Analogy and Philosophical Language
292 Pages
English

Analogy and Philosophical Language

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292 Pages
English

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The most useful and available key to someone's position lies in the expressions he is prepared to make his own. Language clearly reflects the bearings we have taken as well as it reveals how aware we are that we have taken them. The language he uses not only shows us where someone stands but also lets us in on the extent to which he understands where he stands. And if the expressions we are prepared to utter are so revealing about our position in the world, perhaps the language we use can also reveal some basic facts about the world itself--or the world as we most basically see it. Language would then prove a valuable key to that style of question long called metaphysical. This book is an attempt to follow out some of the clues that language gives us about the world, specifically those offered by a privileged set of expressions: analogous terms.

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Published 04 February 2016
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EAN13 9781725236400
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Analogy and Philosophical Language By Burrell, David B., CSC Copyright©1973 by Burrell, David B., CSC ISBN 13: 978-1-4982-8616-9 Publication date 2/4/2016 Previously published by Yale University Press, 1973
Foreword
Analogy and Philosophical Languagewas Davîd BurreLL’s Irst book and constîtutes te înteLLectuaL pLatorm or îs dîstînctîve scoLarLy work on Aquînas as weLL as or îs con-sequent învoLvement în teoLogîcaL conversatîon wît Juda-îsm and ïsLam. So one very strong reason or weLcomîng îts return to prînt îs te Lîgt ît casts on te basîc orîentatîon and presupposîtîons o tose Later projects. And wat îs most cLearLy îLLumînated tereby—partîcuLarLy to a pîLosoper stîLL Indîng îs eet în teoLogy—îs BurreLL’s earLy and equaL-Ly dîstînctîve înterest în pîLosopy: îts orîgîns, îts nature, and îts sîgnîIcance. On BurreLL’s conceptîon, uman beîngs are naturaLLy în-quîrîng anîmaLs wo deveLop poweruL metods or acquîr-îng knowLedge about te tîngs tey encounter în te worLd; and pîLosopy begîns wen tat înquîrîng împuLse îs turned upon tose modes o knowLedge-acquîsîtîon—wen we seek an expLanatîon o our expLanatory practîces, an înteLLîgîbLe account o our ways o gîvîng înteLLîgîbLe accounts o tîngs. hîs relectîve turn—Lîke any turn în a journey—învoLves bot a cange în dîrectîon and a contînuîty o purpose. 1
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Foreword
he cange oLLows rom te act tat tat wîc makes ît possîbLe to grasp a certaîn kînd o object îs not just one more suc kînd o object—îndeed, îs not obvîousLy any kînd o ob-ject, except în te tînnest sense (tat o beîng an object o înquîry, a subject-matter). Hence, modes o expLanatîon tat are specîIcaLLy suîted or compreendîng tîngs wîLL îpso acto not be suîted or compreendîng temseLves. ïndeed, sînce relectîon învoLves attunîng our capacîty or under-standîng to a context în wîc te rameworks, wîc usu-aLLy înorm and guîde îts exercîse, are temseLves te object o judgment, no suc ramîng assumptîon or prîncîpLe can be exempt rom înterrogatîon. So we must aLL back on our basîc abîLîty to dîscrîmînate genuîne understandîng rom îts countereîts, and reaL progress în understandîng—owever încrementaL—rom îts mere appearance. And tat îs just were a savîng contînuîty îs to be ound. For appreendîng te dîstînctîve nature o our modes o compreensîon means apprecîatîng ow tey dîfer rom and resembLe one anoter; and tîs îs just te basîc (reaL-îty-orîented, trut-seekîng, unîyîng) caracter o our pre-relectîve understandîng manîestîng îtseL at te relectîve LeveL—seekîng order wîtîn or between tese apparentLy et-erogeneous penomena, attemptîng to make sense o tem as one and aLL modes o sense-makîng wîtout occLudîng teîr îndîvîduaLîty (and so te dîstînctîveness o teîr objects). Relectîng on te order o our judgments îs îtseL an exer-cîse o judgment—an appraîsaL o our practîces o