18 April 2008

how does i can read last page

Finally getting around to reading Murray's paper on McDowell and "second nature" from a little while back; the one Currence liked so much. It's a draft, and sadly one of the things Murray hadn't gotten around to was including a bibliography.

**edit: I really need to sleep. I somehow failed to scroll all the way to the last page, where there is a bibliography. The quote I couldn't locate is from "Naturalism in the Philosophy of Mind", which I have as being from 2004. I'm leaving this post up anyway, because I went through the trouble of including content at the end and I'm not letting it go to waste!!1**

I'm not having any luck finding where this quotation is from:

She [Millikan] argues that ‘the biological sciences, including physiology and psychology, are distinguished from the physical sciences by their interest not in lawful happenings…but in biologically proper happenings ’ (‘White Queen Psychology,’ p. 362). But this does not remove the biological, as she
conceives of it, from what I introduced as the realm of law: it is just that the relevant laws are underwritten by considerations about proper function, rather than inductively based on what actually happens. We still have the contrast with the space of reasons. (McDowell 1999:294, fn. 28)


I've checked all of McDowell's work from 1999, according to Wikipedia, and none of it includes a page 294. Millikan's book isn't mentioned in "Having The World In View", so it isn't from there, either. Google is also unable to find it.

Any help?

I'd like to see the context for this quote; it reminds me a lot of Davidson's "Three Varieties of Knowledge", wherein Davidson has to clarify (against Dummett) that the "anomalism of the mental" is different in kind from the "anomalism" of the special sciences. The special sciences, such as geology, can deal in laws only if they include ceteris paribus clauses; these "loose" geological laws are likewise irreducible to strict physical laws. But it hardly makes sense to claim that geological phenomena are "free". Butt Davidson claims that the anomalism of the mental allows for mental phenomena to be considered free, to be considered autonomous. So Davidson has to clarify how anomalous monism can "make room for freedom" in the way that he claimed it did.

Davidson says that his point was not just that there can be no strict mental laws, but that our knowledge of our own and others' minds, of "I and Thou"*, could not even in principle be replaced with knowledge of lawful happenings, even if the relevant laws contain ceteris paribus clauses. This is not the case with geological phenomena, where shifting from (say) talk of plate tectonics to talk of the various relations of force in which plates stand to one another, from geology-talk to physics-talk, needn't defeat one's purposes in talking about the plates. To try to abandon talk of our own and others' minds for talk of (loosely law-like) psychological phenomena would, however, leave us unable to carry on as we do. Our talk of beliefs, desires, etc is not talk of anything which is amenable to subsumption under laws. (I do not think Rorty ever grasps this aspect of Davidson; see his review of "Mind and World", which takes the form of a commentary on Davidson's "Mental Events" and "Three Varieties of Knowledge", for a clear illustration of this. Rorty's compatibilism seems closer to Hume's than to Davidson's.)

*I'm hoping that the Buber reference will help make clear the sense in which "psychological phenomena" are something treatable by the nomothetical sciences and the sense in which they are not. Davidson does allow for "loose" psychological laws, and even psychophysical laws; he simply thinks that nothing of this sort could replace our ordinary way of talking about the propositional attitudes & their cohorts. When I speak of our knowledge of our own minds and of the minds of others, I mean only this latter sort; there is probably a better way to phrase this, but I am tired and really want to know where that reference is from.

7 comments:

Currence said...

Hmm, that's odd that the citation is from 1999. I'm almost certain that Murray must be referring to McDowell's "Naturalism in the philosophy of mind", which I think came out in the 2004 volume on naturalism.

For what it's worth, the full footnote (fn 28) from that article is:

"The point is just the same as the one that Dennett makes by saying that "the brain ... is just a syntactic engine", The Intentional Stance, p. 61. It is because this is a way of putting Millikan's own thought that I can classify her naturalism about "the intact mind" as a case of restrictive rather than liberal naturalism. She argues that "the biological sciences, including physiology and psychology, are distinguished from the physical sciences by their interest not in lawful happenings ... but in biologically proper happenings" ("White Queen Psychology", p.362). But this does not remove the biological, as she conceives it, from what I introduced as the realm of law: it is just that the relevant laws are underwritten by considerations about proper function, rather than inductively based on what actually happens. We still have the contrast with the space of reasons."

