[lit-ideas] Re: Grice Memorial Lecture

  • From: Jlsperanza@xxxxxxx
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Tue, 15 Oct 2013 10:08:06 -0400 (EDT)

We are discussing the Grice Memorial lecture.


A similar  lecture, to honour a different philosopher, of a different 
nationality  (originally -- he later became a Brit -- oddly, as Grice became an 
American) --,  as in a message dated 10/15/2013 3:52:24 A.M. Eastern Daylight 
Time,  donalmcevoyuk@xxxxxxxxxxx writes --, includes this tidbit (or 
titbit, as the  Brits would spell it):

"Yet the cunning of uncertainty is at  work
underneath these forays into managing complexity."

McEvoy  ventures that the above:

>Sounds Hegelian to me. 

(indeed, cfr. 'the cunning of reason'). McEvoy goes further than merely  
nothing whether it _sounds_ Hegelian, and offers the reason for this  sound:

>Perhaps this is part of John Worral's 
>Lakatos-inspired campaign to destroy Popper's 
>philosophy by subverting it from within?
The answer to this should be in Wiki.
As per below. 

In what follows I attempt a comparison of the life and times of H. P. Grice 
 (an Oxford philosopher) and John Worrall, chair to the memorial lecture to 
 another philosopher).
John Worrall was born 27 November 1946 in Leigh, Lancashire, UK.
Grice, on the other hand, was born south of Lancashire, though he taught in 
 Lancashire for a year -- he taught Greek and Latin to sixth-formers -- at  
Rossall. The place to learn Greek and Latin in the beautiful Lancashire  
countryside, they say.
Worrall is a professor of philosophy of science at the London School of  
Grice was professor of philosophy (emeritus) at the UC/Berkeley. He never  
attained the status of a professor at Oxford: merely 'university lecture'. 
Grice  would say that the implicature of "philosophy of X" (as in 'philosophy 
of  science) is counter-disimplicated on various occasions.
His example:

"Mr. Puddle is our man in nineteenth-century German  aesthetics" -- tends 
to implicate, Grice says, that Puddle is no good _even_ at  
nineteenth-century German aesthetics". "Philosophy, like virtue, is entire".  
That philosophy 
is entire need a specific application. Think Socrates.
Socrates is a philosopher.
Philosophy is entire
Therefore, Socrates is entire.
The idea that only a _part_ of Socrates is "philosophical" (cfr. Geary,  
review of Farrington, "Hand and Brain in Ancient Greece") is either otiose or  
stupid ("or both", as Geary otiosely adds).
Note that while 'philosophy of science' makes sense, 'science of  
philosophy' does not. Cfr. "love of God", "God of love". (Speranza, ""x of y":  
Worrall is also associated with the Centre for Philosophy of Natural  and 
Social Science at the same institution, LSE.
Which is a beautiful institution. Grice divided all English institution  
into two types: old-stone wall (which he abbreviated, "Oxbridge") and the rest 
 -- 'redbrick'. Oddly, this dichotomy is not too valid in that Durham is 
not  Oxbridge yet stone-walled, and part of the campus of "London University"  
(Bentham's idea) is stony, too.
Worrall is perhaps best known for resurrecting the theory of  structural 
realism in the philosophy of science, a view previously associated  with Henri 
---- The idea of 'resurrection', as Geary notes, is 'controversial', and  
ultimately what Geary calls 'theological'. "It is different if Worrall is  
resurrecting Henri Poincaré."
Worrall has published widely in journals and anthologies, edited Imre  
Lakatos's collected works, and a recent volume on The Ontology of Science. He  
was editor-in-chief of the British Journal for the Philosophy of Science from 
 1974 to 1983.
He is one of the best philosophers of science 'we' (as Geary says) 'have'  
(as Geary says).
He is referred to in the Stanford Encyclopedia entry for 'structural  
Worrall's publications include:

Why Science Discredits Religion in M. Peterson and R. Vanarragon (eds)  
Contemporary Debates in Philosophy of Religion. Blackwell, 2004

Normal Science and Dogmatism, Paradigms and Progress: Kuhn versus Popper  
and Lakatos in T. Nickles (ed): Thomas Kuhn. Cambridge University Press,  2003

What Evidence in Evidence-Based Medicine, Philosophy of Science, September  
2002 (with E. Scerri)

Prediction and the periodic table, Studies in the History and Philosophy of 
 Science Vol 32/3, 2001;

Kuhn, Bayes and "Theory-Choice": How Revolutionary is Kuhn's Account of  
Theoretical Change? in R. Nola and H. Sankey (eds): After Popper, Kuhn and  
Feyerabend: Recent Issues in Theories of Scientific Method, 2000;

The Scope, Limits and Distinctiveness of the Method of "Deduction from the  
Phenomena": Some Lessons from Newton's "Demonstrations" in Optics, The 
British  Journal for the Philosophy of Science, 2000;

Two Cheers for Naturalised Philosophy of Science, Science and Education,  
July 1999;

Structural Realism: the Best of Both Worlds in D. Papineau (ed) The  
Philosophy of Science (Oxford 1996).

Routledge Encyclopaedia of Philosophy (Subject Editor for Philosophy of  
Science), (Routledge, 1998)

Philosophy and Natural Science in A C Grayling (Ed.), Philosophy 2. Further 
 through the subject (Oxford University Press, 1998)

Revolution in Permanence": Karl Popper on theory-change in science, Karl  
Popper: Problems and Philosophy (CUP, 1995)

The Ontology of Science, ed (Dartmouth Publishing Co, 1994)
While McEvoy finds the adage:
"yet the cunning of uncertainty is at work
underneath these forays into  managing complexity"
-- it sounds better in Latin -- it shouldn't.
Once, Grice attended a lecture by Hampshire and Hart, entitled, "Intention  
and Certainty". He was so offended by what he heard (although he loved both 
men)  that when the British Academy made Grice a member he went to 
Cumberland  House with a draft of an essay that came out as
"Henriette Herz Trust"
"Annual Philosophical Lecture"
"Intention and UNcertainty".
Grice thinks that the idea of 'uncertainty' is basic. The idea of  
certainty, o.t.o.h., is Cartesian. But Grice distinguishes between
objective certainty: It is certain that it is hot.
subjective certainty:
"I'm certain that it is hot".
Mutatis mutandis for 'uncertainty'.
"Uncertainty is the negation of certainty" -- in symbols, with "K" for  
'know' or 'certain') we use ~K.
"It may be argued that one can be certain of something that is not the  
case, and thus that one does not strictly knows". McEvoy agrees. He uses the  
colloquial phrase, "for all I know" as a proof that what one knows other can 
be  uncertain of.
Cfr. "As far as I know", "so far as I know".
While it makes sense to replace 'certain' here ("as far as I'm certain",  
"so far as I'm certain"), the briefer idioms, "as far as I'm uncertain", "so 
far  as I'm uncertain") 'trigger an unwanted implicature' that linguist L. 
R. Horn  calls "squative" -- to the effect that the utterer knows _diddly_. 
Or not.
Cunning is best applied to people -- not to certainty, uncertainty, or  
reason. When Hegel speaks, in a manner to repudiate the neo-Kantians amongst 
him  -- of 'the cunning of reason' -- he is indeed sounding Hegelian. But 
then,  unlike Lakatos, Hegel couldn't HELP but sounding Hegelian.
Or not.
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