[lit-ideas] Little Freddie Learns to Waltz -- But it's all Jazz now

  • From: Jlsperanza@xxxxxxx
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Mon, 19 Nov 2007 10:40:07 EST

>'Confessions Of A Philosopher', has a story about Ryle - although given  what
>Ryle did to Ayer [as JLS reports] perhaps this is an unreliable  story.
Yes, rereading the dialogue I reported, I think it was pretty _rude_ of  Ryle 
to suggest that his tuttee stayed in Vienna for longer than a  weekend.
At that tender age, tuttees are very influential.

I've just seen "Lions for Lambs" where Robert Redford plays a  philosophy 
tutor, and in one tutorial mentions, by passing, that it's dulce et  decorum 
patria mori. The next day, he has his tuttee enrolled in the army,  and a week 
later, killed.
I can understand that given Ayer's background (Swiss name, Ayer, etc.) he  
possibly was not very welcome in Oxford: cfr. most Anglo-Saxon surnames: Ryle,  
Austin [short for Augustinian], etc. -- they did have Isaiah BERLIN, but as  a 
Also, perhaps it was in Ayer's temperament to go to Vienna, and surely it  
wasn't an obligation that Ryle was imposing.
But that surely influenced the course of the history of philosophy in  Oxford.

Back in Oxford, Ayer was _the_ verificationist, the modern Hume, and  Austin 
and Hampshire and Berlin were delighted to have an empiricist companion  to 
discuss issues of personal identity, philosophy of mind, and philosophy of  
action with.
Grice's first papers -- in the 1930s -- were indeed of the verificationist  
fashion. His personal identity paper (Mind, published in 1941, though) is an  
attempt to reduce sentences containing "I" (his example, "I hit the ball") in  
terms of memory states. A 'reduction' of a logical level to another. His paper 
 on 'Negation' was similarly oriented. The idea that to say, "That's not 
fair!"  presupposes that one can _verify_ the statement, "That _is_ fair", etc.
The war brought empiricism and verificationism to a halt.
When they were back in 1946 (remember that Oxford closed for the duration),  
the atmosphere _had_ (Thank God) changed. 
They had _aged_ and they were the masters now, having hundreds of students  
enroled, and to whom they had to _teach_. If you think of it, "Ordinary 
Language  Philosophy" is the easiest way to teach a subject. You just talk, ask 
tuttee how he feels about a sentence, and what would he say about ..."
I do like the idea of parochialism and the idea that philosophers need not  
quote from other sources, like scientists or litterateurs. Why, if philosophy,  
as Popper thinks, has to kneel down against Science, one may just as well 
drink  the hemlock.

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