[lit-ideas] g

  • From: Adriano Palma <Palma@xxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: "lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx" <lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Sun, 5 Apr 2015 11:58:40 +0000

Grice's mother burped twice on Thursday night.
This implicates the paradigm and the budokan affaire.

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Subject: [lit-ideas] Re: Linguistic Botany

Grice mentions the paradigm-case argument, but with caution. He is proposing to
interpret what the 'master', J. L. Austin, might have thought about it, since
it was developed by his 'junior colleagues' at Oxford, such as Urmson. Grice
thinks that Austin would have withhold support of this type of argument. It
doesn't implicate Grice did!

Grice sees it as an example of the defense of common sense by displaying
things to which an expression 'applies, if it applies to anything at all'.
But he takes the moral from Austin that one has to be careful, since he sees
something 'dogmatic' about the paradigm-case argument, and the fruits of
linguistic botanizing should never lead to yet another dogma (or underdogma as
Grice prefers).

In a message dated 4/4/2015 9:53:04 A.M. Eastern Daylight Time,
omarkusto@xxxxxxxxx writes:
This should suffice to dismiss the so-called paradigm case argument:
Watkins, Farewell to the Paradigm Case Argument, Analysis.

Watkins's affiliation is not the Oxford sub-faculty of philosophy but the
school of economics, and economics being a science -- although there is such
thing as the philosophy of economics -- expect him to be bound to crticise
(like Lord Russell did, being a mathematician at heart) an Oxonian
metaphysician such as Flew, especially if belonging to the revolutionary new
school of ordinary language philosophy ("Bring your qualification. Only one
required: mastery of your ordinary language.").

Watkins, who taught at London -- for students who said they were attending the
'school of economics' to become 'economists', not philosophers) is then
supposed to have an anti-Oxonian bias, and he specifically refers to Flew's
invention of the 'argument from paradigm cases" (in "Essays in conceptual
analysis") and its application to one particular sphere within 'philosophical
theology': the idea that a man "acted of his own free will".

Flew notes it refutes Determinism, as ordinarily understood (for either 'free
will' applies to expressions which the philosopher qua linguistic botanist has
identifed as paradigmatic, or it doesn't appy at all"). Flew notes the
expression is ordinary, not some technical term of art introduced by some
obscure continental philosopher like Leibniz. If it doesn't refute
Determinism, and Watkins is right here, it is because the philosopher, while
doing linguistic botanising, provides, in a second step, an "EXTRA-ORDINARY",
rather than merely "ORDINARY" interpretation to an ordinary-language
expression (e.g. takes Kantian idea of 'freedom' quoting extensively in German
from his "Metaphysics of Morals").

Seems fair enough. For the record, Watkins's sources then are TWO essays by

-- the intro to "Essays in conceptual analysis" -- that contains Hart, etc.
-- the intro to "New essays in philosophical theology", from which the free
will 'argument from paradigm cases' is applied. '

And for the record, too, Flew was a tutee of Grice at St. John's.

Watkin's alleged counterexample is the use, by some, of the word


as in

i. "That was a miracle"

may be an ordinary-language expression (some doubt it -- Geary: ""Miracle"
is one of the few English extra-ordinary words"). Therefore, there are

I would add the adverb, often used metaphorically (i.e. via implicature):

ii. He saved his life miraculously (after such a horrible crash on the highway
-- he wasn't using his seat belt and texting).

(When opera or melodramma was forbidden in Italy during Easter, a new form was
created -- 'oratorio' -- which became popular without Italy, too, not just
within Italy -- Handel was a master of it. Oratorios usually feature miracles,
but then so does ordinary melodramma, with their 'deus ex machina'
devices -- end of topical interlude).

---- Watkins goes on to quote from C. K. Grant (whom we know for his brilliant
"Pragmatic Implication", predating Grice in part). Grant's essay that Watkins
quotes is "Polar concepts and metaphysical arguments' (The Aristotelian
Society), which we can apply to 'miracle'.

Grant argues that the fact that

That was a miracle.

can be analysed SYNTACTICALLY (or "He saved his life miraculously") Grant
notes, does not mean that it will be analysed SEMANTICALLY in a way that the
philosopher will have to commit to this semantic or conceptual analysis.

Watkins goes on to quote from Gellner (also London associated, if originally
from France) that Grice knew well because he had dared criticise
ordinary-language philosophy (as Bergmann had) "without caring to understand
it, never mind belong to the Play Group" -- the implicature being that Gellner
would not have been admitted. (Bergmann, on the other hand, at least was once
invited to a meeting of the Play Group, but provided what Grice found a lame
excuse: "I have other things to do than waste my time with some English
futilitarians" (Grice later ended up treasuring this anecdote -- "even if we
have to admit that Bergmann was being rude", or direct, in a German sort of
way -- "but he was obviously referring to Dr. Stephen's long history of The
English Utilitarians, with a twist").

Watkins adds 'responsible' to Flew's "freewill," and quotes from a
psychiatrist who claims that Smith married his girlfriend "not of his own free
will" (the psychiatrist is being a determinist, alla Freud), not in a
responsible way, as a smiling groom does, but because he was coerced by some
compulsion he had acquired in his early years of his psychological development
(and which was possibly genetic, too). Flew does not consider these cases, as
Watkins notes, because, naturally, Flew is arguing with other philosophers
(metaphysicians who diverge their use of words from ordinary language), not
psychiatrist, and we know that there is NOTHING ordinary about the way
psychiatrists speak! (Watkins was into philosophy of science and possibly
thought of psychiatry as a hard neurology-based science, but one thing is to
analyse the object-language of the psychiatrist, and another to analyse the
'semantics' of his meta-language that turns psychiatry, and the endorsement of
determinism, 'scientific').



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