Bennett and Hacker: Village Idiots or Philosophers?

AlphaOmega2004 OmegaZero2003 at
Thu Feb 12 13:54:13 EST 2004

"Ashlie Benjamin Hocking" <abh2n at cobra.cs.Virginia.EDU> wrote in message
news:y21kk72sgrlj.fsf at cobra.cs.Virginia.EDU...
> >>>"Glen M. Sizemore" <gmsizemore2 at> writes:
> >>> Why take the language at face value in one instance, and not in the
> >>> If "I remembered that I gave a lecture" is to "recall an event," why
> >>> "I remember that I have to give a lecture today" a matter of
"recalling an
> >>> event?"
> >>Ben Hocking <abh2n at cobra.cs.Virginia.EDU> writes
> >>It _is_. The event that is being recalled that you "have to give a
> >>lecture today". This is not a future event, this (as worded) is a
> >>present event based on a past event (namely, that you committed to
> >>giving a lecture today).


> If you wanted to be tricky, you could use the
> >>better (IMO) example "I remembered that I will give a lecture
> >>today". As phrased, this definitely suggests that the speaker is
> >>remembering a future event. Of course, most people will (correctly)
> >>infer that the speaker is actually remembering that in the past he
> >>committed to giving a lecture in the future, since one cannot remember
> >>events that have not yet occurred.
> >David Longley <David at> writes:
> > What you've just done at the end there is translate the statement into
> > another so that it is consistent with your preconceptions or
> > "meaning". That's one of the problems with (or features of)
> > intensional contexts. But such moves generally amount to little more
> > than a reshuffle in an intensional language game. The point to
> > appreciate surely, is that one should really just look at how these
> > phrases are used (and used holophrasically). Looking inside the
> > phrases amounts to an attempt to quantify in where one shouldn't.
> Absolutely. It's my belief that my preconceptions of "meaning" are
> consistent with most other's beliefs. Without such "preconceptions"
> at some level language is useless. Surely you would concede this, it
> just seems that you're are only willing to use these preconceptions at
> the atomic level (words and grammar) and not necessarily at higher
> levels (similes).
> When someone tells me that "I remembered that I will give a lecture
> today", my belief options, the best I can see, are:
> (1) To believe that person meant that he remembered that he committed
> to giving a lecture today
> (2) To believe that person is somehow visited by foreknowledge of
> events that have not yet happened
> (3) To believe that the person _thinks_ he is somehow visited by such
> foreknowledge (i.e., to believe that person is not wholly sane)
> (4) To believe that the person is lying about being visited by such
> foreknowledge
> I'm claiming that #1 is usually the best bet (although personal
> knowledge of the speaker could cause me to believe #3 or #4). Are you
> claiming that #2 is the best bet, or do you see another belief option
> that I'm missing (entirely possible, this is off the top of my head)?
> >>Of course, what one says (or writes) is not always what one means
> >>_literally_, even if one has not misspoken. When Carl Sandburg wrote
> >>"the fog comes on little cat feet", the author assumed that the reader
> >>would not take him literally. Similarly, most speakers (or authors)
> >>who make the above statement ("I remembered that I will give a lecture
> >>today") are assuming that the listeners will understand what is meant,
> >>although at least one speaker/author (you) would not mean what most of
> >>us (I believe) would assume is meant by such a statement.
> >
> > And there you really go and confirm it.
> ---------------------------------------------------------------------
>                           | "Good and evil both increase at compound
> Ben Hocking, Grad Student | interest. That is why the little
> hocking at   | decisions you and I make every day are of
>                           | such infinite importance." - C. S. Lewis
> ---------------------------------------------------------------------

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