[lit-ideas] Re: Popper and Grice on the philosophy of perception

  • From: "Walter C. Okshevsky" <wokshevs@xxxxxx>
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx, Jlsperanza@xxxxxxx
  • Date: Sun, 19 Jan 2014 14:09:37 -0330

"Too true." There's something conceptually odd about that locution. Maybe not
like "a box of pizza," but something similar, along the lines of a category

I would have thought that truth is a binary concept: true or false; yes or no;
off or on; Republican or Democrat. JL treats it as a qualitative concept
admitting of degrees. I assume he would also countenance such expressions as 

"very true," 

"really, really false," 

"a little bit true," 



But surely these are senseless expressions, and we
should pass over them in silence and humility.

"Justifiability," on the other hand, since you ask, imho, is a scalar
concept/criterion as it admits of qualitative degrees. We may say that position
P is "more justified" than position Q, or "more strongly justified" or
than Q. (We can't say that about the logical validity of an argument since
formal validity is binary, not qualitative.) 

Dick Hare believed that the trick is to get our logical and epistemic concepts
right, and then the rightness of our moral claims would follow. (Courtesy of
the late educational philosopher and friend, John Wilson, Oxford U.) I
hyperbolize for dramaturgical/pedagogical effect, of course.

OK, now I'm really out o' here like a bat out o' hell, in order to answer a
student's question: "If what I believe is true, isn't my belief 'k-that'?"

What would you have YOUR kid's teacher believe? (So Juan, tell us why you
believe a whale is a mammal.)

Walter O

P.S. Do we really know what it's like to be a "bat out o' hell" or just "a bat"
for that matter? Am I the first to ask this question? 

P.P.S. Come to think of it, is "k-what" governed by the same 3 conditions as
"k-that"? I.e.: "I know what it's like to be a bat." Is there a way to render
that claim in terms of "k-that"? 

Quoting Jlsperanza@xxxxxxx:

