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

  • From: Mike Geary <jejunejesuit.geary2@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Wed, 11 Feb 2015 22:30:19 -0600

I am quite sure that JL has answered my philosophical cri de coeur to his
satisfaction and I applaud him for that.  Nevertheless (I've never
understood that word -- why "less"?)  But I bid your patience and allow me
to delve a little deeper into my psychophilosophic quagmire.  I am a man of
many words --  not as JL is, that is, with words that go somewhere,--  but
of words that simply word our world for us and go nowhere.  Words are
sootheriffic for me.  Words certainly do not have to mean anything to me,
just please me. .  That's my philosophy anyway and I'm sticking to it.
Language is made up of words as we all know, except that it's not --
language is made up of existence.  Existence is made up out of words.  Only
humans exist, that is, have words.  Words like "existence".  What does that
even mean?  Fuck if I know.  Some words take us more into existence than
others, but I'm not about to go there. Not here.  Not now.   Anyway, the
thing is, without words to throw around we''d all be throwing rocks.
Someday, maybe, we'll all know the same words and sit around and marvel at
the  sound of them.  Here's a start:  The slithy toves did gyre and gimble
upon the wabe, all mimsy were the borogroves and the mome raths outgrabe.
What greater truth could be said than that???

On Wed, Feb 11, 2015 at 5:29 AM, Redacted sender Jlsperanza@xxxxxxx for
DMARC <dmarc-noreply@xxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:

> How global can scepticism be?
> Who edited Descartes's "Solipsistic Dialogues"?
> Was Donald Davidson wrong?
> Is Geary wrong?
> Did someone once said that?
> What's that?
> These are all fascinating questions...
> In a message dated 2/10/2015 7:33:25 P.M. Eastern Standard Time,
> donalmcevoyuk@xxxxxxxxxxx writes:
> "Someone once said [Donald Davidson,  the UC/Berkeley philosopher] was
> wrong about that."
> Exactly that the 'that' amounts that can be doublecheck in the original
> post. But that post also included a quote which I should expand now.
> It comes from
> Malpas, Jeff, "Donald Davidson", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
> (Spring 2015 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), forthcoming URL =
> <http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/spr2015/entries/davidson/>.
> The whole point was to compare it with Geary's claim about presumptions,
> assumptions, mispresumptions, and what I call orthopresumptions.
> Malpas writes as per below, and we could reconsider how wrong he is in
> rephrasing Donald Davidson's view, and, into the bargain, how wrong
> Davidson
> (or  Geary for that matter) can be:
> Malpas writes:
> "Since knowledge of the world is inseparable from other forms of
> knowledge, so global epistemological scepticism — the view that all [...]
> of our
> beliefs  about the world could [or might] be false — turns out to be
> committed
> to much more than is  usually supposed."
> The implicature seems to be that it might turn out to be committed to a
> paradox, that post-Socratic philosophers love (cfr. Socrates, "All I know
> is
> that I know nothing") ("Only that Socrates wasn't a post-Socratic
> philosopher,"  Geary marginally notes).
> Malpas continues:
> "Should it indeed turn out that [all] our beliefs about the  world  were
> all [...] false, [...] this would not
> only imply [or  entail, as I prefer -- Speranza] the  falsity of [all] our
> beliefs about  others [but as Descartes said, "Never mind others" --
> "Letters to a Solipsist"],  but it would also have the peculiar [i.e.
> paradoxical,
> self-contradictory]  consequence of making false [all] our beliefs about
> ourselves"
> Which was Geary's point:
> "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."
> Note that the keyword is "emotional life", and more specifically, Geary's
> emotional life. It may be argued that Geary's point is more general than
> Davidson, who is only concerned about beliefs. Geary is concerned about
> desires,  too, inter alia.
> Malpas continues:
> "— including the supposition that we do indeed hold those particular  false
> beliefs."
> i.e. beliefs about ourselves, including the supposition, or
> 'mispresumption', as Geary might prefer, that we indeed hold those
> particular  false
> beliefs (or mispresumptions, to use again Geary's term).
> Malpas indeed grants a point that might be the source for McEvoy's  opinion
> on this point to the effect that someone once said that Davidson was
> wrong*:
> Malpas: "Although this may fall short of demonstrating the falsity of  such
> [global] scepticism, it surely  demonstrates it to be deeply  problematic."
> Which is deeply good. If philosophy generated no problems it would be dead,
>  and if it generated the same old problems it would never be alive.
> Re McEvoy's "* [Davidson] was wrong -- I am not surprised. It seems the
> exercise of philosophy involves what H. P. G. calls a diagogic approach.
> He writes:
> "At first sight, more than one distinct philosophical thesis would appear
> to account for the material
> and settle the question raised by  it."
> Here we may just consider
> (GS) Global Scepticism is right.
> Davidson, and perhaps Geary, are denying (GS):
> ~(GS) Global Scepticism is wrong.
> Grice notes:
> "The way (generally the only way) in which a particular thesis is
> established is thought to be by the
> elimination of its rivals,  characteristically by the detection of
> counter-examples."
> This seems to fit McEvoy's
> "Someone once said that he was wrong about that".
> Implicating that that someone detected a counterexample to the thesis,
> which would eliminate it.
> "It is, however my hope," Grice confesses, "that in many cases, including
> the most important cases, theses can be established by direct evidence in
> their  favour.
> The keyword here is the epagogic-diagogic distinction. An epagogic approach
>  to philosophy is counterexample-based, a diagogic one is not.
> Grice: "The more emphasis is placed on justification by elimination of
> rivals, the greater is the impetus given to refutation" -- that Popper
> loved
> --.  "[P]erhaps a greater emphasis on 'diagogic' procedure ... would have
> an
> eirenic  effect.
> He adds: "If it were _explicitly_ recognised that being interesting and
> fruitful is more important than being right [Grice knew a topologist who
> was
> seldom right, 'but never ceased to interest me, nor did I ever find his
> research  fruitful'] and may indeed co-exist with being wrong [the word
> McEvoy
> used when  referring to this someone who objected to Davidson's thesis]
> polemical  refutation [that seemed endless to Popper anyways] might lose
> some of
> its  appeal."
> "Anyways" is dialectal (but so is "anyroads").
> Cheers,
> Speranza
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