Prior Studies

Life and Work of Arthur Norman Prior

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Box 6

Mainly papers/drafts

Last updated: 2018-06-29 12:31:41

  • The Aims of Logic. HWU (21 p.). Ca. 1950?.
    • Mary Prior ('BR') has added the following note: "Unpublished? Was this the beginning of that VIth form logic Book A. [Arthur Prior] was asked to write?".– The never published manuscript 'The Craft of Formal Logic' (see Items from a dictionary of formal logic/box 6) was for some time under consideration as a school textbook, but 'The Aims of Logic' is quite different from the Introduction to 'The Craft of Formal Logic'.
  • Aristotle on Logical Squares. HWU (8 p.). Ca. 1956.

This "paper" (in a folder) also contains various bits & pieces, e.g. a few letters, apparently not at all connected with 'Aristotle on logical squares'; it also contains some sheets on Hamblin's 'Elementary Formal Logic'; see Keynes/box 6.
--- Per Hasle

  • Background to Overseas News. TU (3 p.). 1949.

In all likelihood manuscript for a NZ broadcast.
--- Per Hasle

  • Bangor Summer School. TU (4 p.). 1961.

A syllabus called 'Some Puzzles about Time', i.e. lecture plan and notes for Bangor Summer School course 1961.
--- Per Hasle

  • Bentham and Coleridge. TU (9 p.) (ca. 1950-55). Theological.
    • ABSTRACT (Per Hasle): It is a manuscript for a "lunch-hour talk", clearly given in NZ (mentioning that the discussions in which Bentham (1748-1832) and Coleridge (the poet etc., 1772-1834) were involved, respectively, had been taking place "12000 miles away".) The subject matter (among other things Scottish Theology) could point towards the fourties, whereas the maturity of thought could point towards the (early) fifties. At any rate it is with a high likelihood given during Prior's first period (45-55) at Canterbury University College. Mary Prior has, on request, added this comment: "During the winter term (I think) for several years members of the Canterbury University College staff gave lectures on particular themes - e.g. there was one on time for instance. I am not clear what this subject [Bentham and Coleridge] fell under. I think the lectures took place between 51 and 55".
  • The Case of Edward Irving. TU (5 p.). Ca. 1942. Theological.
    • ABSTRACT (Per Hasle): Discusses the 19th century reverend Edward Irving (of the Scottish Established Church), who preached that idolatry encompassed not only "outward homage to a material image", but also worship of ideas or values cherished by us, e.g. Mammon-worship. In doing so he was not unusual, but he also contended that parents are the objects of idolatry by their infants in early childhood. Thus he anticipated a Freudian insight - which Prior here accepts as true – which could not be tolerated by the church, especially since it is a model of our wider motives for being religious. Edward Irving was dismissed (formally, on grounds of his understanding of the Incarnation). The paper in general seems to embrace Freudian theory to a degree, where it must lead to atheism. See also [Hasle 1997b].
  • Children of the Damned. TU (10 p., + 2 handwritten pages). Ca. 1942. Theological.
    • ABSTRACT (Per Hasle): This paper examines the cases of four persons directly or indirectly influenced by a perception that they themselves, or one of their parents, were irretrievably damned. The persons in question are Frederick Denison Maurice, a Victorian-age English theologian, Søren Kierkegaard, 19th century Danish Christian philosopher, "Rabbi" John Duncan, 19th century Scottish Presbyterian minister and missionary to the Jews, and James Joyce. In each case a Freudian analysis is offered as an explanation of their preoccupation with damnation, especially with reference to the Oedipus-complex. The paper in general seems to embrace Freudian theory to a degree, where it must lead to atheism. The analyses offered appear sharp and inventive. Mary Prior has added that this item may have been published - perhaps in The Presbyter. See also [Hasle 1997b].
  • Civil Liberties Abroad and at Home. TU (3 p.). 1957.

