[lit-ideas] Re: The retreat to commitment

  • From: "" <dmarc-noreply@xxxxxxxxxxxxx> (Redacted sender "Jlsperanza@xxxxxxx" for DMARC)
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Sat, 14 Feb 2015 18:01:51 -0500

In a message dated 2/14/2015 3:51:10 P.M.  Eastern Standard Time, 
jejunejesuit.geary2@xxxxxxxxx writes:
Some day I'm  going to read this piece about Gonville and Caius and I will 
reply  straightaway,  don't you dare doubt that.  

"Don't you dare doubt..."
 
That reminds me of Cartesian, or 'il dubbio cartesiano', as the Italians  
call it. 
 
Incidentally, there was a misinterpretation in the previous, re: Post's  
using Quine's 'veridical' paradox. Quine was having 'falsidical' as the  
antonym.
 
A falsidical paraodox, unlike Post's, establishes a result that not only  
appears false but actually is false, due to a fallacy in the demonstration.  
Thus, the various invalid mathematical proofs -- e.g., that 
 
1 = 2)
 
are classic examples of falsidical paradoxes, generally relying on a hidden 
 division by zero. Another class of examples include the inductive form of 
the  horse paradox, which falsely generalizes from true specific statements 
(usually  about horses).
 
The case Geary is referring to:
 
>this piece about Gonville and Caius 
 
is of a different, slightly more complicated -- or as he prefers  Gödelian, 
sort.
 
Take John Ridd.
 
Possibly having read Nancy Mitford, "U and non-U", he (Ridd) knew that  
'college' should be avoided -- as "University" (in expressions like "Harvard  
University". It is OBVIOUS that Harvard is a university: the addition of  
"University" violates one of Grice's maxims of conversation, "Do not be more  
informative than is required". While Harvard was also a man, "He went up to  
Harvard" only under special circumstances could 'implicate' that he went up 
to  see the man (named Harvard). 
 
Mitford says that also "Hall" should be avoided, when it comes to Stately  
Homes: "We visited Keddleston" does -- "We visited Keddleston Hall" is too  
pompous to Mitford's ears, and possibly to those who LIVE at Keddleston.
 
In any case, John Ridd graduated from Gonville and Caius. And that is  that.
 
Bartley is a different animal. Perhaps not having read Mitford, "U and  
Non-U", he does use 'College' once in "The retreat to Commitment", and  
"University" as applied to Harvard:
 
"I am grateful to Harvard University," he writes, "; the United 
States  Educational (Fulbright) Commission in the United Kingdom; the 
Danforth  Foundation; Gonville and Caius...; and the Hoover Institution,  
Stanford."

A second occurrence appears in the backcover:
 
" Bartley's previous appointments include the Warburg Institute of the  
Universi- 
ty of London; the London School of Economics and Political  Science; the 
University of California (Berkeley and San Diego); and Gonville  and Caius."
 
(I have omitted the reference to "College" in both occurrences). 
 
The use of 'college', besides violating Nancy Mitford's rule of usage, has  
the effect of cancelling any implicature that the complex phrase, "Gonville 
and  Caius" might otherwise trigger in the ignoramus.
 
It's slightly similar to a problem encountered by Sellars and Yeats when  
they wrote their History of England ("1066 and all that"), regarding William 
and  Mary.
 
"With Edward the Confessor perished the last English King (viz. Edward the  
Confessor), since he was succeeded by Waves of Norman Kings (French), 
Tudors  (Welsh), Stuarts (Scottish), and Hanoverians (German), not to mention 
the 
 memorable Dutch King-Williamanmary."
 
"Williamanmary: England Ruled by an Orange. WILLIAMANMARY for some reason  
was known as The Orange in their own country of Holland, and were popular as 
 King of England because the people naturally believed it was descended 
from Nell  Glyn. It was on the whole a good King and one of their first Acts 
was the  Toleration Act, which said they would tolerate anything, though 
afterwards it  went back on this and decided that they could not tolerate the 
Scots."
 
"It was Williamanmary who first discovered the National Debt and had the  
memorable idea of building the Bank of England to put it in. The National 
Debt  is a very Good Thing and it would be dangerous to pay it off, for fear of 
 Political Economy."
 
Quine considers all these a falsidical paradoxes.
 
It is raining and it is windy
---- Therefore, it is windy
 
Quine calls this 'the elimination of 'and'' (Bartley too) and it's a valid  
syllogism.
 
But some people disagree. Especially those who don't abide by HPG's  
teaching. Consider:
 
Smith likes peaches and cream
---- Therefore Smith likes peaches
 
Only a Griceian (like Harnish or me -- never mind HPG -- who KNEW) would  
accept that as 'valid' -- the suggestion that Smith likes the 'combo' and 
that  therefore it does not follow from his liking peaches and cream that he 
likes  peaches is a mere cancellable implicature ("Smith likes peaches; in 
fact,  peaches and cream").
 
Now, if Bartley graduated from Gonville and Caius, it should follow that he 
 graduated from Caius.
 
This is valid, since Gonville and Caius IS [like "United States" we have to 
 use the singular here] often referred to, simply, as Caius (which is odd, 
since  Caius refounded Gonville, and renamed Gonville and Caius)
 
Again, to deduce that since Bartley graduated from Gonville and  Caius, 
Bartley graduated from Gonville, would be misleading (if not  false).
 
Perhaps to say that he graduated from Caius and Gonville would also be  
odd, but true (cfr. "It is windy and it is raining; therefore, it is raining 
and  it is windy" -- "She only has a black-and-white television set; 
therefore, she  only has a white-and-black television set").
 
It should be pointed out that, for the record -- but logicians don't care  
much about truth-value when they speak of 'valid' -- cfr. 'valid' vs. 
'correct'  -- Bartley never graduated from Gonville and Caius, even if he was 
affiliated  with Gonville and Caius -- and (very) grateful he was to Gonville 
and Caius, as  he writes in "The retreat to commitment". 
 
Cheers,
 
Speranza
 
 
 
 
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