The Nachlass of A.N. Prior
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Department of Information Studies - University of Copenhagen
and
Department of Communication and Psychology - Aalborg University

From J.J.C. Smart to Arthur N. Prior on 26/09/1951

Editor's note: The letter is in the Prior archive box 3 at the Bodleian Library in Oxford and has been transcribed and commented on by David Jakobsen, with much help from Martin Prior.

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Letter from J.J.C. Smart to A.N. Prior,
September 26, 1951
1


The University

Adelaide

S. Australia

26.9.51


Dear Arthur

I have noticed yet another material error in the paper I read at Sydney. On p. 11 the sentence “Then
S would tell us that if the m th

number is m then the m th number is m+1 (or 0 if the m th number is
9)” should read “Then S would tell us that if the m th decimal of the m th number is n then the m th
decimal of the m th number is n + 1 (or = if n

=

9).


I am having an interesting corre
spondence with John Mackie arising out of his article on Ryle in
the journal. It began by trying to find out just what he meant by the words “fact”, “quality” and
“relation”. I suggested that he was so using these words that “every
fact

consists

of a thing having a
quality
or of two or more things having a relation between them” becomes analytic. We have written
several longish letters to one another and I think we are getting nearer and nearer to agreement.

I thought the Sydney conference was mo
st enjoyable. I’m sorry that you are not planning to come
to Canberra. I hope you change your mind! Also I hope to see George Hughes there! I gave
Passmore’s article in
Mind

“The Dreariness of Aesthetics” to some of the English people here to read.
His ill
ustrations seem badly chosen, and calculated to annoy library folk, and so I’ve not been able to
ly to the logic of his contentions
. However it is good fun



no doubt is
has sowed doubt

in their minds. Anyway
they

think aestheti
cs is dreary, too! But they still hanker
after “common characteristics”. As for me, of course, I know nothing whatever a
bout aesthetics or
literature!

I’m hoping to get some dovetailing with the English dept. next year. As a sort of advertising stunt
I tho
ught putting on a few lecturers for first year English students on “Can you
think without words?”
And Gunner would

like to do some philosophical aesthetics
with the Honours
people. The new Prof.
of English is quite interested, and may do something in the n
ature of “The influence of Cartesianism
on literature” for my (Cartesian) 1
st

year philosoph
y people. I hope it comes off. I think infiltration
between departments
is a good thing!


Best Wishes to Mary


Yours Jack Smart




1

Editor’s note: The letter is in the Prior archive box 3 at the Bodleian Library in Oxford and has been transcribed and
commented
on
by

David Jakobsen, with much help from Martin Prior.

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