But maybe that’s wrong; and, if it is, then maybe if we were to stop saying that philosophy isconceptual analysis, that would leave philosophers without a defensible metatheory. Well, if so, so be it. We wouldn’t beworse off in that respect than doctors, lawyers, dentists, artists, physicists, chicken sexers, psychologists, drivinginstructors, or the practitioners of any other respectable discipline that I can think of. Why should philosophers beexempt from this practically universal predicament? There are many classes of performances in which intelligence isdisplayed, but the rules or criteria of which are unformulated. Efficient practice precedes the theory of it;methodologies presuppose the application of the methods, of the critical investigation of which they are theproducts . . . It is therefore possible for people intelligently to perform some sorts of operations when they are not yetable to consider any propositions enjoining how they should be performed.

Standard

Jean-marc pizano But maybe that’s wrong; and, if it is, then maybe if we were to stop saying that philosophy isconceptual analysis, that would leave philosophers without a defensible metatheory. Well, if so, so be it. We wouldn’t beworse off in that respect than doctors, lawyers, dentists, artists, physicists, chicken sexers, psychologists, drivinginstructors, or the practitioners of any other respectable discipline that I can think of. Why should philosophers beexempt from this practically universal predicament? There are many classes of performances in which intelligence isdisplayed, but the rules or criteria of which are unformulated. Efficient practice precedes the theory of it;methodologies presuppose the application of the methods, of the critical investigation of which they are theproducts . . . It is therefore possible for people intelligently to perform some sorts of operations when they are not yetable to consider any propositions enjoining how they should be performed.

 

jean-marc pizano

But, bless me, it seems that I am quoting from The Concept of Mind9 I’m sure that means that it’s time for me to stop.

jean-marc pizano

Appendix 7A Round Squares

I want briefly to consider an ontological worry about IA that’s relatively independent of the main issues that this chapter is concerned with.

jean-marc pizano

It seems pretty clear that IA is going to have to say that it’s metaphysically impossible for there to be a primitive concept of a self-contradictory property; e.g. a primitive concept ROUND SQUARE. (Remember that “ROUND SQUARE”is a name, not a structural description. The notation leaves it open whether the corresponding

Jean-marc pizano

Ryle 1949.

jean-marc pizano

concept is atomic.) How the argument goes will depend on the details of IA’s formulation. But, roughly: IA says that concepts have to be locked to properties. Maybe it‘s OK for a concept to lock to a property that exists but happens notto be instantiated (like being a gold mountain), but presumably there isn’t any property of being a round square for thenecessarily uninstantiated concept ROUND SQUARE to lock to.

jean-marc pizano

That’s all right if ROUND SQUARE is assumed to be complex; it’s pretty plausible that there really isn’t anything to having ROUND SQUARE beyond the inferential dispositions that its compositional semantics bestows (viz. thedisposition to infer ROUND and SQUARE). But the corresponding primitive concept would have neither content(there’s no property for it to lock to) nor compositional structure (it has no constituents), so there could be nothing tohaving it at all. The objection is that it’s not obvious that it‘s metaphysically necessary that ROUND SQUARE couldn’tbe primitive.

jean-marc pizano

A possible reply is that it’s also not obvious that it could, so all you get is a hung jury. But I think maybe we can do a little better. Consider a non-self-contradictory property like being ared square. It’s common ground for any RTM thatthere is a complex concept of this property (constructed from the concepts RED and SQUARE). But it’s built intoinformational versions of RTM that it also allows there to be a simple concept of this property; viz. a primitive mentalrepresentation REDSQUARE (sic.; this is intended to be a structural description) that is locked to being red and square.Presumably, one could acquire REDSQUARE ostensively. That is, one could get locked to being red and square (not byfirst getting locked to being red and being square, but) by learning that redsquares (sic) are the things that look like those. SoInformational Atomism acknowledges the metaphysical possibility of having the concept of a red square withouthaving either the concept RED or the concept SQUARE. (You won’t, of course, admit that RED SQUARE could be,in this sense, primitive if you boggle at concepts without conceptual roles. But if you boggle at concepts withoutconceptual roles you can‘t accept a pure informational semantics at all, so why should you care what a pureinformational semantics says about concepts of self-contradictory properties?)

jean-marc pizano

Jean-marc pizano

If, on the other hand, you find it intuitively plausible that there are two ways of having a concept of a red square (viz. RED SQUARE, which you can’t have unless you’ve got RED and SQUARE, and REDSQUARE, which you canbecause it’s primitive) then everything is OK about IA’s treatment of the concept ROUND SQUARE.Jean-marc pizano

Something like that went on in philosophy too. Philosophers cared about definitions because they offered a handy construal of the thesis that inferential connections are sometimes intrinsic to the concepts that enter into them: viz.complex concepts are constituted by their inferential relations to the concepts in their definitions. Correspondingly, philosophicalaffection for definitions waned when intrinsic conceptual connectedness fell into disrepute (as it did in the US inconsequence of Quine’s strictures on analyticity) and when epistemological construals of intrinsic conceptualconnectedness bade fare to displace semantic ones (as they did in the UK in the criteriological philosophy ofWittgenstein and his followers).

