Not long ago -- in fact, I recall it distinctly, it was about the time when the
Thai king died -- McEvoy was referring (or implicating) that while THAT was
trending, someone won the Nobel Prize for Literature.
if Dylan went to Oxford.>
Possible implicature: _I am_ considering etc..
Student of declension of verbs, upwards and downwards, and of implicature
Actually, to judge by today's NYT, someone else is. The piece is disappointing
in that it is written by a scientist, I think (a charmer, still), not a
philosopher. And it disappoints on a second point, too: it misquotes Dylan's
utterance, out of which the implicature is invited:
i. I will be in Stockholm if I can.
If I recall correctly, since Dylan KNEW this interviewer for the TELEGRAPH, he
felt playful, and he's actually utterance was more hyperbolic, eneigmatic [sic]
and Griceian, along the lines:
ii. Yes, absolutely I shall be in Stockholm -- if that is at all possible, of
Dylan may be making an indirect reference to the philosopher S. A. Kripke who
has analysed different types of 'possibilities', and stuff. Now, today's NYT
"When I first heard that Bob Dylan had won the Nobel Prize in Literature, I was
immediately jealous of the scientists who had won this year. Not because they
were now rich and had gained scientific immortality, but because they would get
to meet the legendary troubadour himself at the festivities in Stockholm. Well,
it's now a definite "maybe". After two weeks of radio silence that infuriated
the Swedish Academy, on Friday Mr. Dylan told an interviewer for The Telegraph
that he would show up for the award ceremonies in Stockholm on Dec. 10 “If I
But surely there is a difference between
iii. If I can.
which, with the proper adjustements, can be, alla Witters, applies to ANY state
of affairs ("The world is all that is the case," "i.e. it does not include
everything that never happened, or never happens, or never will happen.")
Dylan's being in Stockholm is yet NOT the case, hence his genial, "Absolutely,
if that it's all all possible". Not the inane "If I can".
The Dylan utterance triggers then the right implicature. When Grice wrote
"Intention and Uncertainty" to refute Hart/Hampshire, "Intention and
certainty," he found out that Davidson and Peacocke and Pears were against him.
Was Grice postulating that, as a matter of ENTAILMENT, if we have:
iv. Dylan intends to be in Stockholm to receive the Nobel Prize.
we also have:
v. Dylan believes that there is a probability p > 0.5 that he WILL be in
Stockholm to receive the Nobel Prize.
So, Dylan manages, in one single utterance to quote from Hampshire ("Intention
and uncertainty") -- "absolutely" -- with his final Griceian stand -- "if that
is at all possible." For Grice, in fact, it is a matter of entailment, such
v. I intend to be in Stockholm, but I don't believe that that is possible.
is a contradiction ('analytically false a priori'). Dylan's emphatic, "at all"
"if that is AT ALL possible" invites a FURTHER implicature, to the effect that
the logic to be dealt with here is quantificational, since 'all' is the
Griceian quantifier _par excellence_, and _not_ "every", as "every" schoolboy
For Popper, it is possibly an item in W3 that Dylan IS in Stockholm receiving
the prize. But that does not preclude Popper for denying 'knowledge' conditions
to a mere assertion of intention.