appraîs-îng tîngs; so we souLd expect tat pîLosopîcaL relectîon wîLL ave îts own versîon o watever orders suc appraîsîve practîces, constîtutîng one more context în wîc te basîc caracter o our understandîng (wat cLassîcaL and medîevaL tînkers caLLed îts în-ormatîon by te categorîes o “beîng,” “unîty,” “trut,” and “goodness”) wîLL be put to use. At te same tîme, owever, te way în wîc tose terms appLy în pîLosopîcaL appraîsaL wîLL dîfer rom te way în wîc tey appLy în pre-relectîve modes o appraîsaL just as muc as teîr appLîcatîon în any one pre-relectîve domaîn dîfers rom teîr appLîcatîon în any oter. ïn sort, we Ind our
Foreword
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ootîng în relectîon anaLogîcaLLy—by adaptîng te orms o non-relectîve understandîng to anoter new context, tere-by expLoîtîng teîr capacîty to reward our settLed propensîty to (re-)empLoy tem în an open-ended dîversîty o contexts. Hence, te centraLîty o anaLogous tougt and speec to pîLosopîcaL practîce; and ence, te tîtLe o tîs ascînatîng book. BurreLL ere deveLops tîs conceptîon o pîLosopy rom te work o PLato and ArîstotLe, în order to sow ow Aquî-nas’s project amounts to an exceptîonaLLy eLegant expLoîta-tîon o tat cLassîcaL pîLosopîcaL înerîtance or teoLogî-caL ends, wereas Scotus—în reusîng tîs way o Indîng relectîve orîentatîon wît respect to our Lîe wît words— tereby sufers teoLogîcaL as weLL as pîLosopîcaL împover-îsment. ïn tat sense, BurreLL’s work îs înormed by cLassîcaL and medîevaL sources; but—as îs book’s tîtuLar empasîs on Language conIrms—ît îs aLso înormed by te spîrît o ten-contemporary Amerîcan pîLosopîcaL scene. ïndeed, BurreLL brîely acknowLedges în îs întroductîon te guîdîng înluence o te two canonîcaL Igures o twentîet-century Western pîLosopy: Heîdegger and Wîttgensteîn. ï space aLLowed, ît wouLd be rewardîng to draw out te extent to wîc Heîdegger’s work bot conorms to and înterrogates BurreLL’s cLassîcaLLy-artîcuLated modeL. ïnBeing and TimeaLone, or exampLe, Heîdegger’s empasîs on te dîference between ontîc and ontoLogîcaL modes o înquîry, and îs re-Lîance upon ormaL îndîcatîons—scemas tat recur across and are dîferentLy lesed out accordîng to context and per-spectîve—în prosecutîng te Latter, ofer teîr own înlectîon o te BurreLLîan modeL o relectîve understandîng. However, BurreLL’s prîmary pîLosopîcaL cuLture was ana-Lytîc pîLosopy, wîc drew not onLy on Carnap, Quîne, and SeLLars but on te work o Wîttgensteîn, bot earLy and Late. heTractatus LogicoPhilosophicuseLped to ound anaLytîc pîLosopy as a tradîtîon; and în te 1950s and 60s, te Later Wîttgensteîn’s înluence (togeter wît tat o Austîn) deep-Ly înluenced pîLosopîcaL practîce în te EngLîs-speakîng worLd under te banner o “ordînary Language pîLosopy.”
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Foreword
But aLtoug BurreLL’s way o readîng o Wîttgensteîn în-orms îs work on PLato, ArîstotLe, and Aquînas, ît îs equaLLy înormed by ît, and so amounts to presentîng îm as an în-erîtor o te pre-modern îstory o pîLosopy rater tan sîmpLy a destroyer o ît. As a resuLt, BurreLL’s Wîttgensteîn as a very dîstînctîve pysîognomy. On BurreLL’s conceptîon, teTractatus regîsters te re-lectîve turn în îts empasîs on te dîference between usîng proposîtîons to pîcture reaLîty and caracterîzîng tat wîc makes ît possîbLe or tem to do—wat Wîttgensteîn caLLs te ormaL eatures o Language (and so o tougt and reaL-îty), wîc e amousLy decLares can onLy be sown rater tan saîd. But ît couLd ten onLy be a mîsstep (despîte îts con-tînuîng popuLarîty amongst commentators) to regard wat îs sown as unortunateLy înefabLe but undenîabLy substantîaL metapysîcaL truts; or tat wouLd make tem too muc Lîke te objects or states o afaîrs tat genuîne proposîtîons LegîtîmateLy depîct, and tereby aîL properLy to acknowLedge te resîstance o te (ormaL) objects o te relectîve under-standîng to beîng treated as propertîes or attrîbutes o any kînd (even înefabLe ones). BurreLL notes te approprîate aLternatîve step în ootnote 14 to Capter 9: pîLosopîcaL artîcuLatîons o tese ormaL eatures must rater take te orm o eLucîdatîons, wîc are marked as suc by teîr