[lit-ideas] Re: Schopenhauer Reads Grice

  • From: Omar Kusturica <omarkusto@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: "lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx" <lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Tue, 18 Mar 2014 16:11:21 -0700 (PDT)

Schopenhauer knew German, English, and French, as well as Greek and Latin.



On Wednesday, March 19, 2014 12:02 AM, "Jlsperanza@xxxxxxx" 
<Jlsperanza@xxxxxxx> wrote:
 
Does Davidson quote from Schopenhauer?

He should!

We are considering various things, such as the basis for common or mutual  
trust in dialogue and an obscure tract by Schopenhauer on the principle of  
sufficient reason ("obscure" according to Aquinas, not me) -- and its 
fourfold  root. 

My last post today.

In a message dated 3/18/2014 6:48:59 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time,  
omarkusto@xxxxxxxxx writes:
"Eh, JL has forgotten to explain how "Do not say  what you believe to be 
false, or lack adequate evidence for" is not a  prescriptive command instead 
of a descriptive principle. I can say whatever I  want, it seems to me. Who 
will prevent me, and how?"

and previously:

"The distinction between reason and cause was certainly not something  
invented by Davidson. Schopenhauer in his essay The Fourfold Root of the  
Principle of Sufficient Reason certainly makes a distinction between ' a reason 
 
as the ground of a conclusion', and 'a cause of the occurrence of a real 
event.'  Both are thought to be forms of the more general Principle of 
Sufficient Reason  (of which there are four,) but they are to be kept firmly 
separate 
in their  distinct realms of application, the first being the realm of 
abstract reasoning  (especially of logic) and the second being the realm of the 
empirical world. The  other two forms of the Principle have their respective 
applications in  mathematics and in psychology (motive as the reason or 
ground of acting). I am  not sure whether playing with the slightly different 
senses of 'should' can  illuminate this much further."

Suppose I am reading Grice.

Or worse, suppose I am reading Schopenhauer.

Then I PRESUPPOSE that whatever Schopenhauer writes is TRUE -- especially  
if he says it four times (cfr. Lewis Carroll, "What I say three times is  
true").

"The distinction between reason and cause was certainly not something  
invented by Davidson. Schopenhauer in his essay The Fourfold Root of the  
Principle of Sufficient Reason certainly makes a distinction between ' a reason 
 
as the ground of a conclusion', and 'a cause of the occurrence of a real  
event.'".

I should expand this as:

Schopenhauer thinks that there is a distinction to be made between a reason 
as the ground of a conclusion (all properly expressed in the Teutonic 
language  that was his mother tongue) and a cause of the occurrence of a real 
event.

For surely Schopenhauer did believe WHAT he wrote. And I should trust, qua  
reader, Schopenhauer. I grant that there is a step between the above and MY 
actually believing the distinction EXISTS but it's too fine (or nice) to 
be  made.

O. K. goes on to revise Schopenhauer

"Both [reason and cause] are thought to be forms of the more general  
Principle of Sufficient Reason (of which there are four,) but they are to be  
kept firmly separate in their distinct realms of application, the first being  
the realm of abstract reasoning (especially of logic) and the second being 
the  realm of the empirical world."

I take it that if Schopenahuer wrote this, he BELIEVED it. It's different  
with poets (notably Whitman, "Yes. I contradict, and so? I contain  
multitudes!").

Omar goes on to revise Schopenhauer:

"The other two forms of the Principle have their respective applications in 
mathematics and in psychology (motive as the reason or ground of acting). 
I am  not sure whether playing with the slightly different senses of 
'should' can  illuminate this much further."

Plus, when I would think we only have ONE sense: 'should' is MONOSEMOUS, as 
I like to say.

But back to Grice's QUALITY, 

"do not say what you believe to be false, or lack adequate evidence for".  
There must be earlier versions for this, that Grice calls a 'desideratum'.

Grice does grant that it may be seen as 'descriptive' ("honesty is the best 
policy"). We are induced to it, by our parents or educators -- and it 
would be a  bit of complication to provide an alteranative and come up with a 
'lie' every  other time.

But while Grice allows that we DO, as a matter of fact, abide by some  
desideratum of trustworthiness, we also SHOULD. 

In what sense of 'should'?

In the only sense of 'should', since 'should' is monosemous.

Perhaps not in German. Note that German 'sollen' translates as 'shall',  
rather than 'should'. 

But O. K. is right that this is controversial, especially in the context of 
Schopenhauer who spent his life criticising Kant -- whom Grice is echoing!

Cheers,

Speranza


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