Currence said...

When you're finished with the Murray draft you should say what you think of it (e.g. if it captured the philosophical/rhetorical/etc. aims of M&W, as you understood it).

I'm going to email him and see if he has a more up-to-date version, particularly one with the final two sections finished.

Also, do you have a list of all the graduate philosophy courses that will be offered next year? I can't seem to find any such list online...

Daniel Lindquist said...

The Murray piece was good. I think he gets M&W right. In the book, McDowell's aims are relatively narrow; he's writing for Davidsonians/Sellarsians who aren't comfortable totally jettisoning empiricism, or alternately for those who would be Davidsonians/Sellarsians if not for their total disregard for empiricism. A lot of the criticisms of M&W are thus just complaining that McDowell didn't write a different book than he did.

Putnam's criticisms basically amount to "Why the heck did you set your sights so low in M&W??" -- I'm sympathetic to Putnam here. There are a variety of arguments one might make for the "dichotomy of logical spaces", and it would've been nice to see McDowell endorse one or more of them in M&W, rather than just gesture towards the Davidson/Sellars milieux. Or, if he thinks there's no need for arguments here (as is the case with Davidson's argument that most of anyone's beliefs must be true), it'd be nice for him to say why he doesn't think they're needed. Rorty has claimed that the distinction between the Naturwissenschaften and the Geisteswissenschaften should be exorcised away, with quietism & "bald naturalism" ending up as bosom buddies, so it's not prima facie obvious that bald naturalism is made attractive only by troublesome metaphysical hang-ups.

There's a bit in the Pippin/McDowell back-and-forth where McDowell & Pippin agree that the proper response to "bald naturalist" claims about e.g. reducing the intentional to the functional is "I won't hold my breath." I remember being annoyed by that -- I agree that not holding one's breath is a proper response, but what do we do with all of those people who are holding their breath, and insist we are irrational to not do likewise? Simply lacking enthusiasm for those projects risks looking like the folk who didn't think we'd ever be able to put a man on the moon, or to analyze the composition of the stars, or to explain the origin of a single blade of grass. I think that's a reasonable worry which needs to be addressed, and M&W just ignores it.

It'd be nice to see a more-complete version of Murray's paper; the last few sections have some nice headings.

I have a tentative, unofficial list of courses offered next year (in print form, so I can't just forward it to you). There are four graduate seminars listed for the fall:

Davey, "Context & Evidence", about how useful contextualism is for various purposes.

Finklestein, "Late Wittgenstein" (no description given, just those four words)

J. Lear, "Ethics & Identity" -- Koorsgaard, Frankfurt, Appiah, and Charles Taylor are read.

Kimhi, "Desire and Love in Lacan" -- no prior acquaintance with "the writings of Lacan, or with the writings of his readers" will be presupposed. They're reading Plato's Symposium. I will probably take this if I suffer severe mental trauma before the quarter starts.

I don't know what 3000-level means, but Haugeland is listed as teaching "a 3000-level Introduction to Being and Time", Wimsatt's "Philosophy of Social Science" is marked "22900/32900", Richards's "Darwin's Origin of Speices and Descent of Man" is marked "23015/33015", Ford's "Justice" is marked "21605/31605", and Bridges' "Elementary Logic" is marked "20100/30000". None of these numbers mean anything to me; I'm used to seeing four-digit codes where the first digit is 1-5 and indicates freshman/sophmore/junior/senior/graduate, and the other three are for filing purposes only.

I thought Hagueland's "3000-level" was a typo, since everyone else seems to get five digits for their class number. But then there are other vaguely-outlined "3000-level" courses in the winter and spring, listed right before the graduate seminars. Google and the Chicago website were unhelpful in figuring out how this stuff works.

Hope that helps.

Currence said...

re: logical spaces.
I had thought that Davidson's thoughts on how "folk psychological" terms are regulated by the constitutive ideal of rationality, while the terms of natural science are regulated by the ideal of inductive generalization (and the biological sciences too, if we let a little teleology slip in -- a point the force of which I think McDowell+co. could push a little harder, to their benefit), weren't worth nothing. But perhaps you're right, and there isn't a totally persuasive argument in there somewhere -- more needs to be said about what it means for subject matters to have different constitutive ideals (or, organizing principles).