(Undated, but page 2 makes it evident that this must be 1957)
--- Per Hasle

  • Definitions, Rules and Axioms. T (21 p.) ORIG 1955m.
  • Determinism in Philosophy and Theology. TU (4 p.). Ca. 1944?. Theological. Probably Prior's best defence of a predestinarian stance.
    • ABSTRACT (Per Hasle): In contrast to Prior's other "theological papers" from the Fourties (and earlier), this paper thematically compares the doctrine of predestination with philosophical determinism, respectively, indeterminism. The paper opens by observing that in "modern discussions", determinism is often associated with a "scientific creed" as opposed to the idea of free will, which is considered to be religious. But this perception is immediately countered:

      "It is exceedingly rare for philosophers to pay any great attention to the fact that a whole line of Christian thinkers, running from Augustine (to trace it back no further) through Luther and Calvin and Pascal to Barth and Brunner in our own day, have attacked freewill in the name of religion." [DPT, p. 1].

      The paper then proceeds in four major steps:

      First, it is emphasised that philosophical or scientific determinism is in part different from the idea of predestination: the Calvinism expounded by Barth and Brunner is not pure determinism but a paradoxical mixture of determinism and freewill [DPT p. 1]. They wish to replace the "secular mystery of determinism", respectively, indeterminism, by the "holy and real mystery of Jesus Christ." Man is seen as unable to perform by himself an act of faith, but when, by the grace of God, he does perform it, that is an act of real freedom, "freewill for the first time".

      Second, it is argued (with reference to arguments put forward by C. D. Broad) that the ordinary ideas of freewill, when understood as moral accountability and general indeterminism, are at least as absurd as the idea of predestination:

      "We are guilty of that which we are totally helpless to alter; and to God alone belongs the glory of what we do when we are truly free. – Absurd as these doctrines appear, they are in the end no more so than the ordinary non-Augustinian concept of "moral accountability"..." [DPT p. 2]

      Thirdly, Prior goes on to describe how certain fundamental parts of human experience are actually compatible with the notion of predestination, leading to the conclusion that

      "Even those of us who accept a straightforward determinism have to give some account of men's feeling of freedom, and their feeling of guilt; and it is at least conceiveable that the "absurdities" of Augustinianism contain a more accurate psychological description of the state of mind concerned, than does the "absurdity" of the ordinary non-Augustinian concept of "moral accountability"." [DPT p. 3].

      Various quite convincing arguments are offered to underpin the plausibility of Augustinianism in the face of human experience.

      Up to this point, the paper – even if brief in its analysis – is a vivid and convincing defence of predestination, or determinism in an Augustinian sense. But this perception is modified in the final step of the analysis.

      In the fourth and concluding part, Freudian psychoanalysis is brought into the picture. It is argued that religious determinism is concerned with "particular inward compulsions and dependences" [DPT p. 4], from which we must be released through (psycho)analysis. Following Freud, the doctrine of sin and salvation in St. Paul and Augustine are seen as a partial psychoanalysis, leading to the conclusion that "The theological doctrine of predestination is a "Theory of Obsessions", prefaced to the analysis of a particular case." [DPT p. 4]. Nevertheless, it is not quite clear whether this means that Christianity, and especially the doctrine of predestination, are simply "subjected" to a psychoanalytical viewpoint, or whether it rather implies that evidence from psychoanalysis corroborates the idea of predestination within (Prebyterian) Christianity.(This has nothing to do with inconsistency, of course, but there is a tension here which may well reflect Prior's own state of mind at the time of writing.)

      Dating: ca. 1944? - The clear defence of the (Augustinian/Barthian) doctrine of predestination would suggest that the paper is written after Prior's religious crisis (1942). However, the influence of Freud, which was diminishing from 1944 onwards, is also strong in this paper. (Even though I think that around 1944 is the most likely dating, it might also be later than that. One notable feature is the fact that the issue determinism/predestination is discussed more in philosophical than in theological terms. This is a difference from Prior's other papers dealing with predestination, and just might put the paper even later than 'The Reformers Reformed' (1946b) and 'Supralapsarianism' (1947d). This might put it in the late Fourties, before Prior began to give up his determinist stance in the early Fifties).

      See also [Hasle 1997b].

  • East-West Working Party. Canberra, December   1957. HWU (10 p.). 1957. (See also immediately below, as well as 1958c).

