[lit-ideas] Re: Language, Justice and Social Practices (long)

  • From: Walter Okshevsky <wokshevs@xxxxxx>
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Thu, 29 Sep 2005 10:38:05 -0230 (NDT)

On Tue, 27 Sep 2005, Phil Enns wrote:

> Call them variations if you like, but they are still instances of the game
> of chess.  It seems that you want to distinguish between variations and the
> 'true' game of chess.  I would like to know how such a distinction, if in
> fact you are making this distinction, is made without reference to something
> other than the game itself.
> snip
> I am objecting to the idea that there is a concept that is named by the word
> 'pawn' and gives that name its meaning.

W: I'm bringing these two claims together because they're clearly related
and also very interesting. Let me shift to a game we all know something
about: the game of giving reasons. I think giving reasons is best thought
of as a practice (governed by criteria as Robert correctly corrected me
on) - but for the time being let's say it's also a concept. In teaching
someone what's involved in giving reasons, we can say that we're teaching
the concept of giving reasons. To have the concept, to be able to engage
in the practice, is to be able to do a variety of different things. Eg:
one knows that "Because I couldn't possibly be able to live in such a
conspiratorial world" is not a reason for believing that there was not a
multinational conspiracy to kill JFK.. The fact that there are people and
cultures who don't differentiate between, say, providing somebody with a
motive to believe or act, and giving or offering them reasons to believe
or act is empirically interesting (perhaps) but is not relevant to an
identification of the presuppositions of (cogent, coherent) reason giving.
The latter we can say is part of the concept of giving reasons. We need
some name or another for it, as Phil has repeatedly said. On this we
agree. Where we seem to disagree is on the relevance of empirical
"variations" to the practice of giving reasons to the concept or practice
of giving reasons itself. I don't see any necessary relation there. Nor
does Eric given what his position on the character of chess has been over
the past days and if my reading of the application of that position to
this new matter is valid.

I do believe I am starting another kerfuffle (sp?) and am willing to be
shamed again.

Walter Okshevsky
Reasons For All Occasions Ltd.
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