I'm glad McEvoy found the link
of some interest. Some commentary, as I may proceed to analyse Marie McGinn's
views in more detail, in due time, of course.
McEvoy: "Thank you [Speranza] for this interesting url. It does chime in
important respects with the interpretation of Wittgenstein proposed in my posts
but it also contains claims that I find difficult to understand or accept. I
hope to post more on this in due course."
Good. We should find, since I love an 'ad hominem' more about Marie. It was
gracious of her to upload her thing and make it public. I am sorry that McEvoy
finds some claims by McGinn 'difficult to understand or accept.' This reminds
me of Grice. When he wrote "In defense of a dogma" with Strawson, 'understand
or accept' was his favourite 'truth or dare':
A: My neighbour's three-year old understands Russell's theory of types.
B: I find that hard to accept! ---- Implicature: Your claim is, in my view,
synthetic and false.
A: My neighbour's three-year old is an adult.
B: I find that hard to understand. ---- Implicature: Your claim is, in my view,
analytic and false.
A: I'm being metaphorical!
McEvoy goes on: "For now my observation is this: that there is something about
the saying/showing distinction that means it is hard to express or expound
(correctly) its application."
This may be analytic. I.e. if Witters is right that there is a crucial say/show
distinction, this may entail that this distinction is best _shown_ than said. I
take THAT to be what I may call McEvoy's paradox. While I like the 'expound',
I would prefer 'expose'. In a way, to expose, or expound, if you must, is like
'show', rather than 'say'. Grice prefers 'exhibit. He says that utterances are
of two types:
-- exhibitive: as when I say, "Those clouds are very dark."
--- Here for Grice, Utterer U exhibits his belief that those clouds are very
dark, with the intention that his Recipient, or Addressee will take U by his
word and also come to believe that those clouds are very dark.
-- protreptic: as when I say, "Get an umbrella!"
-- Here, the utterance being an imperative, Utterer U exhibits his DESIRE
that his Addressee do get an umbrella. There is a second desire, on the
utterer's part, that his addressee comes to DESIRE to get an umbrella, too.
Hence 'pro-treptic'. (Grice's point is subtle, and better shown than said, in
that he applies the exhibitive-protreptic distinction to imperatives, and not
to indicatives versus imperatives; but such was Grice).
McEvoy: "Second observation: in PI, W avoids 'direct expression' or 'express
expounding' in relation to the distinction and instead makes implicit use of it
- writing points that show the distinction rather than say it."
I think that I did notice this _shows_ in McGinn's essay, in that she cannot
quite QUOTE from Witters from "PI". This would be the result of McEvoy's
observation above, that Witters APPLIES it rather than exposes it -- the
say/show distinction, that is. This preponderance (if that's the word) or more
weight to the 'show' than the 'say' in the 'say/show' distinction may require
further analysis. Some things can be said. Some things can be shown. Witters's
point: some things that can NOT be said CAN, however, be shown. I don't think
Witters is proposing (but then nobody is, either) that that some things that
can be said CAN NOT be shown. This reminds me of Grice telling Strawson:
"If you cannot put it in symbols, it's not worth saying."
Here I take the 'symbols' as Witters's "logical form" (as in Sraffa, "What is
the logical form of THIS?"). Grice's implicature in his utterance to Strawson
seems to be that something can be SHOWN but not said it would be trivial to
spend much time or labour in _saying_ it. On the other hand, St. Augustine (in
his theory of signs) would say that 'a saying' is a kind of 'showing'. This is
perhaps more evident in the German of Witters. The Augustinian 'sign' becomes a
word that is cognate with 'teach', a token. A token, or sign, is SHOWN. An
ostensive sign, say. Now, Grice's 'symbols', in the quote, or Witters's
"logical form," may be understood as 'ostensive' in this 'usage': 'saying'
would be a form of 'showing', but not vice versa. Therefore, the distinction,
to echo Prichard, 'rests on a mistake'.
McEvoy: "Third: this may have been a wise move by W[itters], who thereby may
have avoided certain traps that his commentators have fallen into."
Indeed. What is ironic is that "wit" (as in "Witters") and 'wise' are cognate,
and Witters should have been aware of this -- never mind his commentators.
McEvoy: "Actually I've started now, and will link this to something Marie
McGinn says re saying/showing, with some comments of my own." Okay.
McEvoy quotes from McGinn: "This internal relation expresses itself in the fact
that what is the case if the picture is correct is precisely what the picture
pictures: the correctness of the picture is not something to which we can point
independently of the picture."
McEvoy comments: "The assertion after the colon seems implausible, both as a
matter of its truth and of the correct interpretation of TLP: surely “the
correctness of the picture” depends on whether the relevant state of affairs
exists as depicted - but whether this is so would seem independent of the
picture, and also something we can (and must) decide “independently of the
picture”? Perhaps [McGinn] means to say that “what it would mean for the
picture to be correct” is not something independent “of the picture” (and/or
not independent of the “internal relation” between the picture and what the
“picture pictures”) - but this is not what she writes. Had she written it, it
might seem to amount to only the banal observation that the ‘meaning’ of the
picture cannot be given “independently of the (meaning of the) picture”. But
truth and meaning are surely distinct or at least distinguishable, both in a
correct philosophy and in the TLP; and “correctness” (as in “the correctness of
the picture”) would seem a matter of its truth rather than its mere meaning
e.g. a picture with clear meaning could lack “correctness”. [McGinn] here
appears confused - in either her expression or (underlying) thought, or both.
Trying to discern where my view agrees and disagrees with [McGinn]'s is not
straightforward, as this above example may indicate. It is not the only example
where [McGinn] writes in a way that is either badly expressed or implausible or
Wow. Okay. Let's go back to McGinn's original utterance:
"This internal relation expresses itself in the fact that what is the case if
the picture is correct is precisely what the picture pictures:
the correctness of the picture is not something to which we can point
independently of the picture."
I think she may be trying to work with an implicit 'conceptual analysis' of
what the relation (in Russell's terminology in his theory of relations) of
'correctness'. One thing is the correctness of the picture, and, to boot,
another thing is the CRITERION for the correctness of the picture. Take Mona
Lisa. And now let's rephrase McGinn:
"This internal relation expresses itself in the fact that the fact that the
Mona Lisa is a very attractive lady is precisely what Da Vinci's "Mona Lisa"
McEvoy is right in focusing in what follows after the colon: "The correctness
of the "Mona Lisa" is not something to which we can point independently of the
In other words, Da Vinci is CORRECT in depicting the Mona Lisa as a very
attractive lady by painting his picture, "The Mona Lisa." 'Correctness' seems a
triadic relation, involving:
(a) Da Vinci (or the utterer or displayer or shower of the picture)
(b) the picture itself (as when in Oxford they speak of a picture gallery --
'painting' being considered 'vulgar').
(c) the depictum, as it were.