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Sunday, February 12, 2017

To mock a mockinbird: Carnap, Grice, and Smullyan

Speranza

Smullyan shared some passions with Carnap and Grice, if you can believe it.

Smullyan, the author of a very influential, "First-Order Logic" believed, well, in the power of first-order logic.

His education was peripatetic. An MA followed by a PhD from Princeton on "Theory of Formal Systems."

His main contribution was puzzling: it was his puzzles.

He was an admirer of Goedel, and his list of favourite authors should please both a Carnapian and a Griceian: Dodgson (aka Lewis Carroll), Boole, Cantor, and a few others!

And he had a sense of humour.

When Grice left Oxford, he had to give some reason. He said he moved because he was looking for the assistance of logicians and he couldn't find ONE in Oxford!

This was a bit hyperbolic. He, for one, was one (Strawson credits him in "Introduction to Logical Theory" as the tutor "from whom I have never ceased to learn about logic"). In "Vacuous Names," Grice's convoluted exposition of a System to allow for names like "Marmaduke Bloggs," who refers the hero who climbed Mt. Everest on hands and knees ("the invention of journalists, as it happened," Grice adds), there is a passing reference to Smullyan. With Myro, and others, Smullyan provided Grice with a way to provide a neat exposition of first order predicate logic -- of which Smullyan was an expert.

The fact that both played the piano helped!

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Reason and Reasoning -- and Grice's Bootstrap

-- as it combines with Carnapian tolerance!

Speranza

R. B. Jones has shared with us (that's R. B. Jones and Speranza -- and all the other followers of the yellow brick road to the City of the Eternal Truth) some comments under "Deep Learning Eternal Truth".

Jones notes:

"I thought it might be of some interest to the followers of this blog (both of them) for me to say a few words connecting my present pre-occupations with the Carnap-flavour of the City of Eternal Truth, and this is it."

Good. I love 'pre-occupations'. They contrast of course, Carnapian pre-occupations, with Griceian post-occupations. Which reminds me of the Roman occupation, as satirised by Sellars and Yeatman in "1066 and all that" -- nice figure!

Jones goes on

"I spent a while a few years ago failing to complete a short book-shaped work entitled "Positive Philosophy and The Automation of Reason". "

Lovely title. Jones of course is aware of Comte's positivism, and the new logical positivism. He prefers the mere 'positive', as applied to 'philosophy'. "The automation of reason" is a genial turn of phrase.

Jones:

"It ran into the sand in a very incomplete state at about 130 pages, and though I still felt positive about the enterprise I couldn't find the way to make it move again."

The keyword, though, remains, 'automation of reason', and we should use that phrase more frequently!

Jones:

"Of course (!) "reason" is the key weapon we have in the search for eternal truth."

While Grice uses 'eternal' truth -- as applied to the city thereof -- the phrase also occurs in Quine. I think it's ultimately 'metaphorical', "eternal" -- Grice's 'timeless' won't do here either.

i. Either it will rain or it won't.

is possibly NOT a 'so-called' "eternal" truth, in that in trivalent logics, is not even tautologous!

Jones:

"For a man of logical bent, surely the truths which most deserve that plaudit are the logical truths (though what are they?)."

Indeed, if 'rational' and 'logical' are interchangeable, there's also the possibility to play with 'analytic a priori' truths, as Ayer (or Freddie to his friends) calls them in his Gollancz book -- a classic of logical positivism. Ayer however notes that 'a priori' is otiose, and 'analytic truth' will just do.

Jones:

"Notwithstanding the foundering of that project, it remains my life's pre-occupation to find some way of progressing that topic, or simply of articulating the ideas on it which jostle for attention in my head. A few months ago I made a fresh start at that, shifting the context in which to progress the ideas. The whole thing has always been for me a fence-sitting between the fields of philosophy and information systems engineering."

Beautiful. But cfr. Cole Porter, "Don't fence me in"!

