[lit-ideas] Re: Donnellaniana

  • From: "" <dmarc-noreply@xxxxxxxxxxxxx> (Redacted sender "Jlsperanza@xxxxxxx" for DMARC)
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Sun, 22 Feb 2015 08:23:08 -0500

In a message dated 2/21/2015 8:14:03 P.M. Eastern Standard Time,  
rpaul@xxxxxxxx writes:
of "[Speranza]'s account".
Further on Donnellan: he lived among good horses and fine wines.
His alma mater was College Park, Maryland, but was soon transferred to  
Cornell. MA dissertation on The Platonic theory of negation, PhD dissertation 
on  the foundations of necessary truth (in the work of C. I. Lewis). While at 
 Cornell, Grice visited and gave a seminar with the material that would  
become his implicature theory. Grice's stalking horse there was, not  
surprisingly, Malcolm! -- and of course, Strawson. During the same  semester, 
Donnellan taught logic, using two textbooks: Quine's Method of Logic  and 
Strawson's "Introduction to Logical Theory". This is interesting  because when 
Strawson wrote the 'Introduction' to his "Philosophy of  Logic" volume for G. 
Warnock's series of Oxford readings in philosophy,  he only cared to quote 
from that "Methods of Logic" _and_ Grice.
When Grice went back to Oxford, Donnellan started to criticise Strawson's  
"On referring". Not long after, Grice would credit Donnellan, but instead  
of 'referential' vs. 'attributive', Grice preferred to speak of the  
identificatory/non-identificatory distinction. Grice proposes an informal  
for this:
THE Psi is Phi -- identificatory
_the_ Psi is Phi ---- non-identificatory 
Grice had further doubts about the conclusions that Donnellan drew from the 
 existence of such distinction. Interestingly Donnellan's "Reference and 
Definite  Descriptions", like Grice's "Meaning", was submitted to "The 
Philosophical  Review". Grice's "Meaning" was submitted by Strawson (as typed 
Anne  Strawson). Donnellan's "Reference and Definite Descriptions" was 
submitted by  himself (Donnellan) in 1964, but rejected, and only published in 
-- but he  also gave 1964 as the date of the thing (Similarly Grice always 
gave 1948 as the  date of 'Meaning', since it was only in 1956 -- after 
co-authoring "In defense  of a dogma" with him (Grice) that Strawson submitted 
"Meaning" to PR -- coming  out in 1957.
Interestingly, Donnellan's MA work was on the theory of negation;  
similarly, Grice's very first essay was on negation -- with a nod to Plato, 
Donnellan's work was compiled in a volume with Oxford, along with a sort of 
 tribute, with essays by different philosophers. Donnellan's compilation 
manages  to quote Grice three times. The references are to "Putting Humpty 
Dumpty  together again". So, we can say that his account of implicature theory 
was  _first hand_ (dating from the Grice Cornell seminar).
Both Grice and Donnellan lived in 'northern' California, as we may call it. 
 And both have both first and middle interesting names: Herbert Paul Grice 
(but  he preferred to go by H. Paul Grice -- the "Herbert" he inherited from 
his  father), and Keith Sedgwick Donnellan. (Grice's mother's maiden: 
[Mabel] Fulton;  Donnellan's mother's maiden name: [Louise] Nucholls). One 
from the heart  of England (so-called); the other from Washington, DC. Both 
have solid  philosophical intuitions and an eye for examples. 
Both Grice and Donnellan smoked -- as someone said, it seemed to have been  
almost mandatory to make "Philosophers smoke" a necessary truth alla C. I. 
Lewis  (on whom Donnellan wrote his PhD dissertation).
When a colloquium was organised for Donnellan after he had retired, and to  
which he drove from his paradise of good horses and fine wines, he was 
surprised  that the 'audience' was using high-tech terminology (like 'rigid 
designation' --  vide Donnellan's polemic with Kripke), while he remained 
faithful to ordinary  usage, much alla Grice!
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