[lit-ideas] Re: Grice on the alethic

  • From: Jlsperanza@xxxxxxx
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Mon, 11 Jun 2012 21:37:27 -0400 (EDT)

McEvoy is right that Aristotle held a  correspondence-theory of truth, and 
that a theory of knowledge is not a theory  of truth (although McEvoy does 
not use the Greek word for 'knowledge').  Similarly, Palma notes that a 
theorem is not perhaps the right word.  

Grice supersedes Tarski.

In WoW, "Logic and Conversation", II,  section, "Truth", Grice supersedes 
Tarski via Strawson. Note that Tarski was  insensitive to English (or Polish, 
for that matter) use, and speaks of  'sentences' (or Polish equivalents). 
Whereas, for Grice, Strawson, Speranza,  etc., is it UTTERANCES which are 

Grice notes that Ramsey is right  in thinking 'true' as redundant:

"He believed that it was  raining"

is certainly equivalent to

"He believed that it was true  that it was raining". Therefore, we don't 
need a 'truth' predicate. Instead,  Grice proposes to replace, 'true', by 
"factually satisfactory" ("The point of  the manoeuvre is to apply 
'satisfactoriness' to other utterances like "Close the  door!").

Grice writes:

"There is a class of utterances, call it K  -- utterances of affirmative 
subject-predicate sentences -- such that every  member of K (1) DESIGNATES 
(*this verb to be explained within the theory) some  item and INDICATES (* 
again, this verb to be explained within the theory) some  class."

"Now, any member of K will be FACTUALLY SATISFACTORY iff the item  BELONGS 
to the class."

In this respect, Grice goes on:

"To say  that it is TRUE that Smith is happy is equivalent to saying that 
any UTTERANCE  of class K which designates Smith and indicates the class of 
happy people is  FACTUALLY SATISFACTORY (that is, any utterance which assigns 
Smith to the class  of happy people is factually satisfactory). 

Grice's scheme, which is  superior to Tarski's, allows to deal with 
Strawson's counterexample (unlike  Tarski's). 

"In my account," Grice goes on, "it is very easy to deal with  the 
linguistic facts noted by Strawson [but ignored by Tarski -- the  
perfomative/concessive nature of 'it is true that' --]. To say that Smith is  
happy is NOT to 
make a concealed reference to utterances of a certain sort,  whereas to say 
that it is TRUE that Smith is happy is to do just that (though of  course if 
Smith is happy, it is true that Smith is happy)."

The reason is  obvious and explained via disimplicature:

"If I choose the form which  DOES make a concealed reference to utterances, 
and which is also the MORE  COMPLEX form, in preference to the simpler form 
[_sans_ 'true'] it is NATURAL to  suppose that I do so because an utterance 
to the effect that Smith is happy has  been made (by myself or someone else 
-- it wouldn't matter), or _might_ be so  made."

"Such speech acts as endorsing, agreeing, confirming, and  conceding, which 
Strawson notes are conventionally signalled by the use of the  predicate 
'true' are just those which, in saying in response to some remark,  "That's 
true", one would be performing (without any special  signal)."

"And supposing  no one actually to have said that Smith is  happy, if I 
say, "It is true that Smith is happy" (e.g. concessively) I shall  IMPLICATE 
[or disimplicate, as the occasion may be] that SOMEONE might say so;  and I do 
NOT select this obtuse form of words as, for example, a response to an  
inquiry whether Smith is happy when I do NOT wish this implicature to be  

Re-reading Tarski's Polish essay (provided you read Polish) in  the light 
of Grice's clarifications helps, because Tarski never makes a point  about 
the convoluted form:

"It is true that snow is white".


--- But then perhaps Polish is not what Grice calls an "alethic"  language 
-- i.e. truth may be less otiose in Polish than in, say, English -- or  



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