So. I hope that there is an afterlife. If so, Tom will surely have gotten
a kick from his obit and JL's dissection of it. The obit was written by
Paul Geary -- the youngest of we 6 Geary offspring. That would make him
like 60 or so. I don't know how old JLS is, younger than I am, I venture,
but that's neither here nor there, he is still alive but each moment gets a
bit closer to Death. Why do we want to -- or is it need to?-- personify
Death? We don't personify Life, we just live it. But Death? Well, we
can't live it (I wonder what Grice would say about that?) No, Death just
comes a-knocking. Knocking on the old front door. So. So, I'm going to
let JL's dissections with all their implicatures and nuances and all of
that just slip on by and say once again: thanks for the expressions of
sympathy. Even though Tom was a computer nerd and an electrical engineer
we were still close. And we loved to argue. I'm gonna miss that. Mike
On Fri, May 27, 2016 at 7:09 PM, Redacted sender jlsperanza for DMARC <
Robin Maugham, who wrote an biography of his relation, W. S., was
delighted when Noel Coward included in one of his 'laundry list songs':
"all famous writers, in swams do it,
Somerset and all the Maughams do it
let's do it
let's fall in love." -- a rewrite of the Cole Porter classic
And he was so delighted to the point that when it came for him to title
that biography of W. S. (and his ancestry), he chose that very line,
"Somerset and all the Maughams". "It stuck with me, and I hope you won't be
offend it if I use it," he wrote to Sir Noel.
Geary once said that his surname was possibly Garyson, but we can forget
that for the time being. We will assume the surname to be Irish (it can be
Continental European -- Garihson, shortened first to "Garyh" (with a mute
final "h"), and then Gary, spelled "Geary" for euphony. Let's revise the
implicatures of a recent obituary of one of his relations:
"GEARY, THOMAS DELTA RAMBO (no relation to the fictional movie character)."
Americans like movies. Brits prefer 'films'. McEvoy would possibly say
that 'film' and 'movie' invite different implicatures ("But then, so does
"Geary goes by "J. M.", but people call him Mike. Some even call him
"Michael". Oddly, few call him "J." or "John." And yes, some call him
"Geary", or "Mister Geary".
In this case we have a case of a far more complex triadic name, "T. D.
R.", or "Thom", for short. Note that the "h" in "Thom" is, like the "h" in
"Anthony" (the Roman general in love with an Egyptian lady) is NOT
pronounced. In "Historia Augustea", it is said that even Mark Anthony
himself called his self, "Tony" (while Cleopatra called him "dahrling!").
(The 'h' in "Thomas" and "Anthony" is supposed to be a relic of Greek --
and thus wasted on the Italians -- cfr. Sant'Antonio, San Tommaso).
The obituary goes on:
"had a "Going away paty" on Saturday, May 16th, hosted by his family and
Americans who are not Bostonians tend to make scorn of the Bostonian way
of saying, "I have to park the car"; to wit, "I ha' to pa:k the ka:". Hence
"Mr. Geary passed away on January 16, 2016, after a short hospitalization.
He never liked hospitals,
and was always willing to leave.
But his departure on the 16th was a bit extreme, even for him."
Michel Foucault, a French philosopher, studied prisons and asylums, but
not hospitals. The phrase:
i. I don't like hospitals.
is a funny one in that it invites all types of implicatures, as
McEvoy, echoing Grice, would put it.
Thus, in a panel in a congress of architects considering types of
institutional designs, (i) may come up as rude (Dennett was recently
teaching us rules of polite arguing). The implicature is: "I don't like
It is different as uttered by a patient, or a nurse, or a medic, or a
paramedic. It is even different as uttered by Grice. Grice tried to stay in
his home up in the Berkeley Hills (Keeler Avenue, if you must know) the
longest he could, until he was eventually taken to the hospital. ("I don't
like hospitals," in Grice's case, possibly does not invite any implicature
-- but all the rest of the utterances he uttered did).
The fact that for Grice, "I don't like hospitals," does NOT invite an
implicature does not mean that the expression may invite implicatures as
uttered by others. It is also important to focus on the person. "I don't
like hospitals" is in the first person and it is a sort of unverifiable
self-appraisal. "He doesn't like hospitals", for Wittgenstein, has to be
verified by different techniques ("He avoids them like the rats," say).
Most people are now born in hospitals. Some hospitals have strange names.
Oddly, the fact that you were born in a hospital does not make you,
implicaturally, if literally -- FROM the place where the hospital is
situated. Thus, G. W. Bush was born in the Yale-New Haven Hospital in
Connecticut, just because Barbara was with Bush Sr. at Yale at the time
(doing things). But Bush can possibly DIS-implicate the fact that he is a
"New Havener". Or not.
