nothing is said
though the use of the colonial
terminology is very disturbing on two points
On Thursday, August 3, 2017, Redacted sender jlsperanza for DMARC <
In Italian, it's "part.", not 'detail' -- but the Oxford says that
'detail' was used by King Alfred, so there!
In my previous "Popper and Grice on conceptual analysis" I focused on
McEvoy's noun "analysis" in his phrase "detailed analysis". In this one,
I'll go passage by passage through what he wrote, focusing on the
"Among the issues we might otherwise discuss is the alleged failure of
Popper to provide "detailed analysis" or do detailed work (of a kind
beloved by some analytic philosophers)."
Note that "detailed analysis" occurs in a disjunctive clause ("this or
that"). In both disjuncts, 'detailed' occurs, so I take that McEvoy's focus
is on detail, rather than analysis.
"This was long ago the complaint of JL Mackie in his review of Popper's
Oddly, H. P. Grice focused on J. L. Mackie's Penguin book when he
delivered the first Paul Carus lecture -- Mackie's "Inventing right and
wrong". Mackie was what Grice called a 'colonial', but Oxford-educated. He
"and it resurfaces in the review of this Cambridge Companion."
This is odd, since the second disjunct mentions "analytic philosophers,"
and Cambridge philosophers, just to be different, may NOT so easily embrace
the Oxford-type of philosophical analysis.
"There is something to this charge: for example, (1) Popper does not
present a detailed working out of how his theory of World 1, 2 and 3 would
apply to explain to a given experience, such as writing (or reading) this
Here "detailed" applies to 'working out' of this or that. Interesting.
"(2) Popper does not present his theory of democracy in a way that
provides a detailed working out of what would be the preferred voting
systems, or the balance of powers between executive-legislature-judiciary
(Popper did write a late period essay against proportional representation,
a very fine one, and one that drew on his account of democracy - but it did
not follow analytically from that account, and was not based on 'analytic'
but largely practical considerations)"
Here again it's 'detailed working out' -- and the final parts of the
passage make a passing mention to what I focused in my previous post, the
"(3) Popper does not present sets of detailed workings out of how the
logic of falsificationism applies to clarify the workings of actual
Like in (1) and (2), here it is 'detailed working out' of this and that.
As opposed to an Undetailed working out, I suppose. Questionnaire for
Geary: who is the most undetailed philosopher ("Sartre, of course.")
"Yet there is a defence also for this so-called 'lack of detail'."
So-called by McEvoy or is this a reference to the Cambridge book? The
Italians call this 'particolare'. As in "Mona Lisa (part.)". The idea is
that details are important. In fact, I LOVE to see 'details' or particulars
of this or that painting. "Lack of detail" can be taken LITERALLY. ("His
prose is very undetailed" sounds harsh, but it may relate to Witters's
craving for generalities, which he ascribed to ALL philosophers, or to
Isaiah Berlin and the fox who knows ONE THING but no details about nothing.
"It is part of Popper's aim to stick to big ideas and not get lost in
comparatively unimportant detail."
Here 'comparatively' is a logical adverb: compared to a big idea, detail
is obviously unimportant. I'm never so sure. When Da Vinci painted "Mona
Lisa," little did he know that the marvel would be in the detail of her
smile. Vide Julia Roberts, and Cole Porter, "You're the tops, you're the
smile on the Mona Lisa").
"Moreover, Popper is too rational to shore up big ideas with spurious
support in the form of details (when such details might provide a
convincing appearance but rationally do not support the idea being advanced
as against its alternatives)."
Here it's plural: 'details'. This is interesting. Consider "Jones told me
the story in detail" sounds okay. "Jones told me the story in details"
"To return to example (3), even a detailed set of analyses of actual
examples of scientific debates, in terms of a falsificationist methodology,
would not show that those examples were not consistent with an alternative
inductive account - it might just be spurious to think such detailed
examination provided 'rational grounds' for falsificationist methodology
(as opposed to the arguments that _the logic_ of such a methodology does
not raise problems of logical validity that attend its inductive
Were we are mixing -- as per my previous post -- 'detail' with 'analysis'
and while McEvoy does not use 'detailed analysis' he uses "deetailed SET of
"It is also true that Popper prefers to work on big ideas and leave
certain kinds of detailed examination to others (of course much detailed
examination goes into Popper's work, but without it then being presented as
if the result of such detailed examination _instead it is presented in
terms of key arguments_)."
Here 'detailed' is applied to 'examination'. Perhaps 'case' is what I am
having in mind. Casuistic or case study -- or case by case illustrations.
Those would be 'detailed examination'."
