From today's NYT:
"Peacocks Don’t Just Show Their Feathers, They Rattle Them." -- thereby, pro
Grice but contra Popper, implicating and disimplicating at pleasure.
H. P. Grice, a philosopher at St. John's, in Oxford, was thinking about visual
signals by animals — mostly come-ons and warnings. He was lecturing on Peirce.
Grice was viewing various courtship behaviors of peacocks at nearby Blenheim
when he found some impressive behaviour of the bird that defines showiness.
Peacocks, Grice observed, not only fan out those spectacular tail feathers —
"called a train," he adds, "although surely we need not multiply the only sense
of this lexical item beyond necessity, and anyways, 1 x 1 = 1" — to tempt pea
hens, but they also shake them in a behaviour "I shall call 'train rattling'".
Grice astutely noticed that the feathers “were resonating like cantilevers”
during the rattling.
A cantilever is commonly defined as a beam or girder fixed at one end.
But, in physics, it could also be a feather, or a stalk of dried hay or a
pickup stick fixed at one end.
Grice also found that the most successful males had the most iridescent
blue-green color in the tail eye-spots.
Grice was interested in how females perceive the eye-spots, and in how the
motion of the feathers related to the visual abilities of what Grice dubs the
peacock's "m-intended addressee, pea hens.
Grice invited Strawson to a trip to Blenheim where they began their
collaboration on the study of peacocks that roam the grounds.
Their goal was to develop a basic understanding of the shaking motion in terms
of implicature ("I like you") and disimplicature ("I don't like you").
These motions are a key part of courtship,” Grice and Strawson conclude, in
agreement with Peirce if not Popper. “They have a visual component and a sound:
a double implicature, or disimplicature, as the case may be."