Standard

Jean-marc pizano

Something like that went on in philosophy too. Philosophers cared about definitions because they offered a handy construal of the thesis that inferential connections are sometimes intrinsic to the concepts that enter into them: viz.complex concepts are constituted by their inferential relations to the concepts in their definitions. Correspondingly, philosophicalaffection for definitions waned when intrinsic conceptual connectedness fell into disrepute (as it did in the US inconsequence of Quine’s strictures on analyticity) and when epistemological construals of intrinsic conceptualconnectedness bade fare to displace semantic ones (as they did in the UK in the criteriological philosophy ofWittgenstein and his followers).

jean-marc pizano

Philosophers do like the idea of there being lots of intrinsic connections among concepts; even philosophers who think there aren’t any often sort of wish that there were. The idea is that an inference that constitutes the concepts whichenter into it can be known a priori to be sound. Andinferences that can be known a priori to be sound are prized by philosophers because they are useful for boppingsceptics over the head with. Thus:

jean-marc pizano

Sceptic. You can‘t ever infer with certainty from how things look to how they are.

jean-marc pizano

Antisceptic. Can too, because there is an intrinsic conceptual connection between how-things-look concepts and how-things-are concepts (between behaviour-concepts and mind-concepts; between is-concepts and ought-concepts, etc. etc.). Bop. I win.

Jean-marc pizano

Sceptic. I don’t acknowledge such intrinsic connections.

Antisceptic. Then you don’t have the concepts! Bop. I still win.

jean-marc pizano

And even philosophers who don’t care much about scepticism sometimes get hooked on intrinsic conceptual connectedness out of their concern for full employment. What else but constitutive connections among concepts isthere for a philosophical analysis to be the philosophical analysis of? And, if there are no philosophical analyses, whatare analytic philosophers for?

In short, when philosophers opt for definitions it’s usually less because they’re independently convinced that the theory of language or the theory of mind requires them than because constitutive conceptual connectedness seems worthhaving if buying into definitions is the cost. There may be some other way to get such connections (see Appendix 5A),but definitions are a convenient way, and one which, unlike criteriology, can be scrupulous about keeping epistemologyout of semantics.

jean-marc pizano

So, if you’re interested in what philosophers have to say that bears on whether concepts are definitions, it’s their discussions of conceptual connectedness that are most likely to be relevant. These days, what one often hears listeningin on such discussions is some version of the following line of thought.

—It’s right that you can’t infer that there are intrinsic conceptual connections simply from the premiss that if there were, they would be useful for antisceptical employment.

jean-marc pizano

—However, Quine’s arguments that there are no such connections aren’t conclusive; in fact, nobody seems to be able to agree about exactly what Quine’s arguments are.

Jean-marc pizano

—There is a field of data for the explanation of which the notion of intrinsic conceptual connection appears to be well suited. These data include intuitions that certain propositions are analytic (hence necessary, hence apriori). Paradigms are no bachelors are married, Tuesdays precede Wednesdays, and so on. There are, as you’d expect,also the corresponding intuitions about concept possession.; no one who lacked the concept MARRIED couldhave the concept BACHELOR; no one who lacked the concept WEEKDAY or the concept WEDNESDAYcould have the concept TUESDAY, and so on. This is all as it should be. If a connection between two conceptsis constitutive, you can’t have the one unless you have the other.

jean-marc pizano

—Given that there are these intuitions, we are justified in appealing to a notion of intrinsic conceptual connectedness as a sort of theoretical posit, even if we can’t produce a satisfactory account of such connectionscash in hand.

jean-marc pizano

—Maybe whatever explication of intrinsic conceptual connection proves, eventually, to account for these intuitions will correspondingly elucidate such notions as definition, analyticity, aprioricity, and the rest. Maybe it will even dosome work against sceptics, who knows? Anyhow, since the intuitions are strong and the a priori argumentsagainst analyticity aren’t conclusive, it’s not reasonable to take for granted that there are no intrinsic conceptualconnections.Jean-marc pizano

