[lit-ideas] wittegenstein

  • From: Adriano Palma <Palma@xxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: "lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx" <lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Mon, 8 Jun 2015 06:42:18 +0000

Understood nothing of modalities, largely because of the demented views that he
calls ‘empiricism’- Frege set him straight, though dided too young to restrain
the aristocrat from Vienna from understanding nothing at all

From: lit-ideas-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx [mailto:lit-ideas-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx] On
Behalf Of Omar Kusturica
Sent: 07 June 2015 21:11
To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: [lit-ideas] Re: The Genealogy of Disjunction

The relevance of the Wittgenstein suggestion to my comment is unclear to me. I
doubt that W. had much to say about modal logic, relevance logic, multivalued
logic, fuzzy logic etc. since they did not exist then.


On Sun, Jun 7, 2015 at 4:55 AM, Omar Kusturica
<omarkusto@xxxxxxxxx<mailto:omarkusto@xxxxxxxxx>> wrote:
What Grice is trying to say is that 'or' as used by logicians is NOT
ambiguous: has only one sense, and this is the inclusive sense. His example:

Whore the logicians ? They seem to be a diverse bunch nowadays.

On Sun, Jun 7, 2015 at 4:05 AM, Redacted sender
Jlsperanza@xxxxxxx<mailto:Jlsperanza@xxxxxxx> for DMARC
<dmarc-noreply@xxxxxxxxxxxxx<mailto:dmarc-noreply@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>> wrote:
It all started with Geary.

He wrote that

"Auden tries to end it with an affirmative advocation that we "Love one
another or die." But I believe the consensus is that we all would rather die
than share our world."

Helm found

i. We must love one another or die.

MAUDLIN, if I recall aright, which is a lovely word, since "Magdalen" is my
favourite college in Oxford. Architecturally speaking.

Helm found, again if I recall right:

ii. We must love one another and die.

"less maudlin", which is, for those who have "Maudlin" as their alma mater,
a pity (or 'shame', as Geary might prefer).

Now, Omar K. was wondering about 'xor', a term of art used by some
philosophers to refer to what the Old Romans had as "aut".

The Romans were very severe with their language: 'aut' meant 'aut'.
However, the Romantic people that succeeded them (French, Italians, etc.) were
less full of 'gravitas', and the 'aut' got corrupted to 'ou' and 'o'. The sad
thing is that while the Old Romans used 'aut' EXCLUSIVELY, the Romantics


As Geary notes, this is rhyme, not reason. But the Griceian scheme seems to
run along these lines:

Auden should have written:

iii. We must love one another aut love.

After all, he did receive a classical education at East Anglia and Oxford,
and would expect his readers to catch the reference.

He used 'or'. "Or" does NOT derive from 'aut', but from 'other'.

What Grice is trying to say is that 'or' as used by logicians is NOT
ambiguous: has only one sense, and this is the inclusive sense. His example:

"My wife is in the garden or in the kitchen."

was criticised. But surely if their cottage had the usual disposition of
rooms, there is usually a door from the kitchen to the garden. And surely if
the wife was literally crossing the kitchen to go to the garden or vice
versa, there is an inclusive reading to that.

Palma was referring to the non-logical (I think his phrase was)
impossibility of a human being being at two locations at the same time.

In "Personal Identity", Grice opts for a 'logical construction' approach to
personal identity that would allow to affirm truthfully that

"My wife is physically in the kitchen, while her mind (part of her, surely)
is in the garden. This usually shows in her culinary outcome since she
uses herbs a lot".

In general, the implicature seems to work that if you happen to mean "aut",
since there is no such word in English (as there was in Ancient Rome) you
HAVE to add "but not both". But this is, again to repeat from Geary,
'rhyme', and not 'reason', and if Geary found Oscar Williams's letter to Auden
suggesting that the line read "We must love one another and/or die", "We must
love one another or die but not both" would NOT scan.

And scanning is one of the priorities of a poet of Auden's generation (as,
incidentally, Auden was).

In a message dated 6/5/2015 11:56:39 A.M. Eastern Daylight Time, omarkusto@
gmail.com<http://gmail.com> writes: "I am not sure what makes Exclusive
Disjunction not
truth-functional - can we see a couple of examples of that? Grice's reading of
disjunction is unconvincing. Of course, the use of 'or' in every-day
language is often vague as to whether the disjunction is inclusive or
but I don't think that introducing the implicature here helps much. "Tom is
a graduate student or teacher" should probably be understood as an
inclusive disjunction, unless otherwise specified. (There are graduate
students who
also teach.). "Tom is either in Washington or in Paris" can hardly be
understood as an inclusive disjunction, with or without implicature. Where the
ordinary language is vague, we must help ourselves by looking at the
context, not by arbitrarily assigning implicatures or lack of them."

Again, the key idea (or keyword) is that of uniguity. People overuse
'ambiguity', when uniguity does. If we take 'v' to be the SENSE of 'or', we
to find a way to interpret 'w' (exclusive disjunction) as an implicature.
And it's not difficult. Recall that Grice was ONLY INTERESTED in this
because his tutee in logic at St. John's, Sir (as he then wasn't) Peter F.
Strawson had written in the rather proudly entitled, "Introduction to logical
theory" that the logical constants in ordinary language have a different
SENSE from the sense with which logicians use it (he meant Whitehead and
Russell). He went to suggest that 'and' has TWO SENSES: the commutative one and
the 'temporal' one: "She got married and had a child" versus "She had a
child and got married". Urmson made fun of this when criticising Witters for
underestimating implicature in "Philosophical Analysis": "Witters went to bed
and took off his trousers" surely depicts the same 'state of affairs' as
"Witters took off his trousers and went to bed." It just happens to be a
maxim to the effect that one is usually orderly in reporting events. In the
case of "and not both", seeing that dropping the addition is a breach of this
other maxim that enjoins us to be 'as informative as is required', follows
the same pattern.

Of couse Auden could also disimplicate (mean less than he says and
disimplicature seems to come handy to poets when concerned with how lines 'read'
and/or scan).

Now, Helm is right that it's always dangerous (if I recall his wording
correct) to revisit one's poems, and Auden may have gone over the top when he
called the 'or' version 'trash' and opted for a version that precisely
contradicted the clause that he, for one reason or other, omitted in the
original version ("but not both").

When Hardy died (or rather before he died, since, to echo Witters, to die
is not a part of life) he stated in his will that he wished his heart to
remain in his beloved DORSET (see "Far from the Madd[en]ing Crowd", NOW
PLAYING). His will was respected, and his heart does lie in Dorset; the rest of
his body lies in a corner in Westminster's abbey (This to qualify Palma's
good example of "Marx's manuscripts are either in London or in Moscow, if not




Barrett/Stenner, The myth of exclusive "or". Mind.

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