[lit-ideas] Re: Cardinals and the Legacy of H. P. Grice

  • From: Jlsperanza@xxxxxxx
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Sun, 14 Jun 2009 07:59:33 EDT

In a message dated 6/14/2009 2:19:39 A.M. Eastern Daylight Time,  
karltrogge@xxxxxxxx writes:
On 14-Jun-09, at 4:36 AM, Jlsperanza@xxxxxxx  quoted from Rick Nouwen's  
review of Bert Bultinck's NUMEROUS  MEANINGS:
> Bultinck argues convincingly that it is a mistake to search  for  
> 'the' meaning of English  cardinals.
How does this  relate to what Wittgenstein was telling us 50+ years  
ago? Where does  Wittgenstein sit in Grice's provenance?

Well, I think Bultinck _is_ confused. The reason:
   * He wrote his thesis for Univ. of Amsterdam IN  ENGLISH!

Obviously, nobody was able to correct it! Ditto for Nouwen's  review! Bad 
Bad Bad English -- I love them both, though.
"Meaning" For Grice is a _verb_; hence talk of "'the' meaning" is WRONG  
Never mind Witters unless you quote him SPECIFICALLY.

The issue here is say, 'balls'.
I have two balls (testicles).
If I say, "My ball itches".

Is the 'implication' (for R. Paul will deny 'implicature' unless he  won't) 
"I only have one ball"?
Surely not. Barbara Abbott said otherwise, but as a female she can't  count.
If a person has three balls (by genetic permutation), the person _has_ two  
If a person likes women and men, the person is gay, lesbian, and  straight.
Language (or the English language is like that) -- hardly logical.

Hence the need for Grice.
R. Paul informs us,
"Joan Rivers is 72 years old" -- i.e. she has lived 72 years.
Surely that means she has lived 23 years.
Therefore, she _has_ 23 years to her credit, and a couple more.
The Henry VIII thing was from the BBC variant of Jeopardy, reported in  
Stubbs, _Discourse analysis_?
      "Henry VIII had five wives"
         True or false?
        "False," said the idiot
       BUZZZZ ---- Wrong: It's _true_; he had  six wives.
People sometimes talk before they speak.
So cardinality _has_ the Gricean meaning it has, but
via implicature
    -- be as informative as is required
             (a  cancellable maxim that it's not LEGAL to follow)
people read (more than they need) between the lines.
And the meaning 'exactly' --- ''exactly two balls, no more no less" -- is  
attached to 'two'.
Grice was well aware when he talks about 
(Ex)   for the correlate of "some".
Surely in logic, "Some mountains are as high as the Everest".
-- is true. For the Everest is as high as the Everest.
So, 'some' does not need plurality, logic, and "Ex" is read, "at least  one"
The minim level, "at least ..." and the maxim, "at most" are implicatural  
-- and they 'attach' the cardinal
            I want  three icecreams
I want  AT LEAST & at most 3 icecreams.
If the person wants three icecreams, he wants _two_ icecreams, and possibly 
 four if they are tasty enough.
The best case is with Puerto-Ricans:
Suppose there is a pension that applies provided only for bearers of 4  
   "I have four children"
is correct and she'll get the pension; never mind she has 14 other 'kids'  
and on the Island, too!
The scale at work here (and Urmson discussed them in "Parentheticals")  is

For any ordered n-tuple of the form
<n+1, n, ... 5, 4, 3, 2, 1>
there is an implicature that the choice of any item in the ordered set will 
 IMPLICATE (but not entail) the negation of the precedent item:

4 +> ~5
(I have four eyes)  --- It is not the case I have five eyes.
On the other hand, it is ENTAILMENT for the item postceding:
I have 4 eyes ---> I have 3 eyes.
           .   .       3x
Quine considered this in "Methods of Logic" -- he thought (Ex) was too  
vague, and proposed a 'numerical quantifier': (ix) there is one god, (2x) I 
have  two testicles, (3x) The holy trinity, (x4) the angles of a square, (x5) 
the  sides of a pentagon, (x6) the highest number on a dice, 
Cheers, (x7) the dwarves that made love to Snowwhite, ... etc. He goes on  
to (12x) the apostles that believed Christ's rambling that last dinner.
J. L. Speranza
   Buenos Aires, Argentina
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