[lit-ideas] Re: Valid-Some Thoughts

  • From: Jlsperanza@xxxxxxx
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Tue, 25 Dec 2007 10:31:10 EST

Valid Redux
I wrote:
>>I have never (so far) been too persuaded or convinced that there is  a
>>distinction need or worth making [to support
>>               'I'm persuaded, but not
>>               convinced" 
>>but as Grice and Warnock would say (following Austin), 
>>if the English language deploys such a  distinction,
>>there must be a logic to it.

McCreery commented:

>I am not persuaded that this assumption, "if the English language  deploys
>such a distinction, there must be a logic to it" is valid.
It's a tricky point. Note that I wrote:
"As Grice _would_ say..."   -----   Not that he DID say  it
                                                 My source is
                                                 Warnock, G. J., "Saturday 
                                                         written especially 
for Isaiah Berlin, ed.
                                                         Austin 'memorial':
                                                         _Essays on Austin_
                                                later  repr. in his own 
"Language and Morality"
Then follows an 'if' statement, easily formulable a la "PM"  
(Whitehead/Russell "Principia Mathematica" -- my kind of 'logic' -- what Grice  
'modernist logic' to oppose it to 'neo-traditionalist' logic of his  pupil P. 
Strawson -- Grice was slightly infuriated when for all he had  defended 
or 'modernist logic', it's his pupil Strawson who writes on 
               "I'm not the king of France and I'm not bald"
               "The king of France is not bald since he does not exist"
               "I'm not bald since I don't exist"
-- in _Mind_ (then edited by Ryle) and gets the reply by Lord Russell  
himself, "Mr. Strawson on referring" (now repr. in various collections, notably 
"Language and Analysis" by Russell). A rather superficial reply by Russell, if  
you ask me, but he was into justifying bigamy at that time.
So we would have
Grice perhaps willing to endorse the conditional
     p ) q
I'm using ")" for the 'horseshoe' which is the symbol used by Whitehead and  
Russell. It's notably _not_ the arrow --> which will later be used for  
'strict implication', rather than Philonian material implication I was  meaning:
The protasis being:

p: English deploys a distinction, such that
         it is not too  shockable to hear a gentleman say,
                  "I am persuaded but hardly convinced"
and the apodosis
    q: there _must_ be a logic to it.
Again, I was quoting from memory, and Warnock is very fussy as to how the  
conditional or assumption was to be verbalised. I don't have that essay to 
 but ran along the lines, "We found that the English language was making the  
right distinctions, but also the right _mergings_" (which had led Grice to 
say,  "How clever language is". In _Grice_ (Palgrave) we read that one such  
_unnecessary distinction_ (in the English language) is between
         "representation of a  cow"
--- We don't need two definitions of 'horse' (I follow Kilgariff, in "I  
don't believe in word senses"):
            horse,  n.quadruped mamal, used in fox-hunting. Also, fig. 
representation of a  hose
                         (usually by Stubbs).
Grice and Warnock -- following the interest of J. O. Urmson who was  
delivering the Annual Philosophical Lecture at the British Academy in London on 
object of the _five_ senses -- wanted to challenge, in a friendly way,  
Urmson, that perhaps there is a _lexical_ gap when it comes to the object of  
We do say:

"I sensed a cow"
       SENSE 1:   I smelt a cow  (i.e. I smelt the _manure_ of a cow)
       SENSE 2:   I touched a cow  (I touched the _skin_ of a cow)
       SENSE 3:   I tasted a cow  (i.e. I tasted the bitter milk out of her 
mammary gland).
       SENSE 4:   I heard a cow  (i.e. I heard the sound or mow she made as I 
sucked her)
      SENSE 5:    I saw a  cow.
is more than enough for the uses of 'see'. To expand into: "I saw a  _vision_ 
a cow" would be Miltonesque, merging on the Blakeian. Not something an  
English gentleman of the Laconic type that counts would _say_. 
For some reason, Grice and Warnock were _not_ feeling too laconic that day  
(which was _not_, incidentally, Warnock notes, a Saturday morning -- since 
under  the fulminant 'vision' of Austin, it's all different) thought to 
're-introduce'  the Latinate
for 'vision', and thus play around with "seeing a visum of a cow", etc.  
Grice went to write a few drafts on these "Visa", "More on Visa" are there to 
expected by the Chair of the Grice Club and its members. Delightful material, 
I  would say. Grice seems to have ultimately conclude that 'visum' was an  
'otiosity' and not complying with the rational economy of the English language  
(his maxims are meant to display).
But back to the 'if' sentence:
p ) q       
                        p É q
If there is a _verbal_ distinction, there is a _conceptual  distinction.
This is the way W. C. O. and Donal McEvoy are interpreting the thing, and  we 
have W. C. O. telling us that he tells his students "no no no". We shoud hear 
 what his students say! 
'if' clauses of the material type (Philonian) are terribly economical.  Grice 
for one would never use "then", as in "if ..., then ..." because he  thought 
that was not what he meant by saying the plain, truth-functional, "if  ..., 
..." (and he even held doubts there. Famously, the only reply in print  by 
Strawson to Grice is entitled, "If and )", where Strawson calls Grice's  
"more beautiful" -- and thus persuading but not enough to convince a  die-hard 
neo-traditionalist (or 'traditionalist' as I prefer) like him.
I did use 'logic' in the apodosis, and feel free to replace it by anything  
in agreement with Whitehead/Russell.

>I am not persuaded that this assumption, "if the English language  deploys
>such a distinction, there must be a logic to it" is valid.
There is one easy way to combine the Russell/Whitehead (but R. Paul will  let 
us know perhaps if 'decidability' for the classical system can be ascribed  
to Whitehead and Russell himself -- rather than Goedel) 'true' with  'valid'.
I expect we can restrict to assign the truth-value "true" (or as Grice  
prefers, "1") to "p ) q".
         p     )    q
          1    1    1
         1    0     0
         0    1    1
         0    1     0
The way to introduce 'valid' in this matter seems to be to analyse it in  
terms of the analytic truth of the 'associated (material) implication' -- which 
is a bit tricky in that we are finding validity in terms the analytic truth 
(or  tautology) of the associated conditional (or implication, or if-clause) of 
an  argument that involves an if-clause in the first place. There are various 
ways  of doing it.
One could be
                p ) q
i.e. ""p ) q" follows for anything". This would be valid if the associated  
conditional made up of a protasis containing all the premises and the apodosis  
containing the conclusion is a tautology.
Suppose we assume it derives from a _contradiction_
              r  & ~ r
So the associated conditional would be:
It has to be a tautology that
               (r  & ~r)   )   (p )  q)
                   0         1
                   0                0
                   0                1
                   0                1

This _is_ indeed, a tautology, so the argument is valid.
             (r  & ~r)   )   (p )  q)  

 0     1        1
                   0     1         0
                   0     1         1
                   0     1         1
The 'meta-logical' way to mark this is using the 'assertion' operator  before 
the whole claim:
Let "/" be the assertion operator, we write:
/(r & ~r), or "Geary likes pigeons or he doesn't" therefore, "if  English 
makes a distinction, there _is_ a distinction".
Surely that's not the meaning of 'valid' we are looking for here. 

One way would be to go one step _prior_ in the logical process (as a  
traditionalist or neo-traditionalist but not a modernist -- or classicist of 
Gricean ilk would do) and assume that there was a sense of 'inference' in the  
original "p ) q"
Then we could assume "p" to play the role of _premise_ and "q" the role of  
_conclusion_. Anathema for the classicists!
So the reconstructed argument would be:
            English  makes a distinction here
           There _is_ a  distinction to be made
Where for emphasis we can say, "ergo" or "therefore" before "There  is...".
And it is this which I took McCreery to mean when saying that he didn't  find 
the "p ) q" valid.
Indeed it isn't, because it has the form of

and that is _never_ a valid argument (the associated conditional is a  
contingency, not a tautology:

p     )    q
          1    1    1
         1    0     0
         0    1    1
         0    1     0

One way to defend the _validity_ -- and an elementary one at this point --  
would be to 'quantify' the thing, and start talking about 'subjects' and  
'predicates' and individuals and attributes. Also we should consider the 'must' 
the original apodosis, and thus perhaps introduce some quantifier importing  
the modal distinction.
Let us focus on one utterance:
       "I am persuaded but not  convinced"
this makes sense.
The reverse,
      "I am convinced but not  persuaded"
also makes sense.

