Something About John L. Austin. Go Figure : reflective summary. Aristotle.
Something About John L. Austin
Go Figure: reflective summary
“Liveliness is got by using the proportional type of metaphor and by making our hearers see things. We have still to explain what we mean by their “seeing things,” and what must be done to effect this.” – Rhetoric, Book III
Q1. Output: what is delivered through engagement with metaphor? What is it to “see things” through metaphor?
What further functions can it serve? Insight, understanding, communication, &c.
Q2. Mechanism: How is the output delivered? What processes, rules, transitions figure in deriving the output?
Q3. Input: what is the input to the mechanism? What raw materials does the mechanism work in order to deliver the output?
Questions about how (some, most, all) humans will respond, what the output will be for them.
Questions about how it would be correct, apt, appropriate, &c., to respond.
These types of questions might be connected.
Is there one core effect?
Is verbal metaphor grouped with other phenomena? Visual metaphor, jokes, &c.?
Is verbal metaphor a congeries of more basic phenomena?
Defends and develops a form of Davidsonic, imagery-based account of output.
Idea of self-expression figured in the development:
Designedly showing an introspectible state.
Is imagery necessary?
E.g., black holes: actually quite hard to visualise.
Answer: more general conception of output, but is there an illuminating, general characterization of output?
Could one have merely cognitive metaphors, with only propositional output?
Is imagery sufficient?
Must distinctive cognitive outputs also be involved?
Perhaps other outputs—e.g. implicatures, assertions, &c.—are merely associated with metaphor, and not core. But how can we adjudicate that?
What is the function is self-expression in the account?
Fundamental to understanding the nature of metaphor?
Non-fundamental but figures in the account of communicative function and aptness?
Question: is analogy fundamental to categorization?
Hofstadter &Sander: yes (I think).
Anne: No, analogy rests on distinct form of categorization.
Can the issues here be conceived of along the lines of a Kantian problematic about the application of concepts to particulars?
Concept application to particulars is (seems to be) rule-governed.
Rules are (seem to be) framed in terms only of concepts, and do not involve particulars.
Appeal to something more primitive than rules seems to be required, perhaps to some form of mechanism.
One might hope that appeal to analogy could help.
Anne wants to claim that categorization is more fundamental than analogy.
But it seems that application at the fundamental level can’t appeal to more primitive categorization, so (seemingly) cannot be rule-governed.
So, we need an account of categorization on which it’s not governed by sensitivity to rules and yet (plausibly) determines standards of correctness, aptness, &c.
Until we have an account of fundamental categorization, its hard to adjudicate the issue.
Rejects a roughly Gricean account, on which output is something like propositions, which figure centrally in appreciation of metaphor.
Defends a (roughly) Davidsonian account, on which output is non-propositional.
Is Stephen’s claim that no metaphor works by being used to express propositions, or that most don’t, or that expressing a proposition is never fundamental?
What is the output, if not propositions?
Analogy with jokes.
Can we say more about output?
Not a question for philosophers.
A question for psychologists?
But can psychologists address questions about about correctness, aptness, &c., in our appreciation of metaphor?
Question about input: what is available as input?
Some X is needed as input (meanings, propositions&c.)
It’s been claimed that X is absent in cases of category mistake, typical of metaphors.
Can’t have I. and II.
How should we think of what, if anything, category mistakes precludek: is it meaning, truth-conditions, propositions, truth? (Mitch and Stephen both suggested the last.)
How do the grounds for thinking category mistakes lack something support one or another view here?
What is needed as input for metaphor?
Would meaning suffice—perhaps conceived as determining constraints on expressed propositions—even if it fails to determine truth-conditions, propositions, truth?
It’s only if what’s absent = what’s needed as input that we get into trouble.
If meaning can serve as input, while category mistakes induce absence only of propositions, then there’s no problem.
Defends a form of minimalism about what is said:
roughly, what is said is determined in a mechanistic way on the basis of lexical meaning and constant projection through structure.
Focus on whether explicatureplays an important role in (e.g.) the mechanism of implicature determination, metaphor appreciation, &c.
Insofar as what’s said is determined by, or dependent upon, speaker’s intentions, it’s not clear that it can’t depart from what’s determined by sentence-meaning in all sorts of ways.
It isn’t clear that even where that happens, we can’t distinguish (say) what’s said from what’s merely implicated.
For example, perhaps, as Davidson suggests, what’s said, rather than implicated, is the first Grice-intended proposition in the chain of derivations of the things that are communicated.
Could something like that have affinities with explicature?
Also not clear that metaphor is an especially good probe for such issues about input.
Perhaps it would be if output were propositional, but it’s not clear that it is. E.g., it isn’t on a Davidsonic model. So not clear that metaphor output imposes sufficiently discriminating constraints on input.
Appeals to metaphor as a means for ordinary folk to engage with the complexities of propositional attitude psychology.
The idea is that metaphor can support sensitivity to (some of) the complexities in a way that bypasses grasp of correct theories of propositional attitudes.
One question about the proposal concerns the alleged problem: is it really significant (if true) that theorists and folk appear to diverge in their appreciation of theories about propositional attitudes?
A second question arises on the supposition that it is significant. Isn’t this type of divergence to be dealt with precisely by a theory of theorists and folk subjects’ propositional attitudes—in this case attitudes about attitudes?
A third very general question/worry here is whether (or to what extent) the proposal replaces a puzzle—how do folk engage with propositional attitudes—with an enigma: how does engagement with metaphor facilitate insight, understanding, cognitive practice?
It’s anyway plausible that proper evaluation of the proposal will interact closely with further work on the relevant issues about metaphor per se.
Something About John L. Austin