Jones:

"To automate reason is to develop software, and maybe, as is happening right now, to re-architect the hardware we use to execute the software (new hardware architectures for "Deep Learning",  beyond Von Neumann). "

Hence the title of his post, with "deep learning" as yet another keyword.

Jones:

"An architecture for reason and its application, depends on philosophical foundations.  The articulation of appropriate such foundations is an essential and should be a prominent feature of any such architecture. "

Hence the first part of his conjunctive title, "Positive philosophy AND the automation of reason". The implicature being that only positive philosophy can provide such a foundation. This reminds me of Husserl who said that he dreamed of a philosophy without foundations!

Jones:

"On the other hand, even if the primary purpose is philosophical, the architectural application is a valuable way of testing the practical significance of various issues at stake. One problem with a purely philosophical approach is the enormous difficulty in swimming against the tide of contemporary philosophical opinion, which in this sphere is unduly negative about the status of formal deductive systems as a result, for example, of the Godel's incompleteness results, and of Quine's skepticism about semantics and his consequent dismissal of the notion of logical truth as it was conceived by Carnap (aka analytic truth)."

Indeed, not to mention ("then why do you?") Derrida and all the irrationalists. There is some remarks by Grice on the analytic-synthetic distinction on his Valediction (to his life, almost), in "Retrospective Epilogue" to WoW. He notes that one should indeed take a pragmatist approach to the notion of analyticity.

Jones:

"A shift of thinking from a philosophical perspective on this problem to an architectural engineering perspective is liberating in a way which Carnap's principle of tolerance would endorse.
It allows the adoption of philosophical terminology, in the service of architectural exposition, on a pragmatic basis, sidestepping side issues which in this context may be regarded as metaphysical."

Indeed. Which brings us back to Grice's Bootstrap ("Try to pull yourself by your own bootstraps"). He is (in "Reply to Richards") considering

L1

and

L2

or object-language and meta-language. And he is saying that if L1 is first-order predicate calculus, L2 should NOT contain too much metaphysical jargon; for the idea is that L2 should be reduced to L1, as far as terminology is concerned. So the less technical one is with one's L2, the fewer problems with the morrow, he hopes.

Jones:

"This is what I have done to progress the body of ideas with which I approach the "City of Eternal Truth". I have moved the locus of my creativity from my web domain, hosting philosophical web pages and abortive book projects, to my github account (see: rbjones.github.io),"

which EVERYBODY should check -- where 'everybody' is a universal non-substitutional quantifier, if you must!

Jones:

"where I now seek to articulate a 21st century successor to the idea of demonstrative science  found in Aristotle's "Organon," taking science here just as broadly as Aristotle did, encompassing theoretical, practical and productive sciences, and the role which deduction and logical truth plays in this broad arena."

Good. I like the idea of 'demonstrative' science alla Kantotle. Grice used to lecture on the Organon, if you can believe it! And, to me, the most important thing of his seminars on Aristotle's Organon at Oxford is that J. L. Ackrill attended them! (And credits Grice as having taught him Aristotle "so well" -- In Oxford, Plato is almost non-existant, unless you are Hegelian or Bradleyian).

Jones:

"Of course, putting the material at Github creates an expectation that these architectural philosophies will ultimately be translated into code.  It's a dream..."

worth pursuing.

"Code" is perhaps not a Griceian word. There is usually the distinction between a code-based model of communication and an inference-based model of communication. The idea is that codes tend to be otiose if we can provide a 'rationale' in terms of inference patterns for them.

Grice said, "Do not multiply senses beyond necessity", and I don't think there is a necessity to multiply the senses of 'code', which is UNI-guous, or monosemous. But Jones uses it alla Jones, and I use it alla Grice.

The code relates to the automation of reason, that Hobbes would have loved!