"If the devil is in the detail, then Popper prefers to leave plenty of
work for the devil."
"God is in the detail" has been attributed to a number of different
individuals, most notably to German-born architect Ludwig Mies van der
Rohe <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ludwig_Mies_van_der_Rohe> by
*The New York Times. <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_New_York_Times>*Oddly,
Mrs. van der Rohe was an atheist.
However, the phrase is generally accepted NOT to have originated with Mies
van der Rohe (or her atheistic wife).
The expression appears to have been a favourite of German art historian Aby
Warburg, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aby_Warburg> though Warburg's
biographer, E.M. Gombrich, is likewise uncertain if it originated with
("It is possible that he heard it in the streets. He frequented the oddest
For what is worth, an earlier form, "*Le bon Dieu est dans le détail"*
("the GOOD God is in the detail") is attributed to Gustave Flaubert
*, a rather famous French author.Bartlett's Familiar Quotations
the saying's author as anonymous -- which hardly helps.
("I use the phrase 'anonymous' when I have no idea where the familiar
quotation originates. Still, as my aunt advisees me, "You can still call
The phrase has several variants: *(The/A) Devil (is) in the Detail(s)*.
The original expression as, "God is in the detail" most likely had the
expression ending with "detail" (without an "s"), colloquial usage often
ends the idiom as "detail*s*"; where the word "detail" without an "s" can
be used as both a singular and collective noun -- as in 'pizza'.
However, the SINGULAR word "detail" has evolved to mean other terms in
some cultures, such as a military security detail
<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Security_detail> as a duty assignment, or
detailing <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Detailing> a car as cleaning or
polishing a vehicle ("to detail"), and so the plural form, "details" has
been used to more clearly indicate the finer points of a topic.
On top, Geary pluralises the devils: the devils ARE in the details. (His
eschatology is complex).
More recently, the expressions "Governing (is) in the Detail(s)" and
"(The) Truth (is) in the Detail(s)" have appeared.
"But it is also true that Popper presents key ideas without always
indicating where he stands on certain resultant questions. For example, as
to the 'ontological status' of World 3, as some philosophers might call it,
we do not get a detailed answer in Popper's works."
Here 'detailed' is applied to 'answer'. This is analysed by Grice in terms
of conversational maxims:
A: Are you going to miss Uncle Ted and Aunt Agatha?
B: I'm going to miss Aunt Agatha.
The implicature seems to be that sine the answer is not 'detailed', there
is a "suggestio_falsi."
instead Popper writes, for example, (1) that he is not offering an
ontology (2) that World 3 content exists but in a sense exists "nowhere".
This is far from entirely satisfactory."
I.e. not detailed enough.
"Again though, there is a defence that can be made for this drawing back
from these kinds of issue, including that it is not possible to give
entirely satisfactory answers to such issues."
Satisfactory answers: detailed answers?
"We should take with a large grain of salt claims that various of Popper's
theories have been outpaced by historical developments e.g. that his theory
of demoracy is outmoded given the problems faced by modern democracies, or
his theory of scientific method is outmoded given more modern developments,
or that his theory of World 3-2-1 has been overturned by some or other
development in some or other field. What is true is that Popper's theories
leave unaddressed many detailed problems, and that while some such supposed
problems may be misconceived (e.g. the alleged disconnect between 'the
people' and their democratic representatives) some are very important, and
may even be so important that their answer inclines us to theories quite
different from Popper's.”
There is a portrait of Popper in the cover of the Cambridge book. If one
look at the details one learns quite a bit.
Similarly, there is a portrait of Grice at Merton in Oxford. The details
show that the photographer knew what he was doing.
"Detail" is not perhaps a philosophical piece of lexicon. The etymology
While used by King Alfred in Anglo-Saxon, 'detail' itself comes from c.
1600, from French "detail," from Old French "detail," meaning "small
piece or quantity," literally "a cutting in pieces," from detaillier "cut
in pieces," from de- "entirely" (see de-
taillier "to cut in pieces" (see tailor
So we have a noun coming from a verb. Strictly, to detail is to entirely
cut into pieces. The French do not specify WHAT they are cutting.
Modern sense is from French "en detail," "piece by piece, item by item"
(as opposed to "en gros").
And I say this is not a piece of philosophical lexicon in that it is a
commercial term used where we would today use "retail" -- but 'retailed
analysis' sounds 'en gros'.
The miliarty use of 'detail' is 1708, from the notion of "distribution in
detail of the daily orders first given in general," including assignment of
specific duties. The fact that Grice, qua captain of the Royal Navy, and
unlike Popper followed specific orders -- helps.