[lit-ideas] Re: Michael Dummett

  • From: Robert Paul <rpaul@xxxxxxxx>
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Mon, 09 Jan 2012 01:32:50 -0800

Quoting John McCreery wrote

One somewhere, or many? A question also raised by Stanley Cavell in *Conditions
Handsome and Unhandsome: The Constitution of Emersonian Perfectionism. *


Remember what Aristotle said: all roads lead somewhere. Frege, as you
point out,
found this puzzling.

JL alluded to this earlier. It was not until Frege's great work that formal notation was able to capture the difference between

All roads lead somewhere (e.g. to Rome); that is, there is a single location to which all roads lead.


All roads lead somewhere (e.g. Bangkok, Albany NY--and a long, sometimes overlapping list of different places to which various roads lead.

The fallacy of moving from the second statement to the first, as Elizabeth Anscombe once accused Aristotle of doing ('Everything is thought to aim at some good; therefore, the Good is that at which all things aim') was christened by her or by Peter Geach, the 'boy-girl fallacy,' and illustrated by pointing out the difference between

Every boy loves some girl * (e.g Sally).


Every boy loves some girl * (or other).

The words before the asterisk are ambiguous as between the two. It's easy to disambiguate them in ordinary language; but was impossible, pre-Frege to do so
in any logical notation.

Anscombe spells out the fallacy in her 1958 book on the Tractatus, and Geach does so in his 1962 (?) work, Reference and Generality.

Robert Paul

'Logic is a nightmare from which I am trying to awake.'
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