> In a message dated 1/19/2014 10:13:57 A.M. Eastern Standard Time,  
> donalmcevoyuk@xxxxxxxxxxx writes:
> Popper's "New Ways of Words" is not an  allusion to Grice's book [which 
> came some decades after Popper wrote afaik] but  a phrase to echo the "New
> Way 
> of Ideas" brought in by Locke 
> Too true!
> Of course we never know what LOCKE was thinking. There is a BEAUTIFUL  
> portrait of Locke with a wig, and another, also charming, with Locke without
> a  
> wig. 
> --- [end of interlude on the history of portraiture].
> I think Locke uses:
> way of words
> way of ideas
> way of things
> in that order. The 'new' is possibly Locke's idea that his idea was 'new'.  
> But then, he spends PAGES (and pages) on Descartes's idea (misconceived as 
> it  was) of INNATE idea. So it cannot have been THAT new of a way.
> "Old way of words" -- granted -- carries a different implicature.
> cfr.
> good old way of words
> bad new way of ideas
> and so on.
> In any case, thanks to D. McEvoy for his further thoughts. For the record,  
> I ended the post where I mention the Grice/White symposium (I believe the 
> link I  provide contains only Grice's bit), with a reference to pirots 
> potching and  cotching obbles and fidding and stuff. I don't mention 'fid',
> but I 
> do  now.
> Grice writes in the prologue to his intended "Warnock/Grice retrospective"  
> on the philosophy of perception:
> "the objects revealed by perception should  surely
> be   constituents of that world'.
> For the record, this is  from
> Grice,  H. P. "Notes for Grice/Warnock retrospective", The  Grice Papers, 
> BANC MSS  90/135c, The Bancroft Library, University of  California, 
> Berkeley.
> Grice was returning, back in the Berkeley hills, to  the philosophy of 
> perception, an area in which he had  worked with his dear  friend Sir (and 
> Vice-Chancelor at Oxford, as he then wasn't) Geoffrey J. Warnock  and
> planning a 
> "Grice/Warnock retrospective".  The first topic that  this 'retrospective' 
> covers is "the place of perception as a faculty or  capacity in a sequence  
> of living things.'
> So this nicely fits with  McEvoy's example of the unicellular organism 
> 'knowing' (as McEvoy prefers) that  the sun is good for it.
> Thinking about the issue of the philosophy of perception in  relation to 
> his interest in creature-construction, Grice  wonders "at what  point, if
> any, 
> is further progress up the  psychological ladder impossible  unless
> some rung has previously been assigned to creatures capable of  perception?"
> Grice goes on to dwell on the ADVANTAGES perception, Darwin-wise  [and this 
> should amuse McEvoy, if not Queen Victoria -- "we are not amused"] in  
> terms of survival, the crucial factor for adding any capacity during  
> creature-construction, and assesses the possible support this  might offer 
> for common 
> sense against 
> philosophers of sense  data.
> (Cfr. again,  Paul, "Is there a problem about sense  data?", that Grice 
> worshiped, and  treasured).
> If perception is to  be seen as an advantage, providing "knowledge" [as a 
> species of true  belief] to aid survival in a particular world, "the object 
> revealed by   perception [the Noumenon, as Kant would have it? No; the 
> Phainomenon -- but  Kant's terminology, as most of his self was, is somewhat
> confused on this and  that -- no disrespect meant, though] should be
> constituents 
> of that world".  
> It might be  possible to say that sense data [of apples or bananas,  say] 
> do not themselves nourish or threaten, but constitute evidence of  things 
> that do: apples and bananas.
> If 'object' is perhaps too   technical for Grice, he preferred to drop the 
> "j" and gemminate (if that's  the  word) the 'b'. The object in Grice 
> becomes an  obble. Thus, Grice  writes, elsewhere, in a charming "Lecture 1,
> 'Lectures on  language  and reality', The Grice Papers, BANC MSS 90/135,
> Bancroft 
> Library,   UC/Berkeley:
> "A pirot [a nod to Locke, on 'parrot', 'intelligent,  almost rational 
> parrot'] can be said to potch of some obble  x
> as fang  or fent; also to cotch of x, or some obble o, as fang or feng;  or 
> to cotch  of one obble o and  another obble o' as being fid to one   
> another."
> Decoded: Pirots are much like ourselves -- Locke's  pirot,  parot -- cfr. 
> Carnap,  "pirots karulise elatically" -. Pirots inhabit  a  world of obbles 
> very much like  our own world.
> Here we could  have a play  on 'thing', rather than 'object'; to potch is 
> something like  to PERCEIVE or sense (as when Grice perceives or senses that
> the pillar in front  of him SEEMS red). 
> To cotch something like to think, or believe. I.e. we should  distinguish:
> Grice senses the pillar box seems red.
> Grice thinks the pillar box seems red.
> Grice BELIEVES that the pillar box seems red.
> Notably, there is a distinction between:
> Grice believes that the pillar box seems red.
> and
> Grice believes that the pillar box IS red.
> Grice was fascinated by this type of psi-progression. I.e., the belief, on  
> Grice's part, that the pillar box SEEMS red may well be a good piece of 
> evidence  for the generation of the belief, on Grice's part, that the pillar
> box IS  red.
> You can progress up the ladder to:
> Grice KNOWS the pillar box is red.
> This would, in the words of "Further notes" at 
> http://aardvark.ucsd.edu/language/grice_further_notes.pdf
> entail, from the standpoint of the utterer of these expressions, that
> Grice BELIEVES the pillar box is red.
> The pillar box is red
> The pillar box being red CAUSED or is in some way connected to, via this or 
>  that legitimate way [that the Gettier cases don't show] Grice's believing 
> that  the pillar box is red.
> Grice's actual words:
> "some conditions placing restrictions on how [I] came to [believe that] p  
> (cf. causal theory)" (p. 53 in the above link).
> Further decoding from the above passage:
> Feng and fang are possible descriptions, much like our adjectives (as  when 
> we say "red" in the pillar box is red -- cfr. Grice on what  Martians SEE 
> in "Some remarks about the senses". Grice thinks Martians may well  have FOUR
> eyes. With the upper pair of eyes, Martians are x-ing things; with the  
> lower pair of eyes, Martians are distinctly y-ing things. Does 'x-ing' and  
> 'y-ing' translate to 'see'. One wonders).
> "Fid" is a possible relation between obbles. As when we say that the pillar 
>  box seems red and just in front of us, where 'us' is conceived as  
> 'obbles'.
> And so on. Or not.
> In any case, this excursus on Grice's philosophy of perception was merely  
> there to balance a more 'objectivist' approach as favoured by Popper. Or 
> not.  Grice worked a lot on the 'absolute' or 'objective' "sense" of
> 'valuing', 
> and he  may have ended up with a very neo-Kantian idea about the 
> objectivity of  perception, by, even, a transcendental apperceptual ego. Or
> not. Of 
> course.  (Vide Geary on "apperceptual ego" *).
> Cheers,
> Speranza
> ---
> ps. * From Geary's notes on "The apperception of stuff" -- section ii of  
> "The ego of apperception [expanded]": "Immanuel Kant distinguished  
> transcendental apperception from empirical apperception. The first is the 
> perception 
> of an object as involving the consciousness of the pure self as  
> subject--"the pure, original, unchangeable consciousness that is the
> necessary  
> condition of experience and the ultimate foundation of the unity of
> experience."  
> The second is "the consciousness of the concrete actual self with its 
> changing  states", the so-called "inner sense." (Otto F. Kraushaar in Runes).
> Transcendental apperception is almost equivalent to self-consciousness; the 
> existence of the ego may be more or less prominent, but it is always  
> involved."
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