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

  • From: "" <dmarc-noreply@xxxxxxxxxxxxx> (Redacted sender "Jlsperanza@xxxxxxx" for DMARC)
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Thu, 12 Feb 2015 10:45:00 -0500

My last post today!
 
Geary: "Words certainly do not have to mean anything to me, just please  
me." 

In a message dated 2/12/2015 3:40:51 A.M. Eastern Standard Time,  
donalmcevoyuk@xxxxxxxxxxx writes:
If buying a train ticket I am told all  trains have now been cancelled, the 
meaning is what leaves me unpleased (given  that what is meant is true) and 
I won't be able to affect an attitude like  Mike's. No matter how pleasing 
in other terms is the way the words are used  (perhaps the person in the 
ticket office replies in the form of a Shakespearean  sonnet or a Beckettesque 
short play) I will be hacked off ...
 
Part of the problem is implicatural ("if not all," as Geary adds,  
cancelling it).
 
Recall Eyeore:
 
"If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say it at all."
 
It may be argued, and even give good reasons for the employee to  
reconsider the utterance:
 
i. All trains have now been cancelled."
 
This seems not "nice", or 'pleasing' to the 'ear' (as Geary would have it). 
 On the other hand, there's surely a nice side to the commentary, and 
perhaps  hacking off is overreacting.
 
ii. All trains have now been cancelled because there is a lot of snow on  
the tracks, and surely we want to protect you.
 
sounds 'nicer'. 
 
Urmson considers this in his "Parentheticals".
 
iii. Your son was killed.
 
An officer reports a mother during the Second World War. 
 
Urmson notes that an apt parenthetical here would be:
 
iv. I regret your son was killed.
 
and goes on to note that personal regret on the part of the informer has  
'little' to do with it. Cfr.
 
v. I am sorry to have to report your son got killed.
 
Urmson does not consider the mother's further implicatures on this.
 
But then Eyeore is being simplistic. "Nice" means, etymologically,  
"not-knowing", which was not really Geary's point when talking about 
'aesthetic'  
"pleasure", and stuff.
 
McEvoy:

"No matter how pleasing in other terms is the way the words  are used 
(perhaps the person in the ticket office replies in the form of a  
Shakespearean 
sonnet or a Beckettesque short play."
 
A Shakespearean sonnet apparently derives from the Italian sonnet, but  
surely that may complicate issues. The best Beckettesque short plays were  
written, in fact, by Beckett.
 
In summary: some pleasure SHOULD be derived from the fact that the person  
in the ticket office CARES.
 
Geary:

"Words certainly do not have to mean anything to me, just  please me."
 
i. All trains have now been cancelled.
 
oddly, may please the logician who is looking for an illustration of an  
A-statement (Aristotle classifies all statements into A, E, I, and O. Guthrie  
says that for some time he considered Υ statements too, "but found it 
difficult  to provide a good illustrations". Υ is the other Greek vowel. 

Cheers,
 
Speranza
 
 
 
 
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