[lit-ideas] Re: Hartiana

  • From: "" <dmarc-noreply@xxxxxxxxxxxxx> (Redacted sender "Jlsperanza@xxxxxxx" for DMARC)
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Wed, 18 Mar 2015 05:15:30 -0400

In a message dated 3/17/2015 12:55:19 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time,  
omarkusto@xxxxxxxxx writes:
The implication of saying that "Hart is a good  legal philosopher" would 
depend on, among other things, the evaluation of legal  philosophy, in 
comparison to other branches of philosophy, in that particular  context. What 
it is 
almost certainly not about is some special, mystical quality  of the word 
"philosopher." 

Well, we are considering this in a different  context. The main assumption 
seems to be
 
i. Philosophy, like virtue, is entire.
 
which is the type of proposition or claim that Witters would delight in:  
problematic. And we may need to be able to re-formulate that in terms of  
'philosopher'; for one thing is 'Philosophy', and another 'philosopher':  cfr.
 
ii. Mr. Hart is a philosopher.
 
iii. Mr. Hart is Philosophy.
 
where (iii) would be in most cases hyperbolic, but not all: cfr. 
 
iv. You bought Hart?! That's Philosophy!
 
So we have the presumptuous (and loquacious) Chair of the Department of  
Philosophy uttering
 
v. Meet Mr. Hart, our man in legal philosophy.
 
It may not be what the Chair is *implying*, but what the addressee can  
*infer* would be the following disjuncts: 
 
vi. Mr. Hart is being underdescribed, and thus maligned.
 
-- for there is more to Mr. Hart than being the department's man in legal  
philosophy.
 
or
 
vii. Mr. Hart is no good at legal philosophy.
 
It is this (vii) which gets yielded, as joined by (i) -- Philosophy, like  
virtue, is entire --, the implication being that a philosopher, any 
philosopher,  _simpliciter_, should be strong at metaphysics and epistemology. 
Granted, if the  Chair were to introduce to an invited speaker EACH member of 
the 
department  as
 
viii. Meet Mr. Hart, our man in philosophy.
 
simpliciter -- he would be repetitive and perhaps less informative than is  
required (not to mention that he would on occasion be saying what he knew 
to be  false -- e.g. in the case of Anscombe).

But surely he should be able to edit the utterance to the by far more  
polite 
 
ix. Please meet Mr. Hart.
 
and let Hart self-describe in any conversation with the invited speaker  
that may ensue, should either be interested. 
 
On a positive note, then, the idea is that this is NOT dismissing legal  
philosophy as a minor branch of philosophy, but on the other hand, stressing  
that a legal philosopher should (as the case might be) strong at metaphysics 
and  epistemology (since philosophy, like virtue, is entire) and that in 
most  cases 'philosopher' simpliciter SHOULD do. Note, finally, that the  
chair's implication seems also to be, mainly, "for the purpose of teaching our  
enrolled students", too -- for even if 'our man' happens to be merely a 
research  fellow, 'our man' is supposed to be, on occasion, available to  
interested students -- unless he ain't. 
 
It's all so defeasible it almost hurts...
 
Cheers,
 
Speranza
 
 
 
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