This volume, Paul Grice’s first book, includes the long-delayed publication of his enormously influential 1967 William James Lectures. But there is much, much more in this work. Grice himself has carefully arranged and framed the sequence of essays to emphasize not a certain set of ideas but a habit of mind, a style of philosophizing.
Grice has, to be sure, provided philosophy with crucial ideas. His account of speaker-meaning is the standard that others use to define their own minor divergences or future elaborations. His discussion of conversational implicatures has given philosophers an important tool for the investigation of all sorts of problems; it has also laid the foundation for a great deal of work by other philosophers and linguists about presupposition. His metaphysical defense of absolute values is starting to be considered the beginning of a new phase in philosophy. This is a vital book for all who are interested in Anglo-American philosophy.
Grice was a miniaturist who changed the way other people paint big canvases. The question of correct scale is ultimately one of intellectual judgment, and in this his magisterial, fastidious prose rebukes those of us who want to move faster. [His] work culminated in the William James lectures delivered at Harvard in 1967, and philosophers will he grateful for having them finally available in one volume, Studies in the Way of Words, together with many other of Grice’s papers, and a retrospective epilogue, written within two years of his death.
Some philosophers are important because they have produced an important article or an important theory; others are important because, in addition to producing articles and theories, they have minds that ‘scintillate’ in a certain way. Grice is a philosopher of this second and greater type… Grice’s intellect, power, and charm are all vehicles for conveying a vision of philosophy, a vision that has much to say to analytic philosophers today.
In interest and power this book far exceeds most publications of our time.
[Paul Grice] is without peer as an example of how to do philosophy directly, simply and without idiosyncrasy. The special flavours of…our other leading philosophers are valuable, but they should not be copied. Grice is the only leader of whom it is true that the level of the discipline would be raised if most philosophers took him as a model of how to think and write.
- 406 pages
- 6 x 9 inches
- Harvard University Press
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