What Preceded the Disquiet Junto
16 hours ago
If I were to end this reply to MacKay with the sentence 'There's glory for you' I would be guilty of arrogance and, no doubt, of overestimating the strength of what I have said, but given the background I do not think I could be accused of saying something unintelligible. I would be understood, and would I not have meant by 'glory' 'a nice knockdown argument'?Davidson approves of this reply (and then explains a disagreement I have here elided). Okay, let me just quote the money paragraphs and then I'll stop.
Humpty Dumpty is out of it. He cannot mean what he says because he knows that 'There's glory for you' cannot be interpreted by Alice as meaning 'There's a nice knockdown argument for you.' We know he knows this because Alice says 'I don't know what you mean by "glory"', and Humpty Dumpty retorts, 'Of course you don't – til I tell you.' It is Mrs Malaprop and Donellan who interest me; Mrs Malaprop because she gets away with it without even trying or knowing, and Donellan because he gets away with it on purpose.One more thing. I think that what this means is that when Wittgenstein asks us to consider whether I can say "bububu" and mean "if it does not rain I will go for a walk," the answer is yes, I can; but only after what he elsewhere calls "stagesetting." Before that, not so much (and certainly not by a Humpty Dumpty-like act of, say, inner ostention).
Here is what I mean by 'getting away with it': the interpreter comes to the occasion of utterance armed with a theory that tells him (or so he believes) what an arbitrary utterance of the speaker means. The speaker then says something with the intention that it will be interpreted in a certain way, and the expectation that it will be so interpreted. In fact this way is not provided for by the interpreter's theory. But the speaker is nevertheless understood; the interpreter adjusts his theory so that it yields the speaker's intended interpretation. The speaker has 'gotten away with it.' The speaker may or may not (Donellan, Mrs Malaprop) know that he has got away with anything; the interpreter may or may not know that the speaker intended to get away with anything. What is common to the cases is that the speaker expects to be, and is, interpreted as the speaker intended although the interpreter did not have a correct theory in advance. 
[I]n rejecting the abstractions and metaphor of [platonistic] Meanings and 'rails' on the one hand and the internalistic mentalism of inner facts of the matter on the other, one has not yet succeeded in rejecting what in Platonism underlies the search for these things being rejected. Without rejecting this deeper urge, one will no doubt find another such thing to gratify the Platonist urge and indeed one has found it in society. This deeper urge underlying Platonism is precisely the drive to see concepts and terms as governed by such normativity. (p. 127)John McDowell has of course also criticized Kripke's diagnosis and attempted solution to the paradoxes. In particular, McDowell too criticizes Kripke on his own terms - that his "skeptical solution," locating semantic norms in community practice, fails to do what it promises. And he too wants to dissolve the problem and allay the skeptical anxiety, just as does Bilgrami, only without giving up semantic normativity entirely. It is in trying make sense of McDowell's approach not only to this issue, but to normativity generally (especially in response to Davidson), that I am motivated to moderate Bilgrami's flat rejection of semantic normativity in the way I did the other day.
that the way Kripke brings in the social is just an extension of the normativity-denying position of the dispositionalist because all Kripke does is bring in the dispositions of other members of society to account for an individual's meanings. So if he says something was missing in the individual dispositionalist account in the first place, then it will be missing in the social extension as well. This criticism seems to me to be fair enough, if one accepts the normativity demand as one finds it in Kripke and as one finds it in these others who think that Kripke has himself failed to live up to that demand. But I do not accept the demand in the first place. So mine is a much more fundamental criticism of Kripke. In my view, one should repudiate the 'Platonism' altogether (even in its ersatz forms) and in so doing give notions like meaning and concepts a much lower profile, whereby it does not matter very much that one is not able to say [referring here to the familiar examples in Kripke and Burge] that KWert is making a [properly semantic, or as Bilgrami puts it, "intrinsic lexical"] mistake on January 1st 1990 or that Burge's protagonist has all along made a mistake when he applies the term to a condition in his thigh. [...] [I]t makes no difference to anything at all, which answer we give. His behaviour is equally well explained no matter what we say. There is no problem, skeptical or otherwise. (p. 128)Because of the holism of belief and meaning, we can attribute either concept, adjusting the belief component accordingly, and equally well explain the agent's behavior, which is after all the constitutive function of interpretation in the first place. This is the sense in which Bilgrami's is a Davidsonian view (and in response to this article, Davidson agrees heartily).
Alexander Yessenin-Volpin [was] a Russian logician of the ultra-finitist school who was imprisoned in a mental institution in Soviet Russia. Yessenin-Volpin was once asked how far one can take the geometric sequence of powers of 2, say (2e1, 2e2, 2e3, ... , 2e100) [sorry, I don't know how to do superscripts, so for "2e1" read "2 to the first power," and so on]. He replied that the question "should be made more specific." He was then asked if he considered 2e1 to be "real" and he immediately answered yes. He was then asked if 2e2 was "real." Again he replied yes, but with a barely perceptible delay. Then he was asked about 2e3, and yes, but with more delay. These questions continued until it became clear how was going to handle them. He would always answer yes, but he would take 2e100 times as long to answer yes to 2e100 than he would to answering to 2e1. Yessenin-Volpin had developed his own way of handling a paradox of infinity.2 to the 100th power is well over 10 to the 30th, so if he took a tenth of a second to decide that 2 to the 1st power is real, then once you ask him about 2 to the 100th, you can go get a cup of coffee while you wait. In fact you better get something to eat too, because you won't have to come back for over [performs quick 'n' dirty calculation] 3,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 years. I wonder how far they actually got. I should mention that just because it was in Soviet Russia, in which mental institutions were routinely used as de facto prisons for political dissidents, that Comrade Yessenin-Volpin was institutionalized, this need not mean that he wasn't actually insane. In fact this sad tale should be a lesson for us all.