Cheers

Aspects of reason and reasoning

Speranza

In his interesting "Deep Learning Eternal Truth," R. B. Jones "thought" (and rightly so) that "it might be of some interest to the followers of this blog (both of them) for me to say a few words connecting my present pre-occupations with the Carnap-flavour of the City of Eternal Truth, and this is it."

Of course there may be more than two (one of which is him) who read this if not follow the yellow brick road (to the City of course!)

"I spent a while a few years ago failing to complete a short book-shaped work entitled "Positive Philosophy and The Automation of Reason".  It ran into the sand in a very incomplete state at about 130 pages, and though I still felt positive about the enterprise I couldn't find the way to make it move again."

Blame the sand -- but I love the phrase, 'automation of reason', which of course reminds me of Grice's John Locke Lectures on Aspects of reason and reasoning (previously given as the Immanuel Kant lectures, under the same title, at Stanford -- trust Grice to turn from rationalist to empiricist as he crossed the pond!)

"Of course (!) "reason" is the key weapon we have in the search for eternal truth. For a man of logical bent, surely the truths which most deserve that plaudit are the logical truths (though what are they?)."

Well, for Cicero, 'ratio' was a problem. The Grecian (as in "Ode on a Grecian urn") keyword is merely "logic".

Jones:

"Notwithstanding the foundering of that project, it remains my life's pre-occupation to find some way of progressing that topic, or simply of articulating the ideas on it which jostle for attention in my head. A few months ago I made a fresh start at that, shifting the context in which to progress the ideas. The whole thing has always been for me a fence-sitting between the fields of philosophy and information systems engineering.  To automate reason is to develop software, and maybe, as is happening right now, to re-architect the hardware we use to execute the software (new hardware architectures for "Deep Learning",  beyond Von Neumann).  An architecture for reason and its application, depends on philosophical foundations.  The articulation of appropriate such foundations is an essential and should be a prominent feature of any such architecture.  On the other hand, even if the primary purpose is philosophical,"

Grice and Carnap would be delighted to hear that!

"the architectural application is a valuable way of testing the practical significance of various issues at stake."

Jones:

"One problem with a purely philosophical approach is the enormous difficulty in swimming against the tide of contemporary philosophical opinion, which in this sphere is unduly negative about the status of formal deductive systems as a result, for example, of the Godel's incompleteness results, and of Quine's skepticism about semantics and his consequent dismissal of the notion of logical truth as it was conceived by Carnap (aka analytic truth)."

Not to mention ("when why do you?", I can imagine Jones retorting) Derrida and all the continental irrationalists!

Jones:

"A shift of thinking from a philosophical perspctive on this problem to an architectural engineering perspective is liberating in a way which Carnap's principle of tolerance would endorse.
It allows the adoption of philosophical terminology, in the service of architectural exposition, on a pragmatic basis, sidestepping side issues which in this context may be regarded as metaphysical. This is what I have done to progress the body of ideas with which I approach the "City of Eternal Truth".

This reminds me of Grice's bootstrap principle ("try to pull yourself by your own bootstraps", in "Reply to Richards"): the less metaphysical the metalanguage, the less problems for the morrow!

Jones:

"I have moved the locus of my creativity from my web domain, hosting philosophical web pages and abortive book projects, to my github account (see: rbjones.github.io),"

which everybody should check, not just two followers!

"where I now seek to articulate a 21st century successor to the idea of demonstrative science  found in Aristotle's  Organon, taking science here just as broadly as Aristotle did, encompassing theoretical, practical and productive sciences, and the role which deduction and logical truth plays in this broad arena. Of course, putting the material at Github creates an expectation that these architectural philosophies will ultimately be translated into code.  It's a dream" but one worth pursuing.

That's the stuff that dreams are made of, as the refrain to that catchy song goes!



Deep Learning Eternal Truth

I thought it might be of some interest to the followers of this blog (both of them) for me to say a few words connecting my present pre-occupations with the Carnap-flavour of the City of Eternal Truth, and this is it.