But maybe that’s wrong; and, if it is, then maybe if we were to stop saying that philosophy isconceptual analysis, that would leave philosophers without a defensible metatheory. Well, if so, so be it. We wouldn’t beworse off in that respect than doctors, lawyers, dentists, artists, physicists, chicken sexers, psychologists, drivinginstructors, or the practitioners of any other respectable discipline that I can think of. Why should philosophers beexempt from this practically universal predicament? There are many classes of performances in which intelligence isdisplayed, but the rules or criteria of which are unformulated. Efficient practice precedes the theory of it;methodologies presuppose the application of the methods, of the critical investigation of which they are theproducts . . . It is therefore possible for people intelligently to perform some sorts of operations when they are not yetable to consider any propositions enjoining how they should be performed.

Standard

Jean-marc pizano But maybe that’s wrong; and, if it is, then maybe if we were to stop saying that philosophy isconceptual analysis, that would leave philosophers without a defensible metatheory. Well, if so, so be it. We wouldn’t beworse off in that respect than doctors, lawyers, dentists, artists, physicists, chicken sexers, psychologists, drivinginstructors, or the practitioners of any other respectable discipline that I can think of. Why should philosophers beexempt from this practically universal predicament? There are many classes of performances in which intelligence isdisplayed, but the rules or criteria of which are unformulated. Efficient practice precedes the theory of it;methodologies presuppose the application of the methods, of the critical investigation of which they are theproducts . . . It is therefore possible for people intelligently to perform some sorts of operations when they are not yetable to consider any propositions enjoining how they should be performed.

 

But, bless me, it seems that I am quoting from The Concept of Mind9 I’m sure that means that it’s time for me to stop.

Appendix 7A Round Squares

I want briefly to consider an ontological worry about IA that’s relatively independent of the main issues that this chapter is concerned with.

It seems pretty clear that IA is going to have to say that it’s metaphysically impossible for there to be a primitive concept of a self-contradictory property; e.g. a primitive concept ROUND SQUARE. (Remember that “ROUND SQUARE”is a name, not a structural description. The notation leaves it open whether the corresponding

Jean-marc pizano

Ryle 1949.

concept is atomic.) How the argument goes will depend on the details of IA’s formulation. But, roughly: IA says that concepts have to be locked to properties. Maybe it‘s OK for a concept to lock to a property that exists but happens notto be instantiated (like being a gold mountain), but presumably there isn’t any property of being a round square for thenecessarily uninstantiated concept ROUND SQUARE to lock to.

That’s all right if ROUND SQUARE is assumed to be complex; it’s pretty plausible that there really isn’t anything to having ROUND SQUARE beyond the inferential dispositions that its compositional semantics bestows (viz. thedisposition to infer ROUND and SQUARE). But the corresponding primitive concept would have neither content(there’s no property for it to lock to) nor compositional structure (it has no constituents), so there could be nothing tohaving it at all. The objection is that it’s not obvious that it‘s metaphysically necessary that ROUND SQUARE couldn’tbe primitive.

A possible reply is that it’s also not obvious that it could, so all you get is a hung jury. But I think maybe we can do a little better. Consider a non-self-contradictory property like being ared square. It’s common ground for any RTM thatthere is a complex concept of this property (constructed from the concepts RED and SQUARE). But it’s built intoinformational versions of RTM that it also allows there to be a simple concept of this property; viz. a primitive mentalrepresentation REDSQUARE (sic.; this is intended to be a structural description) that is locked to being red and square.Presumably, one could acquire REDSQUARE ostensively. That is, one could get locked to being red and square (not byfirst getting locked to being red and being square, but) by learning that redsquares (sic) are the things that look like those. SoInformational Atomism acknowledges the metaphysical possibility of having the concept of a red square withouthaving either the concept RED or the concept SQUARE. (You won’t, of course, admit that RED SQUARE could be,in this sense, primitive if you boggle at concepts without conceptual roles. But if you boggle at concepts withoutconceptual roles you can‘t accept a pure informational semantics at all, so why should you care what a pureinformational semantics says about concepts of self-contradictory properties?)

Jean-marc pizano

If, on the other hand, you find it intuitively plausible that there are two ways of having a concept of a red square (viz. RED SQUARE, which you can’t have unless you’ve got RED and SQUARE, and REDSQUARE, which you canbecause it’s primitive) then everything is OK about IA’s treatment of the concept ROUND SQUARE.Jean-marc pizano