Bennett and Hacker: Village Idiots or Philosophers?

AlphaOmega2004 OmegaZero2003 at yahoo.com
Thu Feb 12 13:55:05 EST 2004


"David Longley" <David at longley.demon.co.uk> wrote in message
news:1sXC66ez17KAFw+i at longley.demon.co.uk...
> In article <y21kk72sgrlj.fsf at cobra.cs.Virginia.EDU>, Ashlie Benjamin
> Hocking <abh2n at cobra.cs.Virginia.EDU> writes
> >>>>"Glen M. Sizemore" <gmsizemore2 at yahoo.com> writes:
> >>>> Why take the language at face value in one instance, and not in the
other?
> >>>> If "I remembered that I gave a lecture" is to "recall an event," why
isn't
> >>>> "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 longley.demon.co.uk> 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

Sizemore negated # 1 by saying it was not a rememberance!


> >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)?
> >
>
> If someone says "I just remembered I left the pan on the stove", they
> are using the phrase politely to say that they are absenting themselves
> or they require someone to do something about it. If they say "I just
> remembered I'm going to the cinema tonight" it should be taken much the
> same way, ie as an excuse *depending on what else is happening. The
> references are to other behaviours in the situation. They are not
> "retrieving" or "recalling" anything, they are referring to other
> contingencies. We learn to use phrases hollophrasically, they're social
> skills (verbal behaviours) ie "meaning" is use. If someone says "I what
> I meant was..." they just use phrases like that to indicate that they
> are saying something different from what was said before, if they say "I
> believe....." they're just saying that they would assent (another verbal
> behaviour) to something. "Meanings" and "beliefs" etc are not in our
> heads.
>
> You'll appreciate that what I'm saying here is that to talk about
> "meanings" "beliefs", "memories" "cognitions" etc, per se is a mistake.
> Talking about them being passed around neural networks (or stored in
> them etc) like trains in a subway is more than just a mistake..... but
> that's where it leads.
>
> The alternative is much harder (paradoxically) as a language - largely
> because it's inconsistent with our natural language and its intensional
> folk psychology.
>
>
> >>>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 cs.virginia.edu   | decisions you and I make every day are of
> >                          | such infinite importance." - C. S. Lewis
> >---------------------------------------------------------------------
>
> -- 
> David Longley





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