I spent a while a few years ago failing to complete a short book-shaped work entitled "Positive Philosophy and The Automation of Reason".  It ran into the sand in a very incomplete state at about 130 pages, and though I still felt positive about the enterprise I couldn't find the way to make it move again.

Of course (!) "reason" is the key weapon we have in the search for eternal truth. For a man of logical bent, surely the truths which most deserve that plaudit are the logical truths (though what are they?).

Notwithstanding the foundering of that project, it remains my life's pre-occupation to find some way of progressing that topic, or simply of articulating the ideas on it which jostle for attention in my head.
A few months ago I made a fresh start at that, shifting the context in which to progress the ideas.

The whole thing has always been for me a fence-sitting between the fields of philosophy and information systems engineering.  To automate reason is to develop software, and maybe, as is happening right now, to re-architect the hardware we use to execute the software (new hardware architectures for "Deep Learning",  beyond Von Neumann).  An architecture for reason and its application, depends on philosophical foundations.  The articulation of appropriate such foundations is an essential and should be a prominent feature of any such architecture.  On the other hand, even if the primary purpose is philosophical, the architectural application is a valuable way of testing the practical significance of various issues at stake.

One problem with a purely philosophical approach is the enormous difficulty in swimming against the tide of contemporary philosophical opinion, which in this sphere is unduly negative about the status of formal deductive systems as a result, for example, of the Godel's incompleteness results, and of Quine's skepticism about semantics and his consequent dismissal of the notion of logical truth as it was conceived by Carnap (aka analytic truth).

A shift of thinking from a philosophical perspctive on this problem to an architectural engineering perspective is liberating in a way which Carnap's principle of tolerance would endorse.
It allows the adoption of philosophical terminology, in the service of architectural exposition, on a pragmatic basis, sidestepping side issues which in this context may be regarded as metaphysical.

This is what I have done to progress the body of ideas with which I approach the "City of Eternal Truth".
I have moved the locus of my creativity from my web domain, hosting philosophical web pages and abortive book projects, to my github account (see: rbjones.github.io), where I now seek to articulate a 21st century successor to the idea of demonstrative science  found in Aristotle's  Organon, taking science here just as broadly as Aristotle did, encompassing theoretical, practical and productive sciences, and the role which deduction and logical truth plays in this broad arena.
Of course, putting the material at Github creates an expectation that these architectural philosophies will ultimately be translated into code.  Its a dream,




Thursday, February 9, 2017

Rudolf Carnap, Herbert Paul Grice, and Marcus William Dick

Speranza

There was a post in the Grice Club which was basically a quotation from P. M. S. Hacker's essay on Witters (or Wittgenstein, if you must). Hacker has a thing, like I do, matter of fact, for alphabetical ordering. And he manages to try to list the members of what J. L. Austin called his 'kindergarten' -- i.e. the members of that play group that he led and that met on Saturday mornings. The list starts -- I shall use set-theoretical formulation to please Jones:

PG = {Dick, Grice, ...}

i.e. Dick is the first in the list, followed by Grice. I don't think Hacker is trying anything too deep, since, give me five minutes or so, and I shall find members for the play group starting with A, B, and C -- so Dick would NOT be the first!

In any case, why does this relate to The Eternal Truth?

Well, in "Dear Carnap, Dear Van: The Quine-Carnap Correspondence and Related Work," edited by Richard Creath, we read:

"Among it various communications from Marcus Dick, trying to get in touch with us."

So, yes, Dick made it to the Carnap annals, too! The interesting thing is that the communications could not be reciprocated because Marcus Dick left no 'future address', if you can believe that!

Ah, well.

In his biography, Quine notes that Dick had been a Commonwealth Fellow at Harvard, under one of Quine's own courses, and that he had displayed (or done, if you must) some outstanding 'work in logic'.

The connection between Dick and Grice is more tenous, or shall I say, implicatural, in nature!



Sunday, August 16, 2015

Hintikka, Carnap, and Grice

Speranza

Jaakko Hintikka was born in Vantaa, Helsinki, Finland.

