[lit-ideas] The Three Musketeers

  • From: "" <dmarc-noreply@xxxxxxxxxxxxx> (Redacted sender "Jlsperanza@xxxxxxx" for DMARC)
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Sun, 30 Aug 2015 17:16:06 -0400

In a message dated 8/30/2015 3:19:08 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time,
profdritchie@xxxxxxxxx writes:
were named Henri, Arnaud and Isaac.
http://www.sirclisto.com/cavalier/athos.html When my agent calls, I think
that's probably what I'll propose:
Henry, Arnold and Isaac

Oddly, for Quine, an expression like

i. The musketeers were three.

involves not (Ex), but (E3x), i.e. a numeric quantifier.

Of course, Quine is not saying (perhaps implicating) that there were three
and only three musketeers EVER, and that their names were Henry, Arnold and
Isaac.

Quine's example in "Methods of Logic," that Strawson revered (vide
Strawson, Intro to "Philosophical Logic", Oxford readings in Philosophy, ed. by
G.
J. Warnock), is:

ii. The apostles were twelve.

which presumably ENTAILS rather than merely implicates that the only
apostles EVER were twelve. And for that Quine introduces (E12x).

Witters never had that problem because Ramsey had made a 'logicist' out of
him, and thought that numbers were not _important_ logically, since, well,
logicism claims that 'algebra', as Geary calls it, REDUCES to logic.

It may be different with Popper.

The use of 'the three musketeers' is interesting from a Griceian point of
view in that it conjoins the 'definite article' (as in "THE King of France
is not bald," his favourite "the" utterance) and a numerical index. It would
be odd (although perhaps not FALSE) to say that the musketeers were TWO:
Henry and Arnold. Because if they were three, they were two.

(This is a material conditional use of 'if', which is possibly the only
logical one).

And of course, in the same vein (Grice's vein, as it happens), if the
musketeers were two, there were one; to wit: Henry.

But it would be FALSE, in the same context of utterance (a phrase Grice
borrows, but never returns, from Firth) to say that the musketeers were FOUR,
i.e. that *the* musketeers were four; for Grice can hardly deny that there
were (and possibly will be) more than "merely" (to use an adverb favoured
by McEvoy) three musketeers.

Cheers,

Speranza




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