[lit-ideas] Re: The Philosopher's Show

  • From: Jlsperanza@xxxxxxx
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Sat, 7 Jul 2012 10:27:34 -0400 (EDT)

I'm glad D. P. P. McEvoy was able to read P. M. S. Hacker's essay on  the 
say/show distinction.
"I'll show you something"
surely carries a different implicature from (or 'than' as they say in New  
"I'll say something to you".
Note that 'show' and 'say' are not always (contra St. Augustine, "De  
magistro") ALL-ways interchangeable:
"It only goes to show" 
is a cliché, while:
"It only goes to say" 
sounds stupid -- even if said by some 'authority'.
But Hacker says more than this, and re-considers all of McEvoy's  
Hacker, using Grice's terminology -- they taught -- at different times --  
in the same little room up the steep flight of stairs in the "Philosopher's  
Room" at St. John's college, Oxford -- the richest college in Oxford -- 
after  Christ Church -- distinguishes between:
By uttering x, U(tterer) meant that p.
By uttering x, U showed that p.
By uttering x, U said that p.
--- This distinction (trichotomy, Hacker calls it) is unexistent in Witters 
 ("does not exist").
The addition of 'mean' is 'crucial'. For Hacker wants to say, with Grice -- 
 but not Witters - that, what Mr. Solipsist (one of Witters's silly 
examples)  MEANS makes sense, even if they cannot say it (but only show it). 
Namely, "I am  the only existing thing in the world".

Hacker notes that, by Witters's standards, "This is a Cambridge blue  shade 
of blue" is yet another thing that can only be shown rather than said --  
which looks, on the face of Witters's philosophy (if true) as ridiculous. 
Ergo:  what Witters means cannot be what he claimed to say truthfully.
P. M. S. Hacker's problem is Cora Diamond. Cora Diamond, who has a  
beautiful surname (and a meaningful one, too) possibly could use abbreviations, 
such as C. P. ("Patricia"?).

Hacker entitles his conclusion to his refutation of C. Diamond (and  by 
extension, L J J Wittgenstein) as follows:

"The  Tractatus — trying to say what can only be shown".
Note the 'try'. Grice notes that the idea that 
"I tried" 
implicates "I failed"
is not a generalised one. ("Surely I can try to make that stone wall FALL,  
even if I know I won't. I only do it to exercise my muscles"). 
Hacker writes: 
"Cora Diamond  and [insert first name initial here] Conant, like Frank  
Plumpton Ramsey, argue (rightly) that if  you can’t say it, you can’t  say  
it, and you can’t whistle it either."
Ramsey has to be credited with the addition of the whistle. Ramsey is  
quoting A E Housman, who said,
"Whistle -- and I'll be there".
"The use of 'and' in "Whistle and I'll be there" is not conjunctional but  
subordinate counterfactual, even" -- Grice remarks.
"Touch the beast and it will bite you".
"Surely, 'and' cannot mean what P. F. Strawson says it means. The logical  
form of the above is
p --> q
and NOT
p & q
(Witters, by saying that an expression SHOWS its logical form hardly helps  
here, because we are the AUTHORS of our own logical forms -- we take an 
ACTIVE  role in the generation of our linguistic structures, rather than, as he 
always  did his whole sad life, feel a PRISONER of them).
Hacker goes on:
"Unlike Frank Plumpton Ramsey (best known for his redundance theory of  
'... is true' -- "Delete "-- is true" and you delete nothing  important), 
Diamond and Conant think that Wittgenstein  was NOT  trying to whistle it."
One thing is for certain. Witters did NOT whistle.

Oddly, while Darwin (like me, initially) regarded "whistling" as  genetic 
(we don't LEARN to do it), some people in Austria are not natural  whistlers. 
This may explain Witter's inability to yet again "whistle that  p".
Hacker continues:
"On Diamond's and Conant's interpretation, there is NOTHING that the   
nonsensical pseudo-propositions 
-- like "I like Cambridge  blue" -- of  the Tractatus are trying to say, 
for one cannot mean something that  
cannot be said."
It seems ridiculous -- but true -- that Cora Dimanod and Conant blatantly  
ignore H. P. Grice's seminal essay on "Meaning" (1948), which while not 
given  during a seminar (hence 'seminal' is metaphorical) was given at The  
Philosophical Association in Oxford -- back in the day.
"But is this what  Wittgenstein thought?"
Hacker asks, rhetorically. Cfr.:
"Is the Pope catholic?"
The answer: NO.
The refutation proceeds step by step:

"Since Diamond and Conant allow reference to the ‘nonsensical’  remarks of 
TLP 4.126 - 4.1272, 5.473 and 5.4733, it is presumably   equally legitimate 
to refer to related passages in the attempt to  fathom  Wittgenstein’s 
Note that 're-mark' (as in "non-sensical" re-mark) is short for "p &  -p", 
a contradiction yet without 'sense', in that it uses philosophical jargon  
in the use rather than mention format ("This is an object" -- or "There are  
objects", rather than "I step onto a black object this morning").
"But If we do so, it is immediately evident that Wittgenstein  did  think 
that one CAN *mean* something [that p, q, etc] that can NOT  be said". 
One simply "expresses [it] in a _different_ way".
As in
He whistled that p & - p.
Hacker adds:

"Moreover, Wittgenstein insisted, we -- qua  philosophers -- can  
apprehend, indeed, can see some things 
which are  thus *meant* but cannot be  said."