Hintikka studied mathematics with Rolf Nevanlinna and philosophy with 
Georg Henrik von Wright at the University of Helsinki where defended his 
doctoral dissertation on distributive normal forms.

So we see the cross-reference mathematics -- as per mathematics logic, that
today, for example, is taught at Oxford not within the Sub-Faculty of
Philosophy  but across the street, so that people enrolled in disciplines other
than  Philosophy can attend. The chair is called "Mathematical logic" -- and
philosophy.

Grice loved Wright and he borrowed from him (but never returned) the word 
'alethic'. That Hintikka was inspired by these two people (and these two
fields:  mathematical logic and philosophy -- moral theory --) to write his
essay on  'distributive normal forms' is interesting.

Geary commented: "A distributive normal form is not as normal as it 
seems," and adds with sarcasm: "especially if you catch it  undistributed!".

After his Ph.D. studies Hintikka worked as junior fellow at Harvard  and
became (independently of Stig Kanger) the founder of possible world 
semantics. 

The keyterm is Leibniz, as in Leibniz's world: the best of all possible 
worlds. Woody Allen (who wrote "Irrational man") and Barrett (who wrote 
"Irrational man") have something to say about this, because Leibniz is concerned 
with the "best" (morally best) of all possible worlds and Lucas (the
character  in Allen's film fallaciously thinks he has discovered it!). Hintikka's
treatment  is more abstract: he uses subindexes w1 w2 w3 wn to represent
each world.  Thus

"All man is rational"

is true in all possible worlds if for any world n, man is rational.

Hintikka published his groundbreaking work "Knowledge and Belief" on 
epistemic logic -- the semantics of which is 'possible-worlds'. He uses now two 
dyadic operators:

B(A, p)

and

K(A, p)

to represent that A believes and knows that p respectively. He liked to 
play with 'paradoxes' like

K(A, p) --> KK(A, p)

i.e. if you know that God exists, you know that you know that God  exists.

Hintikka was appointed professor of Practical Philosophy at Helsinki -- 
which was a good thing since, having been born there, he never got lost! In 
fact, he moved not far from the house where he had been born. And a nice
house  it was, too!

Hintikka later became professor of philosophy at Stanford -- which is  a
bit away from Helsinki, if just more or less at the same distance from the 
beach (different beaches, admittedly).

Stanford, with Hintikka, Patrick Suppes and Dagfinn Föllesdal, and the 
programme initiated by Grice "Hands across the Bay" from across the Bay in 
UC/Berkeley -- became one of the leading centres of philosophy of science and 
philosophical logic, if not conceptual analysis: Urmson and S. N. Hampshire 
also taught there.

Hintikka’s new interests included inductive logic and semantic information.
He would say, "What's the good of a philosopher if you don't have a new 
interest?"

He shared his time between Stanford and Helsinki for a while.

Later Hintikka started his work with D. Reidel’s Publishing Company (later 
Kluwer Academic Publishers) in Holland as the editor-in-chief of the
journal  "Synthese" and the book series "The Synthese Library" -- which Geary
calls  "hardly synthetic".

This activity made Hintikka the most influential editor of philosophical 
works. In fact, he was co-editor of a festschrift, as it were, for Quine, who
had written "Words and Objections". This came out in Reidel as Words and 
ObjectIONS -- what's the good of a philosophical theory if you are not going
to  criticise it, as Joaquin Phoenix says in "Irrational man"? -- and they
invited  H. P. Grice to contribute. Grice took his time -- which delayed the
publication  of the thing -- and Hintikka was strict with deadlines -- but
eventually the  thing came out with Grice's "Vacuous Names" in it, and a
short reply by Quine  crediting Grice's brilliancy.

Hintikka was appointed to a Research Professorship in the Academy of 
Finland which allowed him to establish a research group of Finnish scholars 
working mainly in logic, philosophy of science, philosophy of language, and 
history of philosophy.

The Academy of Finland owes its name to the Academy of Athens founded by 
Plato. Most countries have Academies: Greece first, then Rome, then Italy,
then  France. Then Finland. Even Britain has its academy and Grice was
appointed FBA  in 1966 but he delayed the deliverance of his philosophical lecture
for the  British Academy to 1971, when he came up with "Intention and
Uncertanity": a  parody on Hart and Hampshire's 'slightly ridiculous' claims in
their joint essay  for "Mind" on intention and certainty.

As a teacher and supervisor, Hintikka was highly influential though the 
richness of his new ideas and research initiatives.

Many of the former students of Hintikka have been appointed to chairs in 
philosophy. To wit: Risto Hilpinen, Raimo Tuomela, Juhani Pietarinen, Ilkka 
Niiniluoto, Simo Knuuttila, Veikko Rantala, Juha Manninen, Lauri Carlson,
Esa  Saarinen, Matti Sintonen, Gabriel Sandu.

Lauri Carlson wrote a Synthese Library essay on "Dialogue games" -- the 
ideas will be later developed by Hintikka himself in his contribution to P. G.
R. I. C. E., the Grice festschrift edited by Grandy and Warner.

Hintikka divorced his first wife Soili.

Hintikka married Merrill Bristow Provence -- Mrs. Hintikka willl later 
co-edit with Vermazen a festschrift for Davidson and they invited H. P. Grice
to  contribute. He did with a brilliant essay on 'akrasia'.

Hintikka and Provence were appointed at Tallahassee, Florida.

Hintikka married Ghita Holmström.

Hintikka became philosophy professor at Boston -- not far from where  he
had been a fellow in the next town -- when he was in Harvard, Massachussets 
-- He would walk from Boston to Cambridge, and back, as he seemed to prefer
the  bookshops in Cambridge than those in Boston.

During his Boston pewriod, Hintikka resided in a 'cottage' (as 
non-New-Englanders call them) at Marlborough.

Marlborough was not named after the person -- via rigid designation -- but 
after the borough.

Hintikka retired from Boston and moved back to Finland.

Besides his activities in research, teaching, and publication, Hintikka 
served in many important positions in international organizations, among
others  vice president of The Association for Symbolic Logic, vice-president and
later  president of the Division of Logic, Methodology and Philosophy of
Science  of the International Union of History and Philosophy of Science
(DLMPS/IUHPS),  president of the Charles S. Peirce Society -- D. Ritchie was
mentioning this  genial philosopher recently -- and the chairman of the
organizing committee of  the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy.

As a proof of the appreciation of Hintikka’s work, a volume dedicated to 
him in "The Library of Living Philosophers" was published.

Hintikka’s publications cover an exceptionally wide range of topics.

During his career he published lots of books or monographs, edited lots of 
books, and authored lots of essays in international journals or 
collections.

His main works deal with:

-- mathematical logic (proof theory, infinitary logics,  IF-logic)
-- intensional logic and propositional attitudes
-- philosophy of logic and mathematics
-- philosophy of language (game-theoretical semantics, quantifiers, 
anaphora)
-- philosophy of science (interrogative model of inquiry)
-- epistemology, and
-- history of philosophy (Aristotle, Descartes, Kant, Peirce, Frege, 
Wittgenstein, Grice -- in the P. G. R. I. C. E. festschrift).

A genius.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

D. P. Henry: Between Grice and Carnap

Speranza

In his "Quæstio subtilissima", D. P. Henry places himself somewhat between R. Carnap and H. P. Grice (does he not quote).
 
Henry is concerned with the formalization of metaphysical claims, and disagrees with Carnap in treaeting them (Heidegger's infamous "The Nothing noths") as nonsense.
 
R. B. Jones may find the Henry reference of some interest, as Henry is trying to see Carnap from a historical perspective and he (Henry) may miss a few points or qualifications!