[lit-ideas] the sexist nature of these idiotic examples

  • From: Adriano Palma <Palma@xxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: "lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx" <lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Mon, 14 Sep 2015 05:59:09 +0000

The sexist bullshit is atrocious in these old farts: it is rational to have
babies after marrying one of them?
Come off...

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Subject: [lit-ideas] Re: Copy of The Philosophy of Logical Atomism, 1918

In a message dated 9/13/2015 6:54:04 A.M. Eastern Daylight Time,
donalmcevoyuk@xxxxxxxxxxx writes:
True to type,

Hey, but he manages to quote from

J. O. Urmson, a genius.

Pears refers to Urmson's gem, "Philosophical Analysis: its development between
the two world wars".

-- He is referring to what the British called the 'world wars' (not the
British war against the Zulus, which predated them).

Urmson uses an example against logical corpuscularism.

i. He took off his trousers and jumped to bed.
ii. He jumped to bed and took off his trousers.

Grice later referred to this example in the William James lectures. If

iii. He took off his trousers.

is what Russell calls an 'atom' (and McEvoy, metaphorically, a phlogiston), so

iv. He jumped to (his) bed.


v. p & q iff q & p

Grice adds, "It would be odd, to use an example by Strawson, to say that Mary
had a baby and got married when what actually happened is that Mary got married
AND THEN had a baby, but this "then" is implicatural in nature; it follows from
expecting people to be orderly in reporting what they report
-- and that's a rational maxim if ever there was one!".

Pears is modest enough to rely a quotation to himself to a footnote ("I don't
know why they call them footnotes, since a page is not a leg") his own book,
"Questions in the philosophy of mind", and he is modest enough not to promote
its publishers: Duckworth (their logo was a duck, because "duckworth" means
"worth a duck").

I LOVED Pears's footnote (this is where he places his implicatures) to
Prichard's Oxford lectures on Hume that Russell never attended ("Russell's
loss", being the implicature).

Pears notes that, while a celebrated member of Austin's Play Group (that met on
Saturday mornings) he had broader interests, such as learn what's going on
with the Wilde lecturer in mental philosophy (here 'mental' is an Oxonian
usage), as when he quotes, again in a footnote, from G. Evans, "Varieties of
Reference". I love Evans because he helped to bring to the mainstream a
non-mainstream notion: Grice's idea of a 'dossier'.

To use an example by Urmson (Proceedings Aristotelian Society):

A: Jones just brought the letter.
B: You mean the postman.
A: Yes. His name is Jones.
B: I agree, but the dossier you should apply here is "the postman" -- never
mind his family name!

For Grice, dossiers need to overlap when we converse (unless they don't).
For Evans, these dossiers are COGNITIVE, not conversational, and that was
Evans's big mistake!

Pears's notes are genial, in that they re-write Russell's rather dated prose
into what was then the Oxford vernacular (Pears published the notes in 1985).
They surely helped Oxonians to diggest Russellianism in ways that not having
them would have not!

Pears once heard Grice say, "I heard Austin said, "Some like Witters but
Moore's MY man.""

Pears was offended, but didn't say. "MY man?".

The effect was long-term: after Grice's death, Pears became the most important
Wittgensteinian scholar, superseding, some say, even P. M. S. Hacker, who
succeeded the succesor of Grice as philosophy tutor at St. John's. I say "some
say" because I believe Hacker's "Insight and Illusion" is a gem.

Pears loved the meadows of Christ Church, and it is true to say that, while
Grice had affiliations with Corpus Christi, Merton (THE philosophical college
-- as Hammondsworth Scholar) and St. John's: Magdalen (pronounce /ˈmɔː dlɨn/
with an Oxford accent, not to confuse the addressee that one is in
Cambridge*) and Christ Church are, from an architecturally picturesque point
of view, the ones that are bound to bear more appeal.



* The college in Cambridge is spelt "Magdalene" but pronounced /ˈmɔːdlɪ n/
with a *Cambridge* accent -- Russell's accent in fact.

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