[lit-ideas] Unco-operative Lies

  • From: jlsperanza@xxxxxxx
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Tue, 18 May 2010 17:52:08 -0400


"We have core
beliefs -- implanted in us by our world -- and we judge actions good or bad
depending on how they accord with our core beliefs."


As Phil Enns writes: it all combines.

Again, consider the Gestapo case that Phil Enns thinks simplistic, and cfr. with Grice´s view.

For Grice, the coooperative principle is "like the Kantian categorical imperative, only different". It is alike it in that from it springs various "maxims" which are thus "harmonic" rather than "bundled chaotically".

The cooperative principle states what it states. The question is, then, who would cooperate with the Gestapo?

Within the cooperative principle falls the conversational maxim, "Try not to lie, if you can".

Grice wonders: ¨what is the basis for this?". Surely in our secular age, the Exodus "You shall not testify against your neighbor as a false witness." (In Hebrew: ed saqer (lying witness) ´nh (answer) neighbour (rea)" -- thanks to L. K. H. for pointing to me Child´s translation) may NOT be what we have in mind. Rather, as Grice puts it,

¨It is JUST A WELL-RECOGNISED empirical fact that people DO behave thus. They havelearned to do in childhood and have NOT lost the HABIT of doing so. Indeed, it would involve a GOOD deal of effort to make a radical departure from the habit. It is much easier to tell the truth than to invent lies." (WoW:33).

Of course he is writing as an Oxford philosopher ("conversational maxims prescribe what any decent chap should do", -- archival material cited by Chapman, "Grice", 2006). It may be different in Germany!


J. L. Speranza
-- for the Grice Club
----- Bordighera, etc.

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