On the one hand, it's frustrating because we (those who believe in a distinction between logical spaces) need to convince the bald naturalists that, no, seriously, we aren't doing science, and in fact we aren't even trying to do science, and yet our statements aren't thereby meaningless. (This is of course why "folk psychology" is an infelicitous label that serves to stack the deck at the beginning -- what we're doing when we give reasons-explanations isn't even trying to be anything like a scientific or "psychological" explanation, so it's trivial that it couldn't fail at that purpose. The "bald naturalists" think they are trying to reduce/eliminate, say, the phenomenal appearance of red to, say, those physical properties which underly that appearance, when in fact they're attempting to reduce/eliminate red to blue.)

"Seriously folks, science is not the only show in town. There are other shows, and they needn't deprive science of its dignity because they aren't even competing with science (or, to the extent that they are, it's only because science has overstepped its bounds -- yes, its bounds! -- and conflated other subject matter with its own). Quine's preference for 'desert ontologies' and his later suggestion that what exists is what our best (scientific) theories say exists was -- shock! horror! -- a preference, and one that might, given further reflection, have been shown to be unable to bear the weight of a full intellectual inquiry." But this is angst, not argument...

On the other hand, given my growing attraction for the resolute Conant/Diamond interpretation of Wittgenstein (as a philosophical position, not necessarily a textual interpretation), I'm becoming more and more comfortable saying that people are "simply" confused, that they aren't saying or thinking what they are trying to (or what they think they are trying to). There is surely a form of arrogance in both positions, I suppose.


re: courses.
Wow, the first three graduate seminars all look good.
5000-level courses are usually graduate only, 3000-level are for undergrads and grads, and 2000-level are undergrad only (I think this is how it works). Yeah, I don't know why they say "3000-level" when the actual course numbers are 30,000-level...

Daniel Lindquist said...

I didn't mean to imply that no one has a convincing argument for the dichotomy of logical spaces; I merely don't think McDowell has clearly endorsed any. He's endorsed the position, and gestured towards people who have made arguments for it, but if he's actually endorsed any particular argument for the position (or offered any of his own), then I've missed them. Certainly he doesn't do this in M&W, which is what I was complaining about.

I'm not inclined to put argumentative weight on "the constitutive ideal of rationality"; arguing for that is liable to be trickier than arguing for the dichotomy of logical spaces directly. Which Davidson does in a number of places; I think "Three Varieties of Knowledge" takes the most promising tack on the issue.

I'm also not inclined to fret too much about "the bounds of science"; I don't think psychological phenomena are amenable to being treated in the way physics or biology handle their subject-matters, but they're certainly amenable to study of some sort. If someone doesn't want to call psychology/sociology/economics "science" then I'm not inclined to press the issue; if they insist that they are, I'm happy to consider them as on all fours with chemistry. I'm shamelessly profligate with what I'll consider a "science", if not given a reason to limit the term's scope on a particular occasion. And so I have trouble treating "science" as something which has firm boundaries beyond which it ought not to tread. This also saves me the trouble of having to convince anyone that I'm not doing science (or that I am); it's a matter of utter indifference to me. If someone wants to insist that I ought to be taking, say, quantum mechanics or cognitive science as a model for my thinking, then the problem isn't that science has overstepped its bounds, but that someone has really dumb ideas about what's likely to be productive in getting clear on philosophical whozzits.

I'm not sure who you're having to defend the meaningfulness of your (non-scientific) speech to. Zombie A.J. Ayer?

I always get a laugh at the later Quine claiming that our ontology ought to be whatever our best science needs to quantify over, given his fetish for behaviorism. I suppose we ought to look to our best science for our philosophizing, unless our best science starts to let psychological entities back in, in which case we should look at our favorite science instead.

I think the arrogance involved in saying that so-and-so is "simply confused" is a dangerous arrogance. If that's all you have to say on the matter, then you can be no help to so-and-so, or anyone under their spell. Sure, on the resolute view a lot of folk are just speaking nonsense, but we philosophical therapists are also supposed to do this. Have to show the fly the way out of the fly-bottle, and all that.

