In a message dated 9/16/2015 5:27:43 A.M. Eastern Daylight Time,
donalmcevoyuk@xxxxxxxxxxx refers to "Pears' narrow Oxbridge-focused
Pears must have been influenced by Grice.
After all the barbarities that Russell said against Strawson (Grice's
tutee), Grice still thought that Russell was right about that example Russell
uses in "The Philosophy of Logical Atomism".
i. The king of France is not bald.
An example that no doubt Russell took from the Hegelians only to later pour
scorn of them ("For the Hegelians, who like a synthesis, the king of
France must wear a wig.") for it was Bradley who, with better taste, did not
mention the Republic of France, but Utopia.
ii. The king of Utopia did not die on Tuesday.
This, Bradley says, "may be safely contradicted, and yet the denial must
remain ambiguous. The
ground may be that there is no such place, or it never had a king, or he
is still living, or though he _is_ dead, he died on Monday."
In "The Philosophy of Logical Atomism", Russell wants, like Grice, to
analyse "the" corpuscularly: it is not a PRIMITIVE 'logical' atom, and the iota
operator (used by Whitehead and Russell, from Peano) can be defined in
terms of the universal quantifier and the 'identity' symbol, which is itself
not a primitive but definable in smaller 'logical' atoms in virtue of
iii. There is such a person as the King of France and that person is not
Grice liked that. In spite of what Russell said against Strawson in "Mr.
Strawson on denoting", Grice thinks that a "Russellian" approach to 'the'
solves the issue introduced by Strawson when he brought (influenced by Quine)
that monstrosity of the truth-value gap into the picture.
In "Definite descriptions in Russell and in the vernacular", Grice takes
Strawson to be speaking the vernacular (as he is) while Russell to be
speaking, typically, Russellian.
Both Russell and Strawson are of course, wrong, but the Grice is right,
for what Russell sees as entailment is a mere implicature. For this, Grice
uses square parentheses, where (iii), as used by Russell in "The Philosophy of
Logical Atomism" becomes:
iv. [There is such a person as the King of France and] that person is not
i.e. the existence of the king of France is regarded, conversationally, as
a non-controversial conversational topic that has attained 'common-ground
So back to McEvoy's "Pears' narrow Oxbridge-focused discussion" of
Russell", you may lay the blame on Grice!*
Pears updates the Griceian treatment by bringing in the new theory of
reference -- and the ideas of rigidity in designation, a logical atom that
totally escaped Russell's otherwise powerful microscope -- as expounded by
Putnam and Kripke, inter alii -- he fails to mention Ruth Barcan Marcus,
* In "Prejudices and predilections, which become the life and times of Paul
Grice", Paul Grice recalls with affection his joint work in the philosophy
of action with D. F. Pears, and Pears was one of the first (reference
below) to use in print the full phrase 'conversational implicature' to suggest
that, when discussing 'ifs and cans', as Austin had done, we should never
forget that 'if' sometimes invites the conversational implicature, 'iff'.
Pears, D. F. Ifs and cans. Canadian Journal of Philosophy 1.
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