Hereof 4 handwritten pages of notes on 'atomism', obviously connected with the same occasion, but partly independent contentwise. 
--- Per Hasle

  • Philosophy East & West, HWU (30 p.). 1957. (See also immediately above and below, as well as 1958c).
  • ANP: Meeting some Asian philosophers, 6 p. + handwritten material (See also immediately above, as well as 1958c).
  • Evolution. HWU (Ca. 18 p.). Ca. 1950?
    • INFO (Per Hasle): Not really a full manuscript, but rather a fragmentary bunch of notes. --In the winter 1949-50 there was a controversy on 'evolution' in the NZ Listener, involving ANP, one G. H. Duggan, and a few others. These notes were in all likelihood written in this connection. (See Scrapbook Listings, section 3, items 4 and 9.)
  • Existence. HWU (5 p.). DATE?
  • The Fable of the Four Preachers. TU (5p.). Ca. 1962. Theological.
    • INFO (Per Hasle): This paper takes the guise of a story about four sects in a small Massachusetts town. All sects believe in the existence of another world than ours', but differ with regard to what this means for immortality. Sect A believes that when a person dies, he goes to the other world, where he is punished (or rewarded) according to his deeds in this world. He has, however, no memories at all about his life in the first world. Sect B believes that when a person X in this world dies, immediately another – indeed quite a different – person Y begins existence in the other world; and this other person Y's happiness or misery depends entirely on the behaviour of X in this world. Sect C believes that when a person X in this world dies, he begins existence in the other world, but now as several persons. Each of these persons has exactly the same memories as those of X, indeed each of them is X. And each suffers according to the sins of X. Sect D believes that when a number of persons in this world die simultaneously, they start existence in the other world, but now as just one person. This person clearly remembers having been each of the "simultaneously died" persons, indeed he is all of them. As regards reward or punishment, Sect D preferred to keep "an agnostic silence", but sometimes their preacher hinted that the idea of retributive justice was barbarous. Finally, there was a fifth group in the town, the local sceptics, who discussed their opinions on the four sects. The morality and logic of each view is thereby shortly examined. The paper concludes with this observation: ".. most of the sceptics, for reasons which they found very difficult to make clear even to themselves, found the "fusion" doctrine of Sect D appreciably more impossible to stomach (if there can be degrees of impossibility) than the "fission" doctrine of Sect C. This paper at the same time raises questions concerning 'temporal identity' and theology. It is clear that the idea of (temporal) trans-world identity is at stake here. What is the moral implication, for instance, of Sect A's view that a person without memories of his previous existence is nevertheless punished or rewarded for things of which he has no knowledge? (Indeed, what sense does it make to say that it is the same person?) What does the multiplication of an individual according to Sect C mean (and does this idea suggest a branching-time-like picture?)? As for sect D, their conception can seem unintelligible. It has, however, a possible affinity to some interpretations of Calvinism, wherein the Elect are elected only in Christ – and not at all in themselves – and in a sense, live on only in Christ. If that is what is here hinted at, the paper may be seen as a very interesting holding-together of some classical Christian ideas and the (temporal study of) questions concerning time and identity. A limitation to this interpretation is that the sects – at least A, B, and C – all hold that the states in the "after-world" somehow depend on deeds, as opposed to the Protestant and Calvinist emphasis on salvation as dependent on faith and the sheer "grace of God". But it may be at telling fact that Sect D is the one which keeps silent on the question of how life may be in the other world. Dating: Ca. 1962? The fact that problems concerning temporal and 'trans-world' identity are on ANP's mind here suggest that this paper is relatively late. In a letter (09.02.1997) to the undersigned, Mary Prior dates it between 1961 and 1964, with 1962 as the most probable year. See also [Hasle 1997b].
  • Finnegan's Wake - an interpretation. TU (3 p.). DATE? (Early).
  • The History of Logic. TU + HWU (altogether 63 p.) Ca. 1961-62. Apparently some of this material was used for one or more BBC-broadcasts in 1962.
    • INFO (Per Hasle): Containing the following sections:
      1. The End of a Myth, HWU, 16 p.
      2. Terms and Sentences, TU(?), 8 p.+ HWU 20 p.
      3. Words and Things, HWU, 19 p.