Now with the proliferation of suburbia it's even more complicated: ne can
live one's whole life outside New Haven -- say Stony Creek -- even if one
was born IN New Haven. (Granted, Stony Creek is within the New Haven
COUNTY, but Counties have no real entity in political geography). It may be
different in Rome.
END OF EXCURSUS on 'hospital' implicatures.
The obituary continues:
"Geary leaves behind his team of doctors, some unfinished computer programs
, and a long list of wives (1),"
This is not the end of the sentence, but the implicature invited is:
ii. Is a one-member list a list?
McEvoy would say yes.
"List all the gods." "There is one God."
List all the capitals of Italy: "One, Rome."
iii. The list of the capitals of Italy comprises only one member: Rome.
It might be argued that ,when Lombardy was in power, Milano claimed the
title of the capital of Italy.
And when Italy was a mere (to use McEvoy's favourite adjective) set of
"republics" -- Genoa, Venezia, Pisa, and the rest -- these could all count
as having their own 'capitals' (implicature: of [what will become] Italy.
Michel Foucault studied the list of capitals of France, but arrived at no
(He never did).
The obituary goes on:
"children (2), dogs (1), son-in-laws (1), grandchildren (1), step
grandchildren (2), an enduring love of
barbecued bologna, and everyone who loved him."
It may be argued that The Chicago manual of style is wrong. The manual's
iv. "a grand blue ball" i
-- deemed correct, versus.
v. "a blue grand ball"
"Geary left a dog and a son in law" seems, to go by afore-mentioned
Chicago Manual of Style, wrong. However, Geary's implicature is that
The Chicago Manual of Style is wrong. So there.
Note that the list of things that Geary left include what grammarians call
both countable (or non-mass) nouns ("son in law" versus "legal son") and
mass nouns ('an enduring love'). However, Grice would argue that we have
here "ONE enduring love" this love IS countable. Geary could well have
left TWO enduring loves -- although perhaps not for the same object of
love: barbecued bologna. Again, Geary's implicature is that itis the
grammarians, starting with Donatus, who are wrong. One CAN leave two or
even three different types of enduring loves of barbecued bologna. Geary
just left one. The implicature being that this was perhaps sufficient.
Yet again, the point that he also left "everyone who loved him" is surely
not implicaturally inconsistent with the fact that his son in law loved
him, as he did. In this case, the repetition ("He left a on in law and
everyone who loved him") is a cancellable implicature (Compare: "I have a
house and a home."). Geary is merely abiding by Grice's maxim of not being
Now, as to the tricker implicatural distinction between what Geary also
left: 'grandchildren' and 'step grandchildren,' t may be worth recalling
that Grice had a name for this: a short-circuit implicature, later
relabelled a 'step' implicature:
vi. Cinderella complained that her stepmother hated her.
This seems to entail (Grice uses 'entailment' after Moore to mean logical
v. Cinderella complained that her mother hated her.
Since (iv) sounds harsh and unnatural, the implicature invited is that
what Grice calls a 'step' implicature is invited. Grice adds: "In not in
all languages the distinction between an X and a step-X is made, which gave
me the idea. English makes it, and Oxonian English does, too. I was once
called Strawson's step tutor!").
The obituary continues:
"Mr. Geary also enjoyed beer,"
This 'also', following the list of thing Geary left, invites some funny
implicatures. Grice noted that 'also' does NOT "entail" anything, only
vi. Man descended on the moon. Also, Africa is the natural habitat for
It may further invite the implicature that the enjoyment of beer is one
proof (in Lakatos's usage of the word) that the Gearys hails from Ireland
(or Continental Europe -- as Popper might prefer). "The enjoyment of beer
is a typical Viennese phenomenon," Popper writes in his Appendix VI to "The
logic of scientific discovery".
He also enjoyed:
"the military-industrial complex, and numbers
of all kinds, especially the kind used by the I.R.S. where he worked for a
number of years."
(The repetition of 'number' -- numbers, number -- invites a Goedelian
The implicature may have to do with this recent film about numbers: "The
man who knew infinity." G. H. Hardy (played by Jeremy Irons) starts the
film being an atheist: he sees numbers as 'mere formalisms', alla Hilbert.
Hardy ends up the film believing numbers (including 'infinity', "a very big
number, indeed") are the creation of God. (Recall: "God created natural
numbers; the rest are artificial.")
The obituary continues:
"Son, brother, student, soldier, husband, father,
grandfather, and a great lover of chocolate; he is and will always
be missed by all who knew him even if he did mumble."
The implicature of 'even' is VERY complex, but its disimplicature is not.
Note that 'even' is followed by Grice's more controversial particle, "if".
In Geary's case, the invited implicature seems clear enough.
He will be missed.