What are year old rookie Rick -- sell on the bowl forty Troy in search of its seventh win [...] Red Sox sag is drug DE trade Jason Bay -- his hacks against the young reports say hello that's sixteenth jacked up you're the third -- lasting sport. At Byrd gave up three runs on seven hits his counterpart Daisuke Matsuzaka came in -- three -- 8082 ERA. Gets cleats on his with a six k's over five range Magglio Ordonez followed the ERA still over seven but he gets his first win the -- Terry Francona it was 500 victories Red Sox give them.Okay, what? Here's what I get from the audio of announcer Jim Basquil's drawl:
Twenty-year-old rookie Rick Porcello on the bump for Detroit in search of his seventh win [...] Red Sox and Tigers from Detroit: Jason Bay taking his hacks against the young Rick Porcello, and that's his sixteenth jack of the year in the third, Porcello lasting four and a third; [he] gave up three runs on seven hits. His counterpart Daisuke Matsuzaka came in 0 and 3 [with] an 8.82 ERA; gets Clete Thomas, one of his six K's over five frames; Magglio Ordonez follows. The ERA still over seven but he gets his first win, and helped Terry Francona to his 500th victory as Red Sox skipper.Interesting how the program has no problem with "Daisuke Matsuzaka," the syllables of which are after all very unlikely to make up any other phrase; but it stumbles all over "Rick Porcello" (nice try with "reports say hello") and "Clete Thomas" ("cleats on his"). It's clearly primed to use words which are common in ESPN videos, which is how "from Detroit" becomes "drug DE trade." I just wish it wouldn't use the word "trade" (or "drug," for that matter) in such close proximity to the phrase "Jason Bay" -- that just about gave me a heart attack.
[Vagueness] seemed to present the strongest challenge to the classical, realist picture that has always rung true to me, on which the world is largely independent of us, and the principle of bivalence holds ― every proposition is either true or false (and not both), even if we do not and perhaps cannot know which ― and other standard principles of logic hold too. The problem was that, on an unqualified realist picture, there must be a point at which subtracting just one grain from a heap takes it from being true to being false that there is a heap in front of you, which seems to be incompatible with the vagueness of the concept of a heap, which has no precise definition. For a long time I could see no satisfactory way round that objection. Then, as I was finishing my first book, Identity and Discrimination, I started thinking about the way in which ordinary knowledge requires a margin for error. It dawned on me that the need for a margin for error would explain why, even though ordinary concepts have sharp boundaries, we can’t know where those boundaries are located. That explanation solved the main objection to the logical view that I had always wanted to hold. So the hard part was working out the epistemology; the logic was the easy bit. The larger purpose underlying my book Vagueness was to argue for realism like this: if realism is wrong about anything, it is wrong about vagueness (that premise was generally agreed); but realism is not wrong about vagueness; therefore it is not wrong about anything. [my bold]Well, that's one view of the matter, anyway. Or we could just marvel at how no nettle can be too sharp for the desperate realist to grasp. I had heard this before, actually – that he was trying to defend realism against what seemed to him to be its toughest challenge – but sometimes it's better to learn to crawl before you try to walk.
The change of aspect. "But surely you would say that the picture is altogether different now!"In context, Wittgenstein's proximal target is of course, as it is in other parts of the book as well, the (Cartesian) idea of an "inner picture", as well as the Cartesian subject one would have to be in order to "look at" such a thing.
But what is different: my impression? my point of view?—-Can I say? I describe the alteration like a perception; quite as if the object had altered before my eyes.
"Now I am seeing this", I might say (pointing to another picture, for example). This has the form of a report of a new perception.The expression of a change of aspect is the expression of a new perception and at the same time of the perception's being unchanged.
I suddenly see the solution of a puzzle-picture. Before, there were branches there; now there is a human shape. My visual impression has changed and now I recognize that it has not only shape and colour but also a quite particular 'organization'.—-My visual impression has changed;-—what was it like before and what is it like now?—-If I represent it by means of an exact copy—and isn't that a good representation of it?—-no change is shewn.
And above all do not say "After all my visual impression isn't the drawing; it is this —— which I can't shew to anyone."—-Of course it is not the drawing, but neither is it anything of the same category, which I carry within myself.
The concept of the 'inner picture' is misleading, for this concept uses the 'outer picture' as a model; and yet the uses of the words for these concepts are no more like one another than the uses of 'numeral' and 'number'. (And if one chose to call numbers 'ideal numerals', one might produce a similar confusion.)