[lit-ideas] Re: Presumptive Meanings: Geary vs. Davidson

  • From: Julie Campbell <juliereneb@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: "lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx" <lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Tue, 10 Feb 2015 19:25:32 -0600

This post made my day, JL.  Just sayin'.

Julie Campbell
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On Tue, Feb 10, 2015 at 6:33 PM, Donal McEvoy <donalmcevoyuk@xxxxxxxxxxx>
wrote:

> >Davidson once said that there is transcendental justification, as he
> called it, to the effect that AT LEAST one of my beliefs (he meant 'his')
> has to
> be TRUE.>
>
> Someone once said he was wrong about that.
>
> Dnl
>
>
>
>   On Tuesday, 10 February 2015, 22:53, "dmarc-noreply@xxxxxxxxxxxxx" <
> dmarc-noreply@xxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
>
>
> My last post today!
>
> On top of what Geary says, when Levinson finished his big book on
> conversational implicature, he was looking for a title. He came up with
> one of
> Geary's favourite words: 'presumptive':
>
>
> http://www.amazon.com/Presumptive-Meanings-Generalized-Conversational-Implic
>
> ature/dp/0262621304/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1423607880&sr=8-1&keywords=Presum
> ptive+Meanings
> Presumptive Meanings: The Theory of Generalized Conversational  Implicature
> When we speak, we mean more than we say. In this book Stephen C. Levinson
> explains some general processes that underlie presumptions in
> communication.
> This is the first extended discussion of preferred interpretation in
> language  understanding, integrating much of the best research in
> linguistic
> pragmatics  from the last two decades. Levinson outlines a theory of
> presumptive
> meanings,  or preferred interpretations, governing the use of language,
> building on the  idea of implicature developed by the philosopher H.P.
> Grice.
> Some of the  indirect information carried by speech is presumed by default
> because it is  carried by general principles, rather than inferred from
> specific assumptions  about intention and context. Levinson examines this
> class of
> general pragmatic  inferences in detail, showing how they apply to a wide
> range of linguistic  constructions. This approach has radical consequences
> for how we think about  language and communication.
>
> In a message dated 2/10/2015 3:21:43 P.M.  Eastern Standard Time,
> jejunejesuit.geary2@xxxxxxxxx asks in a post he  provocatively calls,
> "Truth,
> Justice, and the American Way: "Am I wrong to  presume that all knowledge
> is at
> best presumption?"
>
> Tertulian would say "at worst". ("Have you noticed that in ordinary
> conversation, 'at best' and 'at worst' are almost interchangeable?" --
> Wooster  to
> Jeeves).
>
> Geary goes on:
>
> "So all of this is just "let's assume that..."?  It doesn't matter, of
> course, but I'd kind of like to know because, well, you  know, my
> emotional
> life, it sort of matters to me and I don't want to get all  bent out of
> shape
> over a mispresumption."
>
> This is a double-prefixed one. Double prefixed ones are lexemes that, as
> the name implies, bear two prefixes:
>
> 'pre-' and 'mis-'.
>
> There are many of them, but the order of prefixes is not allways
> interchangeable. Cfr. premissumption.
>
> ---
>
> Geary goes on:
>
> "I realize that my presumptions [are] nothing more than the product of my
> world -- the old "Always already immersed in a  world" thing, you  know?
> I
> am my culture and I don't know if it's possible for me to ever be  not my
> culture, even when I reject parts of my culture, that too comes out of my
> culture."
>
> Strictly, culture applies to agricultural peoples only. Nomads don't have
> one, nor do they presume to have one.
>
> culture:
> mid-15c., "the tilling of land," from Middle French culture and  directly
> from Latin cultura "a cultivating, agriculture".
>
> Geary goes on:
>
> "But I would sure hate to get all worked up only to realize that what I
> was
> all worked up over was just mis-presumption on my part, stemming from my
> unique  culture."
>
> The paradox here is that the presumption that your presumption is only a
> mispresumption is also a presumption. It could be an orthopresumption.
>
> ("Mis-" sometimes applies to 'wrong' -- "mis-use"; the antonym should be
> "ortho-", right, as in 'orthodoxy'.
>
> "ortho-", prefix, meaning: straight, upright, rectangular, regular; true,
> correct, proper," now mostly in scientific and technical compounds" in in
> variants of Geary's terminology, as in orthopresumption.)
>
> Geary goes on:
>
> "That, in fact, I could be completely wrong about my understanding of
> everything. EVEN what I'm writing right now.  But you've got to admit
> that
> that's highly unlikely -- I mean, come on, a man of my intelligence  --
> wrong??
> Get real.  So I presume I [am] right in all this."
>
> Davidson once said that there is transcendental justification, as he
> called it, to the effect that AT LEAST one of my beliefs (he meant 'his')
> has to
> be TRUE.
>
> So we may call Geary Davidsonian or Davidson Gearian.
>
> Cheers,
>
> Speranza
>
>
> "Since knowledge of the world is inseparable from other forms of
> knowledge,
> so global epistemological scepticism — the view that all or most of our
> beliefs  about the world could be false — turns out to be committed to
> much
> more than is  usually supposed. Should it indeed turn out that our beliefs
> about the world  were all, or for the most part, false, then this would
> not
> only imply the  falsity of most of our beliefs about others, but it would
> also
> have the peculiar  consequence of making false most of our beliefs about
> ourselves — including the  supposition that we do indeed hold those
> particular
> false beliefs. Although this  may fall short of demonstrating the falsity
> of
> such scepticism, it surely  demonstrates it to be deeply problematic." --
> Davidson entry in Stanford.
>
>
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