[FOM] Re: Unschooled grammatical intuition v. theoretical identities

Neil Tennant neilt at mercutio.cohums.ohio-state.edu
Fri Oct 17 13:27:13 EDT 2003

On Fri, 17 Oct 2003, Hartley Slater wrote:

> At 10:33 PM -0400 16/10/03, Neil Tennant wrote:
> >This deviant interpretation
> >had its brief day in a paper by Hintikka long ago in the JSL.
> The paper was on indentity in the Tractatus, you will remember; one 
> of the most discussed books in 20th century philosophy.

The title is "Identity, variables and impredicative definitions" (JSL
1956, pp.225-245. On p.228 Hintikka mentions Wittgenstein as having
*suggested* an exclusive reading, but points out that "no one has
previously tried to carry out his suggestions systematically."
Wittgenstein is then mentioned again only in a footnote on p.230 and again
in a footnote on p.235. 

I would like to point out the inappropriatenessness of the implicature in
your description of the Tractatus as "one of the most discussed books in
20th century philosophy". A reader would take you to be implying that you
believe I am not aware of the fame of this work, or indeed even unfamiliar
with it. I did not need to be reminded of what was in Hintikka's paper. I
referred to that paper, and not to the Tractatus, for the very reason
Hintikka himself gave for writing his paper, which was that no one had
previously tried to carry out W.'s suggestions systematically.
> At 10:33 PM -0400 16/10/03, Neil Tennant wrote:
> >Your claim that "the 'n' is clearly a variable" is a comment on a schema
> >of definition provided in the metalanguage.
> We had the object-meta issue out in FOM on this before:
> At 10:33 PM -0400 16/10/03, Neil Tennant wrote:
> >Thank you for quoting Schema N to me; but I'm afraid I don't agree that it
> >shows that I share your grammatical intuitions at all. That would be
> >immediately apparent if you read the careful explanation in the book of
> >how to identify the sentences that are to go on the right-hand side of
> >Schema N.
> In the FOM posting you said...
> >where the right-hand side has to be spelled out without use of sharp, and
> >without any apparent reference to numbers, or quantification over numbers,
> I note the 'apparent'.

I used the word "apparent" for the obvious reason: that there will be some
instances of the Schema that use number-theoretic predicates, functions
and/or constants, which would then of course bring in reference to numbers
on the right-hand side. I should not have to spell this out here.

Neil Tennant

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