philosophy of time is incomensurable" to mean, "Help

yourself a piece of cake".

Knowing this, Grice used the French for "Bergson's philosophy of time is
inconmensurable" when HE wanted the little girl to 'help herself with a piece
of cake':


HE knew that the little girl had an alleged little problem there -- but
surely HE didn't want to hurt her feelings.

Chomsky and Grice debated for YEARS about language acquisition. The result
was in the John Locke lectures Chomsky gave at Oxford, where he insulted
Grice by calling him a behaviourist (It's in his "Reflections of Language").

Griceian author Patrick Suppes was so irritated with this that he
dedicated his contribution to P. G. R. I. C. E. -- the Grice festschrift,
Philosophical Grounds of Rationality: Intentions, Categories, Ends -- to deal
this, concluding that Grice is an 'intentionalist', barely or hardly a

But Rudy's utterances as reported by McEvoy are charming.


vi. is/am

distinction also belongs in conceptual analysis, but involves what Perry,
in P. G. R. I. C. E. calls the essential 'indexical':


iv. I am.


vii. He is.

is deictic. Logicians cannot easily formalise that, so it's just natural
that Rudy would not care much about conjugation. The logical form is complex.
Suppose what is at stake is:

viii. A: Who is in the room?
R: I is.

ix. Who is in the room?
R: I am, dummie!

--- I mention this because "I am", unless used by Descartes ("I think;
therefore I am") is usually followed by something else ("I am in the room").
Now the formalisation of

x. He is in the room.


xi. I am in the room.

is NOT something Whitehead's and Russell's Principia Mathematica even or
barely or hardly touch in their "Principia Mathematica" and it's no wonder
that Rudy should therefore not be too concerned about this.

The idea is that there is an alternative to the alleged 'problem', and that
McEvoy's 'solution' is one among the two.

This reminds me of a cartoon in Palmer's Grammar, "Remember," one caveman
says to his wife, "when all we had to care about was nouns and verbs?" (For
surely there is an isomorphism between language acquisition in the
phylogenesis and the ontogenesis).

And if/when Rudy goes to Oxford he'll note that most problems and solutions
-- as he becomes a lawyer or a philosopher -- end up being matters of what
he'll then refer to as "Griceian disimplicatures -- with a vengeance."

Omar K's Shapiro reference VERY interesting and so true that it brought
tears to my right eye!



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