Currence said...

re: science.
Yeah, I agree with you about not getting into great arguments about what is or is not "science". What I meant to be getting at is that if psychology/sociology/etc. are taken to be sciences, then we need to recognize something special about their subject matter, i.e. that regardless of however they (qua science) handle their items of inquiry (e.g. psychology might have an operational definition of belief which doesn't make reference to a holistic rationality), those items only "show up" on the radar, so to speak, in the first place because of the const. ideal. of rat'lity.

That is, while both physics and psychology might be able to investigate their respective items of inquiry according to what we might call a "constitutive ideal of inductive generalization" (or even -- for psychology -- a const. ideal of induct. general. + teleology), psychology's items are unique (vs. physics) in that they need an additional ideal (rat'lity) to appear at all.


re: Quine and science.
Ha! Yes, I think what I probably need to do most (before thinking about science and its relation to philosophy) is to read some good philosophy of science (i.e. the kind where the philosophers actually look at what scientists do, etc.). I don't want to argue against zombie Ayer or zombie Popper if I don't have to...


re: arrogance.
The arrogance can be dangerous, but it's not nearly as dangerous (I'd think) as possible misinterpretations (or correct interpretations, I don't claim textual authority) that e.g. the philosophies of Marx, Freud, or Nietzsche lend themselves to.

I think there is a small sort of arrogance in any position that refuses to take an opponent's claims at face value, but I think Witt's position has two virtues: 1) it's not premised on the idea that philosophers are confused (that is, instead, a conclusion of trying to see what the philosophers might be saying), and 2) that conclusion isn't the final conclusion (which is, as you said, a dissolution or exorcism of the confusion).

I think something amounting to a "genealogy of nonsense" would be really interesting here. Perhaps Eugen Fischer's forthcoming "Philosophical Delusion and Its Therapy" will be useful.

Daniel Lindquist said...

"That is, while both physics and psychology might be able to investigate their respective items of inquiry according to what we might call a "constitutive ideal of inductive generalization" (or even -- for psychology -- a const. ideal of induct. general. + teleology), psychology's items are unique (vs. physics) in that they need an additional ideal (rat'lity) to appear at all."

I'm not sure I'd want to take this approach. It's not entirely clear to me that the various natural sciences can be generalized about in this way, as if they were all guided by the same ideal (the same method, the same practices). I certainly want the mental to be distinct from things which aren't the mental, but I'm (at least) agnostic about whether or not there's anything interesting to say about everything-what-ain't-the-mental. What little of the literature I've read on "the unity of science" has lead me to think that this isn't an idea that has a lot to recommend it at this point. So I suspect if you want to cache out "constitutive ideal"-talk, you might need a lot more than just the two (plus teleology -- the constitutive ideal of purposefulness?).

I want to recommend Joseph Rouse's stuff again; I haven't tackled any of his books yet, but I've really enjoyed the articles of his that I've read. He's good at taking ideas from areas like "feminist philosophy of science" and the sociology of knowledge and putting them in plain English. Which is good, since there seems to be interesting stuff going on there, but I find it really hard to read (cyborgs??). I've also reread "Mind, Body, and World: Todes & McDowell" a few times, and it is still terrific every time. (Apparently affordance-talk comes from Gibson. I should probably read his book at some point.)

I doubt that anything like a "genealogy of nonsense" is possible; I don't think there is a reason someone falls into confusion, even in (most) particular cases. Similarly, I'm not comfortable with saying that Wittgensteinians shouldn't (or don't) "take claims at face value" -- if something seems like nonsense, then to regard it as nonsense is to treat it at face value. And if it doesn't seem like nonsense, then maybe it isn't (even if it seems "metaphysical" in some undefinable sense). I'm inclined to think this is actually the case with most "naturalist"/scientismist positions -- they aren't entirely nonsense, but are a mix of misplaced optimism, actual knowledge of science & its progress, conceptual muddles, despair about certain facets of life/society (which are either supposed to wither away or be "rendered scientific" with the march of progress), etc. That is, I think the earnest attempt to understand what one's philosophical "opponent" might be saying can leave an interesting remainder, even once all that ought to be exorcised has been exorcised. Wittgensteinians, then, would just be normal philosophers who happen to be more sensitive to how easy it is to slip into nonsense without noticing it.