So it seems that contra the definitions provided  by McCreery, neither 
'convince' nor 'persuade' is a necessary nor a sufficient  condition for the 
They are not only different _verbs_ but different  _concepts_.
Let us assume that we do not judge 'inappropriate' (what linguists mark by  
"*") the utterance (as "I know it's raining but it is false it is raining" 
would  be marked *).
So we are saying that from the 
       Lack of inappropriateness of any  utterance in the dialogue below
                 Tomkinson-Palmer: "Persuaded but not Convinced"
                 Linley:   "Convinced but not Persuaded"
                 Tomkinson-Palmer: Pax then?
                 Linley: I _guess_ so.
there is a _need_ of the English language to _make_ the distinction. What's  
wrong or 'invalid' or 'unsound' about it. Tomkinson-Palmer and Linley are  
perfectly native speakers of the English language and they find the distinction 
useful. Therefore, such a distinction has to be respected _and_  maintained.
As it happens for Grice (and for me) things work different.
When lecturing at Wellesey (of all places), he was confronted by the W. C.  
O. types -- they were all girls --,
          "But Mister Grice,  surely philosophy is more than verbal dispute!"
    GRICE. Meaning...
    WELLESEYAN.  Concepts. Clarification of  concepts.
    GRICE. Oh, I do have my concepts clarified, thank  you.
What do you mean,
This is what he writes in WOW:

"Even if my assumption of what goes for me goes for others is mistaken, it  
does not matter; my philosophical puzzles have arisen in connection with my use 
 of E [or E1 and E2 -- if we are talking of a distinction here], and my  
conceptual analysis will be of value TO ME (and to any others who may find that 
their use of E [or E1 and E2] coincides with mine). It may also be of value to  
those whose use of E is different, though different only in minor respects, 
from  mine; but if this is not so, then we have a different use of E [or E1 and 
E2],  to be dealt with separately, to be subjected to separate conceptual 
analysis.  This we can do _if the need arises_ (since cooperation in conceptual 
analysis  does not demand identity as regards the uses of the analyzed 
expressions; I can,  with you, attempt the conceptual analysis of your use of 
expression, even if  your use is different from mine)."
Urmson has "Some questions concerning validity" -- R. I. P. -- Revue  
International de Philosophie -- repr. in Flew, which is interesting too.
I'm tending to regard 'I am convinced' and 'I am pesuaded' as _rhetorical_  
parentheticals (Urmson also has 'Parentheticals', repr. in Caton) and the roots 
 of the two words are different enough to encompass different uses. 
"convince"  has this war-like or military side to it, "I'm lost to go to Paris" 
*"I am convinced to go to Paris, not that I _want_ to") which seems absent  in 
the smoother (but also dangerous) 'persuade' ("*I am persuaded to go to  
Paris, not that I want to"). In this respect it may illuminate the intricate  
connextions between propositional content (sometimes abbreviated, as in 'to'  
expressions, "to go to Paris") and ethics, at least of the teleological kind,  
is good to go to Paris".
Thus, "I am convinced to go to Paris"
not only implicates that somebody is doubting that ("methinks the lady doth  
protest too much" -- why not just say, "We go to Paris" -- majestic 'we'), but 
 that the utterer is convinced that it is good to go to Paris. Ditto for  
'persuade'. Yet, surely the truth-conditions need not be identical, and we  
should have to qualify good for who. "I am convinced to march to Balaclava" --  
because the idiot of the general took an 'or' for a 'if' -- see "The Reason 
-- and so "I am convinced it is good to march to Balaclava", and immortally  
speaking perhaps it _was_ and _is_ good, but one should not let one of the  
children of the marcher think otherwise -- never regret, never complain, never  
explain -- no use regretting.
J. L. Speranza
   Buenos Aires, Argentina

**************************************See AOL's top rated recipes 

Other related posts: