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

  • From: Adriano Palma <Palma@xxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: "lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx" <lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 11 Feb 2015 07:09:54 +0000

If so produce a case of

1.     A creature

2.     A creature with beliefs or belief-states

3.     Any one and all severally and collectively of such beliefs is false

Your day may be spoiled

From: lit-ideas-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx [mailto:lit-ideas-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx] On 
Behalf Of Julie Campbell
Sent: 11 February 2015 03:26
To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: [lit-ideas] Re: Presumptive Meanings: Geary vs. Davidson

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

Julie Campbell
Julie's Music & Language Studio
1215 W. Worley
Columbia, MO  65203

On Tue, Feb 10, 2015 at 6:33 PM, Donal McEvoy 
<donalmcevoyuk@xxxxxxxxxxx<mailto: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.


On Tuesday, 10 February 2015, 22:53, 
<dmarc-noreply@xxxxxxxxxxxxx<mailto: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':

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 
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<mailto: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  

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

Strictly, culture applies to agricultural peoples only. Nomads don't have
one, nor do they presume to have one.

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.



"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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