[lit-ideas] Re: Logical Corpuscularism

  • From: Donal McEvoy <donalmcevoyuk@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: "lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx" <lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 16 Sep 2015 09:27:34 +0000 (UTC)

[Once again resending from days ago as this appears not to have got through in
its thread]
JLS writes many things that unwittingly corroborate my conjecture that there is
no proper justification for Pears writing without any reference to Popper.
These things also corroborate my explanation that Pears is being 'true to type'
and that there are not valid intellectual reasons for such an attenuated
discussion (for example, JLS indicates that Pears would have been under the
sway of Mill's attenuated view that we can "observe" 'mathematical facts' in an
empiricist way).

It also becomes clear that some form of induction may be involved to shore up
Pears' claim that we might, on one view, "observe" the truth of Goldbach's
conjecture. This was perhaps clear enough already, as even if we could
"observe" an even number, we cannot "observe" every even number in an infinite
sequence, and Goldbach's conjecture covers every even number: and moving from a
finite sample to a generalization, about 'every' in a larger sample, raises
issues of "induction". (JLS notably posts: "The upshot of the above discussion,
albeit based on a single case study, is that mathematicians ought not to—and in
general do not—give weight to enumerative induction per se in the justification
of mathematical claims.")
JLS interprets Pears as assuming Mill's view that we can "observe"
'mathematical facts' as representing the empiricist view of mathematics. Mill
is referred to by Pears, along with Hume, yet neither Mill's nor Hume's view is
properly explained, never mind clearly defended, by Pears. It remains dubious
that "observe" be deployed here by Pears without explanation - as if we can
"observe" to check 'mathematical facts' in the same way/sense that we can
"observe" to check 'scientific facts' [and to allow the term "observe" to be
deployed as if always a synonym might be where 'the decisive move in the
conjuring trick' is made]. If we can, that would seem to collapse mathematics
into an empirical science with attendant contingency; but it would also seem to
imply we search for mathematical truth by looking in the 'empirical world' and
by 'empirical testing' a la physics - yet looking in the 'empirical world' we
may observe that mathematicians _do not_ proceed by 'empirical testing' a la
physics [where the hell are their labs?].

On these key issues of "induction" and what it is to "observe" [e.g. the "role
of observation" in testing] Popper is a philosophy of preeminent importance
but, no, not a mention. Easier to bring in Kripke and Putnam even though they
have very little of worth to say that overturns traditional "empiricism"
[Locke, Hume] for more critical and accurate view of "empiricism" [Popper] and
even though a crux in the evaluation of Russell's "Logical Atomism" must be the
form of "empiricism" which with it is, in Russell's case, inextricably linked.

But I should be grateful that JLS has widened out the scope of the issues
involved in a way that makes clearer how indefensible is the exclusion of
Popper from Pears' narrow Oxbridge-focused discussion.


On Wednesday, 16 September 2015, 8:23, Adriano Palma <Palma@xxxxxxxxxx>

Grice changed his mind when he met speranza

-----Original Message-----
From: lit-ideas-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx [mailto:lit-ideas-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx] On
Behalf Of dmarc-noreply@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Sent: 16 September 2015 03:50
To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: [lit-ideas] Re: Logical Corpuscularism

"At Cambridge I read Kant and Hegel, as well as Mr. Bradley's Logic, which
influenced me profoundly. For some years I was a disciple of Mr. Bradley, but 
about 1898 I changed my views."

One wonders if such changes were common in Oxonian types. Apparently Grice
never changed his mind in major topics!

Curiously, Grice quotes from Bradley (who was elected to a fellowship at
Oxford's Merton in 1878 where he remained until his death, well after Russell 
published his "Logical Atomism" lectures) once in WoW (Way of Words):

"So far as I know no philosopher since the demise of the influence of Bradley
has been in the least inclined to deny this."

So perhaps it was good that Russell changed his views.

I was surprised that Russell would use 'disciple' like that, since Russell was
not known by Bradley -- let alone before 1898. I would have used 'follower'.

In any case, Bradley was an anti-corpuscularian.



To change your Lit-Ideas settings (subscribe/unsub, vacation on/off, digest
on/off), visit www.andreas.com/faq-lit-ideas.html

To change your Lit-Ideas settings (subscribe/unsub, vacation on/off,
digest on/off), visit www.andreas.com/faq-lit-ideas.html

Other related posts: