This is a comment to Jones in the 'comment' section to my "Re: Izzing and Hazzing".
"One of the issues here is the relationship between metaphysics and linguistic meta-theory. There clearly is a close connection in the case of descriptive metaphysics, and that would be a possible Carnapian objection to this Strawsonian enterprise."
Very good point. Tal of meta-theory, or meta-language, reminds me of a delightful principle by Grice, the "Bootstrap". He possibly was onto something when he thought that one should be, in the metalanguage, always be able to pull oneself up by one's own bootstrap." But I would need to elaborate on that. He was thinking that the ontology of a metalanguage should better be cautious since everything in the metalanguage should be rewritten in the object-langauge. So the more paucuous (if that's the word) the metalanguage, the less work we are left for the morrow, is I think the way he described it.
"It is one thing to observe the metaphysics implicit in ordinary language, another to show that you have thereby something more fundamental and philosophical than empirical linguistics."
I would be slightly careful about 'empirical linguistics'. A few empiricist (even Foucault-type?) philosophers may not disagree about that point. For some -- I think there is a well-developed Scandinavian school of this sort of thought -- philosophy, qua discipline for the philosopher -- IS an empirical discipline in that it studies and analyses the way people talk and think. NOT qua linguistics, empirical, but as a sort of 'descriptive Athenian dialectic', as it were. You want to know what 'justice' is? Or how the logic of 'right' works in its right terms? You just go to the 'agora', as Socrates did, and inquire the folk. (Socrates was NOT an empiricist in this sense, in that he hoped to CORRECT 'ta legomena', or what people were saying -- I don't think Grice emphasises this point too much when he has Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle, as involved in 'ta legomena' in various ways. Surely he is thinking of Aristotle, rather than Socrates or Plato).
"On the other hand, if Carnap were to accept my suggestion that a part of defining a truth semantics of a formal language is defining the relevant concept of "possible world" or state of affairs (this is the domain of the truth conditions, considered as a truth-valued function, it is this which prevents there being necessity de re and without it the semantics is incomplete) then doing metaphysics is part of defining the semantics of a language, a part of prescriptive metatheory."
Excellent point. I enjoy your use of 'descriptive' metaphysics at the object-language level, and 'prescriptive' metatheory.
"I'm not convinced that the stability of the English Language is decisive. There does not seem to be stability in metaphysics. It does seem to me, as you seem to be suggesting at the end, that English allows you to manipulate the context of discourse so as to install whatever metaphysics you like. That is what makes this kind of meta-theoretic discussion of metaphysics possible. Must stop otherwise the comment will get too big!"
Too right, about the 'manipulation'. Of course, the point of the classical Grice, is to suggest that there is a truth-conditional core (the 'dictive', the alhetic), and that those 'manipulations' should better use pragmatic notions like 'implicature', since (this seems to be the point of the classic Grice), all too often, a philosopher make take, say, an 'implicatum', for what is 'part of what is being entailed' (part of an alethic condition).
And so on, but now I will comment on the other blog post by Jones.