This needs to be carefully distinguished from Grice's more casual remarks  
on 'the unsaid'.
A: I've run out of fuel.
B: There's a garage round the corner.
--- unsaid: which is selling fuel, and therefore open.
Surely, while B has NOT _said_ that the garage is open and with fuel to go, 
 and we can claim he MEANT it, he can always go on and CANCEL the 'unsaid':
A: It was closed!
B: I never SAID it was open and with fuel to go.
The cancellability of the unsaid is never a feature for Witters who FEARED  
the unsaid.
"As noted, Wittgenstein asserted that what B. A. W. Russell’s axiom of  
infinity was  meant to 
say, would (if true) be shown by the existence  of infinitely many names  
with different meanings  (TLP

Here "mean to" is yet a subtle idiom used by Hacker and Grice, but not by  
Witters (there's no idiomatic use of 'Meinen' in the rather less plastic 
lingo  that German is -- to English speakers):
"mean to"
What Russell MEANT to say.
What Russell meant.
What Russell said.
What Russell meant to show.
What Russell show.
What Russell meant to show.

Here the jargon is "infinite"
Russell formulated the axiom of infinity.
What Russell means to say is SHOWN by the existence of infinitely many  
Note the slight redundancy: 'infinitely many':
What Russell meant is SHOWN by the existence of infinite names.
--- While the example is genial, Hacker provides a second one, similarly  
"Similarly, what the solipsist  means is quite correct; only it cannot  be 
said, but makes itself manifest (TLP  5.62)."
Witters is not clear as to what he means by "Korrekt".
But again,
"Only I exist", he said.
He said that only he existed.
He showed that only he existed.
He meant that only he existed.
--- Formulate the differences.
--- The third example is one that touches Grice:

MODUS PONENS -- rules of inference:

"We cannot say  that  ‘q’ follows from ‘p’ and ‘p --> q’, for this is an 
internal  relation between  propositions. But it is shown by the tautology ‘
(p  --> q). (p):-->:(q)’  (TLP
Grice was obsessed with 'therefore'. The particle that we use when we  say
p -->
..  q
"He is an Englishman, and all Englishmen are brave; he is, therefore,  
This complex utterance Grice spends some time with.
Grice dismisses any sort of 'dictiveness' to that nevertheless silly  
particle, "there-fore". Grice says that 'therefore' does not SAY anything.
Rather, by uttering the above -- "Jack is an Englishman, and all Englishmen 
 are brave; Jack is, therefore, brave" -- the utterer IMPLICATES (albeit  
conventionally, rather than conversationally) that "Jack is brave" FOLLOWS 
from  "Jack is an Englishman and all Englishmen are brave". It woud be 
ridiculous to  think that the utterer SAID that -- he only implicated. Since, 
Hacker and  Grice knows, Witters' ignores -- to his failure -- the brilliant 
concept of  'implicature' (a nonlogical implication) what can you expect?
(incidentally -- that above is a good example of a mixed illocutionary  
force utterance: "Since it's raining, why are you bothering?") 
Hacker quotes from Witters -- he surely has read this author -- he keeps  
quoting him in a bad English translation, when we know that Witters could and 
 would not articulate his thoughts in Shakespeare's language):

"We can recognize that a proposition of logic is true  from  the symbol 
alone — indeed, that is a characteristic mark (hence an  internal  
property) of a 
proposition of logic  (TLP

"We can see that the  truth of one proposition  follows from the truth of 
another, although that is an  internal  relation that cannot be described 
-- 'described' is used as 'stated' -- but cfr. 'prescribed'.

"In complicated  cases it is difficult to see these internal  relations, 
hence we need a  mechanical expedient to facilitate their  recognition — 
viz. a 
proof (TLP  6.1262), which enables us to recognize  something that cannot 
I.e. to recognise something that IS MEANT and shown, if not, strictly, SAID 
 -- but "IMPLICATED" by it.
Note similarly, that a whistle can implicate.

"He whistled"
"He meant, "I'm here"".
"He implicated, "Come where I am -- rather I go where you are".
"In the True/False  notation of the Tractatus, we can recognize such  
properties of  propositions as being tautologous by mere  inspection of the 
propositions  themselves (TLP 6.122)."
A tautology gains its force via implicature:
"It's raining or it isn't". Surely the implicature: 'why bother?'
A contradiction, rather, resembles more those pieces which Witters found  
"I am the only existing thing here" (in logical form, p & -p).
Again, a contradiction, via implicature (irony) implies a truth:
"The Pope is not Catholic" -- (since perhaps he is a Lutheran at heart,  
being German-born).
Hacker concludes:

"So there are, according to the author of  the  Tractatus, ineffable truths 
that can be apprehended. Indeed, in  some cases, they  can literally be 
perceived — for one can see that  dark blue is darker than light  blue, 
though, being an internal  relation
between colours, this cannot be  said."
Dark blue is darker than light blue.
--- Therefore, light blue is lighter than dark blue.
("We were philosophising all afternoon," Cora Diamond reported to her  
mother). ("Did you conclude anything?" she asked).

Hacker quotes from the EARLIEST Witters -- the Witters in the  trenches -- 
and how he was  already 
obsessed with the show/say/whistle  distinction.
Hacker comments that while TLP would regard 
"x is an object" 
as a piece of blatant nonsense, it would come out as a "rule" in  
Philosophical Investigations (where the idea of 'rule' gets undefined), so what 
Hacker writes may relate  to the idea by McEvoy that the 'key tenet' holds  for 
TLP and PI -- if broadly understood rather than with the details, I  suppose.

In correspondence, the early Witters would say that a poem can say things  
and can show things, and can mean things. Interestingly, Hacker notes that 
these  first ideas were exchanged with a 'literary critic' of sorts, rather 
than a  'philosopher' which may indicate that Witters was trying to express 
in a  philosophical way (that irritated Russell) something that belongs to  
metaphilosophy (if there is, as T. Williamson and I don't think, such a 
thing).  And so on. 


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