Letter from J.J.C. Smart to A.N. Prior,
Thanks for your letter
it provided much pleasant food for thought. Iâm sorry to hear of the flu,
though. I hope that is now very much a
thing of the past.
The Ryle bibliography. (I donât know what Ryle would think if he thought that people were
bibliographying him!) Youâve missed a few things out, surprising as it may seem! I can think of (1)
lecture on John Locke in Christchurch (Oxford!)
published by O.U.P.
Date, I think 1928. But poss.
1932 if it was the tercentenary of Lockeâs birth.)
(2) âTaking Sides in Philosophyâ,
(An attack on people who boast of following such and such a school of philosophy.) (3)
e of Cornford âPlato and Parmenidesâ
, Mind 1939 or thereabouts.
(This is very
interesting). (4) âPhilosophical Argumentsâ, Inaugural lecture 1944 (O.U.P).
âs âNature of Thoughtâ, Philosophy 1940.
If, So and Because
Analysisâ, edited by Max Black, Cornell University Press.
(7) I think there was something on
âAboutâ in the pre
war Analysis (by the way. I never see the pre
war Analysis. What was
âConscience v. Moral Convictionsâ like?) Review of the
ept of Mind
are legion, but the
following are the most interesting that you havenât mentioned: Farrell:
Brit. Journal of Psychology
1950. J.L. Austin,
Times Literary Supplement
, 1950. Not quite so good: M. Macdonald,
. Also D. Mackinnon.
About âAll facts are relational or
â being analytic. Of course it wonât quite do, because
J. Mackie doesnât
say âall f. are q. or r.â But whatever it is that he does say, it is analytic.
agree that he admits negative
and general facts. But still, he d
id say something like âall
re q. or r.
â in a letter
thatâs why I took
him up about it. He does not admit existential facts. (A
like Russell, who at any rate say âSoc. existsâ is not a fact
Socrates, but Ma
ckie not, I
think, so clear headed
about this as Russell.) Iâve been reading Russellâs series in the Monist 1918,
1919, on âThe Philosophy of Logical Atomismâ
I think (a
part from PM) it is the best stuff R. has
m only sorry Iâd never read it before. There are a lot of Sydney like things about facts in
it. Also some not so Sydney like th
ings. Iâve got vague thoughts on [p. 2]
facts arising out of
criticism of R
ussellâs first article in the series, and if they come to anything Iâll let you know what
Editorâs note: The letter is in the Prior archive box 3 at the Bodleian Library in Oxford and has been transcribed
by David Jakobsen with much help from Martin Prior.
Editorâs note: Smart
to John Locke: Tercentenary Addresses Delive
red in the Hall at Christ Church, October
1932. Oxford University Press.
Editorâs note: Ryle, G., Taking Sides in Philosophy,
Vol. 12, No. 47 (Jul., 1937), pp. 317
Editorâs note: Ryle, G. Review o
f âPlato and Parmenidesâ, by Francis Macdonald Cornford,
, Volume XLVIII,
Issue 192, 1 October 1939, Pages 536
Editorâs note: â
â, delivered as the Inaugural Lecture as Waynflete Professor of Metaphysical
Philosophy. It is
reprinted in Collected Papers, vol. 2, 194
Editorâs note: Ryle, G., Review of Blanshardâs âNature of Thoughtâ,
1940. Vol. 15, No. 59 (Jul., 1940),
Editorâs note: Ryleâs essay in â
, edited by Max Black
, Cornell University Press, 1950.
Editorâs note: D.M. Mackinnon., âThe Concept of Mindâ,
The Philosophical Quarterly
, Vol 1., No. 3, April 1950, pp.
they are. But probably they wonât come to anything. Anywa
y I want to have a bit of a think
them as soon term comes to an end!
I like Maryâs wicked theory. Wicke
d theories are always more fun than respectable ones!
I agree with you about Ryle
on heterologicality. I think he would too. As you say âthe real point
is not t
at âhetâ is non
philosophical but that itâs applicability can not be determined until after
omething else was determined. But of course if it
philosophical epithet its applicability
could be determined right away. I also agree about your treatment of the class of all classes. I think
it is neater than any
Iâve seen. (Quite how important
the âasymmetrical logical relationâ business is,
though, I canât feel sure.)
The treatment of achievement words is interesting. Of course Ryle likes to talk of âgot itâ words
rather than achievement words. (You can see without trying to see. You can score
accidentally, etc.) Also task
achievement is a special case of a more general thing: process
The leaves float down the stream and
the bridge. Arrival is the result of floating down. But of
cause they are not
to reach anything
! That âforkâ
âtry to seeâ is, I thin
k, an interesting and
in fact not a merely verbal oneâ¦.
Best wishes to Mary, and looking forward to more wicked
Editorâs note: It is difficult to make out what Smart writes here.