use o anaLogous terms (suc as “ob-ject,” “proposîtîon,” “înternaL reLatîon,” and so on). But te appLîcabîLîty o suc terms must be dîferentLy made out ac-cordîng to te nature o te contexts în wîc tey are em-pLoyed. hîs wouLd be wy, on BurreLL’s vîew, te InaL sec-tîons o teTractatusattempt to eLucîdate te very dîferent ways în wîc te ormaL notîon o a “proposîtîon” îs ILLed out în te contexts o Logîc, matematîcs, scîence, te varîous domaîns o vaLue (aestetîc, etîcaL, mystîcaL), and uLtîmateLy o pîLosopy (were eLucîdatory orm and eLucîdatory con-tent most uLLy take one anoter’s measure). ïn Capter 6, BurreLL specîIcaLLy cîtes te Tractarîan car-acterîzatîon o scîentîIc proposîtîons suc as te “Laws” o contînuîty and Least actîon în nature. hese are însîgts înto
Foreword
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te orms în wîc te proposîtîons o scîence can be cast, not teorîes but norms or ormîng and appraîsîng teorîes wose meanîng cannot be generaLLy and înormatîveLy ar-tîcuLated but îs rater made out în te context-sensîtîve ap-pLîcatîons we make o tem. hey tereby make partîcuLarLy saLîent te dependence o anaLogous usage upon te capacîty or rîgt judgment rom case to case; but wat îs most easîLy seen în tîs context îs pervasîveLy at work across aLL te varî-ous contexts dîscussed în tese sectîons o teTractatus, and o course în te eLucîdatory manner în wîc tat dîscussîon îs îtseL conducted. hose amîLîar wît wat contemporary scoLarsîp caLLs resoLute readîngs o teTractatusmay see a precursor to tat approac în BurreLL’s înterpretatîon. Wîttgensteîn’s Later work takes on an equaLLy dîstînctîve cast wen vîewed troug BurreLL’s eyes. ïts sîgnature em-pasîs on te dîference between makîng moves wîtîn a Lan-guage-game and învestîgatîng te grammatîcaL orms o suc actîvîty remaîns, markîng te relectîve turn înerent în pî-Losopy; and îts înterest în te varîous ways în wîc words mîgt get a grîp on new contexts wîtout dîspLayîng ambî-guîty o meanîng (as wît amîLy resembLance or seeîng-as) provîdes a background agaînst wîc anaLogous usage mîgt appear contînuous wît te everyday. However, many Wîtt-gensteînîans presuppose tat te “Language-game” metod îs consîstent wît (and peraps even desîgned to encourage) a conceptîon o naturaL Languages as essentîaLLy coLLectîons o seL-suicîent games wît words tat mîgt Lack any com-mon eatures. BurreLL’s Wîttgensteîn, owever, wouLd not countenance te îdea tat a Language (embedded as ît aLways îs wîtîn a orm o Lîe, and so expressîve o te înterests and purposes o tose Lîvîng tat Lîe) mîgt Lack coerence or unîty oany kînd (as opposed to Lackîng unîty o te kînd Scotîst pîLosopers expect). ïn tîs respect, BurreLL’s posîtîon resembLes tat o Wîtt-gensteîn’s student Rus Rees (someone wose pîLosopî-caL ormatîon was aLso deepLy marked by te ancîents and by an înterest în reLîgîon, and wo memorabLy caracterîzes pîLosopy as dîscourse about te possîbîLîty o dîscourse).
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Foreword
Rees argues tat to grasp speakîng soLeLy as a matter o makîng moves în a game wouLd obLîterate te possîbîLîty o conversatîon between speakers; and e ten uses tat no-tîon o conversatîon anaLogousLy, în order to caracterîze te kînd o unîty tat Language must ave. More specîIcaLLy, e says tat te varîous orms o dîscourse reLate to one an-oter în te manner o contrîbutîons to a conversatîon; te 1 unîty o Language îs te unîty o a dîaLogue. hat sayîng îs ardLy transparent, o course, and Rees îmseL tînks tat în sayîng ît e îs dîsagreeîng wît îs teacer. So BurreLL’s dîs-cLosure o a Wîttgensteînîan way to sow tat relectîve în-quîry reveaLs and expLoîts te anaLogîcaL unîty o dîscourse, îs înerentLy dîaLogîcaL and tereby requîres tat we say onLy wat we mean and mean watever we say în conductîng ît, not onLy eLucîdates and eLaborates upon Rees’s negLected în-sîgt, but aLso presents ît as a way o înerîtîng rater tan breakîng wît Wîttgensteîn’s exampLe.
Stepen MuLaLL New CoLLege, Oxord December 18, 2015
1. Cf. Rhees,Wittgenstein and the Possibility of Discourse, ed. D. Z. Phillips (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998).