[lit-ideas] grice

  • From: Adriano Palma <Palma@xxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: "lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx" <lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Mon, 23 Mar 2015 18:00:35 +0000

Hp was not that stupid. While the maxims are norms they are not arbitrary in 
the below way. Hence bob is a good automechanic is not implicating that bob is 
not a good swimmer. The conditions invented by speranza have zilch to do with 
gricean philosophies (of which there are two, one interesting and one much 
less, imho)

From: lit-ideas-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx [mailto:lit-ideas-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx] On 
Behalf Of Omar Kusturica
Sent: 23 March 2015 13:33
To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: [lit-ideas] Re: Hartiana

Well, if implicatures may even be expected to override logical implications, it 
is difficult to see how they can be rationally discussed or analyzed. Pretty 
much it seems that statements can be interpreted to mean whatever Grice / JL 
want them them to mean, depending on how they are feeling at the moment. It is 
easy to see that the 'cooperative maxims' too are arbitrary enough that they 
can be used to support almost any inference. If I say for example that Bob is 
an automechanic, this can be construed as overinformative (I didn't really want 
to know what he does) or underinformative (I wanted to know much more about 
him)  as suits Grice/JL and here some kind of implicature apparently arises 
even though neither intended nor foreseen.


On Mon, Mar 23, 2015 at 11:45 AM, Redacted sender 
Jlsperanza@xxxxxxx<mailto:Jlsperanza@xxxxxxx> for DMARC 
<dmarc-noreply@xxxxxxxxxxxxx<mailto:dmarc-noreply@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>> wrote:
McEvoy is engaged in some discussion with R. Henning about what Hart would
have 'approximative equality' (McEvoy's recent example concerns the
comparative  size of breasts in females and males and male employer's contracts
with  secretaries).

BREAST is not a keyword in Hart's legal philosophy, but then it shouldn't.

"A structure of reciprocal and obligations" has an effect: "its  effect is
to create among individuals a moral and, IN A SENSE EQUALITY  to offset the
inequalities of nature."

He later develops this into a concept of 'approximative equality'.

Meanwhile, Omar K. is right in stressing that there may be something that
we may label 'illogical' about implicature. It's not deduction, and an
implicature is cancellable. Some logicians would label 'meta-linguistic'
negation ("King Henry VIII did not marry five times; he married six times")

This all has to do with Hart -- whom Grice compares with Mr. Puddle ("our
man in legal philosophy"). Grice is NOT saying

Hart = Mr. Puddle.

For one, Grice LOVED Hart. He is just using Puddle (not Hart) as an
example. In what ways can 'legal philosophy' be a maligning qualifier?

We are considering interactions of the sort:


A: This is  Mr. Puddle, our man in legal philosophy (+> he's not good at
legal  philosophy)
B: Aren't you maligning him?
PUDDLE: No, it's that's he's just  MEAN!

Note that in (I) the word "philosopher" is NOT used in either the  original

i. Mr Puddle is our man in legal  philosophy.

nor in the inference:

ii. Mr Puddle is not good at  legal philosophy.

So we have to be careful.

I think part of the  problem is in "our man" (cfr. "our woman"). Graham
Greene noted this in "Our man  in Havanna".

To be "our man in legal philosophy" may NOT entail that "our  man" is a
philosopher. He may be just good at TEACHING legal  philosophy.

Similarly, ""their alleged man in legal philosophy" is not  good at legal
philosophy" does not entail that "their man" is a  philosopher.

Surely when Warnock told Grice about a tuttee

"He has  beautiful handwriting" (+> He's hopeless at philosophy)

Warnock was  not even IMPLICATING that the tutee was a philosopher. So here
we may have a  similar case.

The issue seems to be with the noun,  'philosophy'.

If Puddle is "our man in legal philosophy" he should know  'legal
philosophy' and many other things too, so a description of him as "our  man in 
philosophy" sort of on occasion maligns him.

If the  inference is that IF Puddle is "our man in legal philosophy",
Puddle is no good  at legal philosophy, the issue is not whether Puddle is a 
or bad  philosopher but whether Puddle REALISES that philosophy, like
virtue, is entire.

Perhaps he doesn't -- or worse -- cares!

I think Grice is against  this trend he saw in USA: expertise and
specialisation that he had NOT had to  suffer while at Oxford. When compiling 
catalogue to "sell" philosophy at  UC/Berkeley, he was asked for what to write
under the line: "Specialty". As it  came out, it appeared as: "Specialty:
Philosophy of Language".

But he had  nightmares after that! And his own description in the catalogue
is more  inclusive, listing that he was in charge of graduate courses in
"Philosophical  Problems" and stuff.

It may be different with surgeons.

Or opera  singers.

Suppose the manager of La Scala describes a tenor:

"He is  our tenor at belcanto melodramma"

That seems to malign the tenor, in that  he possibly can sing Verdi, and
well, too!

Now to Omar's actual  wording:

In a message dated 3/22/2015 10:34:14 A.M. Eastern Daylight  Time,
omarkusto@xxxxxxxxx<mailto:omarkusto@xxxxxxxxx> writes:[O]n Grice's own stated 
premise that philosophy  is
entire, his inference that a man is maligned by saying that he is good at
[legal] philosophy is completely illogical. So either Grice was being illogical
here or he did not really believe that philosophy is an entire  virtue."

Well, provided it is an implicature, they (implicatures) ARE  often judged
to be 'illogical'. For example so-called meta-linguistic negation  (a sort
of implicature) has been called 'illogical' negation:

"King Henry  VIII did not marry five times; he marry six times."

----- I would  distinguish between:

i. He is our man in legal philosophy.

ii. He  is a good legal philosopher.

Indeed, for Grice (i) and (ii) are  connected, in some sort of illogical
(or if you want, defeasible) way, in that  (i) yields the NEGATION of (ii),

iii. He is not a good legal  philosopher.

That may be because, again, illogically, we tend to read (i)  as

iv. He is our man in legal philosophy BECAUSE he would be hopeless at
teaching anything else!


v. ALL HE IS is our man in legal  philosophy; we don't think qualified as
teaching other, more crucial, branches  of philosophy.

With Hart, it's all different, since he provided  conceptual analyses for
non-legal notions  like





'responsibility' ("Ascription of responsibility and rights").

and  Grice once heard Hart provide a conceptual analysis of

'carefully' as  in

vi. He made the calculation carefully.


vii. He  cooked the meal carefully.

Grice thought that Hart's conditions for the  use of 'carefully' were too
strong, and Grice also thought that Hart disagreed  with Grice on the use of
'carefully' in examples like

viii. He parked the  car carefully.


ix. He parked the car.

usually  IMPLICATES that he did it 'carefully'. In other words, 'carefully'
works like  'remember', for Grice:

x. I went to check in at the hotel, and they asked  my name, and
fortunately, I remembered it.

There is nothing wrong with  that in terms of truth-conditions or
truth-value. The thing is TRUE. But there  is an IMPLICATURE to the effect that

xi. On checking in the hotel, Grice  remembered his name.

has a misleading ring to it.

But surely the  adage for Oxford's man at implicature was: "Misleading, but

If a person were enrolled in a course labelled "Legal philosophy" he is
expected the instructor to answer metaphysical questions about Leibniz. That
seems to be Grice's (and mine!) expectations. Mine are perhaps lower in that
I  take, "Dunno" as an answer. More importantly, the instructor should
PROMOTE the  raising of PHILOSOPHICAL questions from those who enrolled in the
course (such  as "So, that's Leibniz's law, but with a differAnce, no?").

O. K. was wondering that by focusing too much on Hart's private life we are
 losing track of Hart's contribution to legal philosophy, a point made by a
few  authors who have criticised this professor of criminal law in London
who (on  advice from Mrs. Hart, who survived Professor Hart) unburied Hart's
diaries  ('which he should have burnt, anyway', Thomas Nagel says in the New
York Review  of Books -- 'his private life was his affair', and Mrs. Hart
was _notoriously_  indiscreet. One point O. K. makes is that lives of
professors are 'tedious', a  point also made by reviewers of this book by this
criminal law professor --. One  was pointing how they must spend most of their
times dealing with 'ungrateful  students' -- (Imagine: "The instructor didn't
really answer my question  about the co-relation between Leibniz's Law and
the meta-adjudication law";  or "The instructor didn't really answer my
question when I asked him if I could  go to the bathroom") so there's A LOT to
being 'our man in legal  philosophy' and perhaps ANOTHER lot in being the
greatest legal philosopher  ever, as perhaps Hart was!



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