[lit-ideas] Rationality: Popper vs. Grice

  • From: "" <dmarc-noreply@xxxxxxxxxxxxx> (Redacted sender "Jlsperanza@xxxxxxx" for DMARC)
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  • Date: Sun, 8 Feb 2015 18:41:29 -0500

Popper, 1902-1994.
Grice, 1913-1988.
We are considering Popper's motivations in his trialism (as opposed to  
Cartesian dualism and Smartian monism), and the other keyword was  "rationality"

In a message dated 2/8/2015 3:35:19 P.M. Eastern Standard  Time, 
donalmcevoyuk@xxxxxxxxxxx writes:
"Perhaps we should distinguish major  and minor points, as it were, and 
here ask the question in relation to major  points (errors on minor points 
being of secondary importance to errors on major  ones)? The answer is yes: one 
acknowledged major error is Popper's proposed  definition of 
'verisimiltude', which was independently shown to be be mistaken  by Pavel 
Tichy and David 
Miller (the latter Popper's research assistant for many  years)."
Thanks. I was thinking of Popper ever acknowledging that his trialism was  
mistaken, but surely his mistaken view of verisimilitude falls on some of 
those  worlds!

I have to say that Short/Lewis's definition ("A Latin  Dictionary") is not 
of much Popperian help!
vērĭsĭmĭlis, vērĭsĭmĭlĭter, and vērĭsĭmĭlĭtūdo, more correctly 
written  separately, vērī sĭmĭlis, etc., v. under verus and similis, etc.
McEvoy goes on:

Another major example arises in connection with another part of JLS'  post 
[...] I think Popper did indeed relish the problem-generating nature of the  
theory that (in addition to W1 and W2) there is a W3. But this is not so 
"odd"  when seen against a very important strand of Popper's theory of 
knowledge, which  might be described loosely as follows. There is a kind of 
position that says for  every genuine problem there is a solution [on one 
interpretation, we might  extract this view from W in the Tractatus - "The 
does not exist"; or  Hume, in the mode in which he was a forerunner of Logical 
I think this was best dealt with by philosopher Rush Rhees, in his  
"Unanswerable questions", which motivated Geary. Geary thinks that there are 
unanswerable questions. "Only unquestionable answers" -- and that, "only 
(For the record, Rhees, who taught at Swansea, was born at Rochester, New  
York -- only he would say "in Rochester" -- He thought that 'at' IMPLICATES 
town  or village, while 'in' ENTAILS city). 
(Rhees's essay is collected in his book on Witters -- it is originally the  
second part to a symposium with Australian philosopher R. Bambrough). 
McEvoy goes on:
"This position is refuted, we might say, by the existence of insoluble  
problems [though of course the refutation can always be evaded - either by  
maintaining that presently insoluble problems will nevertheless prove soluble 
or  by maintaining an insoluble problem is never a genuine problem].  Against 
 all this, Popper does think it likely that there are genuine problems that 
may  be permanently insoluble, though we should not be dogmatic as to what 
they are -  for even problems that now appear insoluble may in time be 
solved (as the  history of ideas shows). But he also thinks problems typically 
have depth. So  much so we may say that for every genuine solution (to a 
problem) there is a  problem i.e. that even the most successful solutions 
typically create new  problems - problems that arise in the light of the 
This is interesting. Perhaps we should start generalising and popularising  
the use of the expression 'pseudo-solution'. We do hear philosophers (such 
as  Witters) overemphasising the idea that some philosophical problems are  
pseudo-problems (i.e. not real problems, to use Austin's trouser word). But  
surely, if there are pseudo-problems, there should be pseudo-solutions.
And there must be a reason (as there is, for everything) why Witters  
focused on pseudo-problems rather than on pseudo-solutions.
McEvoy goes on:
"Thus Popper's schema of problems and (tentative) solutions, which he  
applies to the growth of knowledge in all fields, does not lead to a point of  
finality but to further problems requiring further (tentative) solutions. 
There  is a major error Popper made in his first work in relation to all this: 
he at  first wrongly identified the limits of rationality with the limits of 
science  i.e. took the position that only scientific problems could be 
resolved in a  rational way, whereas metaphysical/non-scientific problems could 
not. This error  was tied into some other errors, including the error of 
thinking rationality  could not ultimately be rationally based because it 
always involved a prior  non-rational commitment to rationality. This major 
was admitted by Popper  and its correction is important to understanding 
his mature philosophy. He does  continue to accept that metaphysical dispute 
is typically less amenable to  rational solution than the problems of 
science, but contends that a more-or-less  rational approach is possible even 
metaphysical problems - and some would  contend, on his behalf, that his own 
work exemplifies the rational approach to  philosophical questions."
Well, when Grandy and Warner thought of publishing this festschrift for  
Grice they contacted Oxford's Clarendon Press. The reply was: "We won't have a 
 book with GRICE on the title. It wouldn't sell". So they came up with the 
idea  of an acronym:
i.e. philosophical grounds of rationality: intentions, categories,  ends.
I think the keyword here is

Rationality is self-entrenched.

"[A] psychological theory [of rationality] [such as  the one] I envisage 
would be deficient as a theory to explain [rational]  behaviour if it did not 
contain provision for interests in the ascription of  psychological states 
otherwise than as tools for explaining and predicting  [rational] behaviour, 
interests (for example) on the part of one creature to be  able to ascribe 
these rather than those psychological states to another creature  because of 
a concern for the other creature."
"Within such a theory [of rationality] it should be possible to derive  
strong motivations on the part of the creatures subject to the theory against  
the abandonment of the central concepts of the theory [such as the idea of  
'rationality'] (and so of the theory itself), motivations which the 
creatures  would (or should) regard as justified."
"Indeed, only from within the framework of such a theory [of rationality],  
I think, can matters of evaluation, and so, of the evaluation of [rational] 
 modes of explanation, be raised at all."
"If I conjecture aright, then, the entrenched system contains the materials 
 needed to justify its own entrenchment."
"Whereas," he goes on, "no rival system contains a basis for the  
justification of anything at all" (
Rational behaviour in argument, as Gaskins puts it (ps) is established as  
conformity with putative preestablished norms. [Grice's] theory [of 
rationality]  "writes its own inference-ticket", which should be perhaps one 
Popper might  buy. 


Burdens of Proof in Modern Discourse
https://books.google.com/books?isbn=0300063067  - Traduci questa pagina
Richard H. Gaskins - 1995 - ‎Law
Grice even adds to Toulmin's  nondialectical epistemology a matching theory 
of ... If I conjecture aright,  then, the entrenched system contains the 
materials needed to justify its own  entrenchment; whereas no rival system 
contains a basis for the  ...
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