      A "header" to the typewritten version of II: 'Terms and sentences' contains the following information:

      recorded 04.10.62. in Manchester, broadcast 25th October [1962?], 9.20-9.40 p.m., producer T.S. Gregory, Third programme.

  • Independence Proofs Without Models. HWU (10 p.). DATE? (On account of its subject matter and/or technical sophistication this must probably be 60'es material).
  • "Intensionality". HWU (5 p.). DATE?
    • INFO (Per Hasle): The paper carries no title, but it is concerned with the concept of 'Intensionality'. Its physical position within box 6 - that is, according to alphabetical order - strongly suggests that the first organisers of the archive (Mary Prior and Peter Geach, or, more probably, David and Steffi Lewis) had this title in mind. - On account of its subject matter and/or technical sophistication this must probably be 60'es material; compare it with 1968d.
  • Is There a Problem of Science and Religion? HWU (16 p.). DATE? (Early). Theological.
  • It Was to Be. T (12 p.). ORIG 1976 b.
    • INFO (Per Hasle): Original DATE: Ca. 1961? In 1976b, Geach and Kenny (implicitly) date this paper as lying between 1960 and 1962 (namely the papers 'The Autonomy of Ethics' 1960b, and 'Nonentities' 1962b). (There is a slight oddity here, for in spite of their aim of presenting the papers of 1976b in chronological order, 'Nonentities' was according to [Kenny 1970, p. 341] in fact written in 1955. Nevertheless, the position of 'It was to be' in 1976b must indicate that Geach and Kenny estimate this paper to have been written between 1960 and 1962.). In any case, the paper makes a reference to 1957a, and moreover, to "my New Zealand colleague Mr. Michael Shorter", clearly indicating that it is written after 1957 and also some time after Prior left New Zealand in 1958.
  • Also two drafts on the subject, a) HW (8 p.), b) HW (20 p.). (Both written on University of Manchester paper).
  • Folder 'Keynes'. Ca. 1946–49. Items for a projected book on the logician J. N. Keynes (1852-1949).
    • INFO (Per Hasle): This folder contains some material for a projected book on the logician J. N. Keynes (1852-1949) (see also 1967e). Prior was thinking of writing a book on Keynes ca. 1946–49 - before the fire that burned down the Prior family's house in early 1949 (See A History of Scottish Theology/box 7). Some items in the folder are clearly written later, so Prior kept collecting material on Keynes, for whose classical book 'Formal Logic' (first edition 1884) he had a great respect. He made numerous references to Keynes in 'The Craft of Formal Logic' (see Items from a dictionary of formal logic/box 6, and The Craft/box 22) as well as his own 'Formal Logic' 1955a, and the posthumous 'The Doctrine of Propositions and Terms' 1976a, which was based on parts of 'The Craft'. Contents of folder: - The Modern-traditional Logic of Keynes and Johnson. HWU (7 p.). Ca. 1948. The Seven Logical Relations. HWU (9 p.). Ca. 1957 (see below). Draft for a review of Hamblin's 'Elementary Formal Logic' (so far it has not been possible to establish whether or where Hamblin's 'Elementary Formal Logic' has been published; but a note by Prior suggests that the (intended) publisher should be: Hicks, Smith & Sons, Pty. Ltd., Sydney). The draft is incomplete - ending seems to be missing. It is hardly a coincidence that this review is found in the Keynes-folder, since it makes many references to both Keynes and Johnson. As for dating it may be observed that Hamblin did not begin to publish before 1957, which was also the year in which the correspondence between Hamblin and Prior began. In the Hamblin-bibliography (see Hamblin/First folder/box 10), some unpublished work by Hamblin is also listed, including an item "Notes on Logic, duplicated for students, 1957", which could be the same item as the one here called 'Elementary Formal Logic'. - 9 loose pages of very diverse content. - Letter from Ivo Thomas, 24 January 1967, to ANP, answering a question about Keynes.
  • Report on Kneale & Kneale: The Development of Logic (1962). TU (50 p.). Ca. 1961.
    • INFO (Per Hasle): Prior made this report as a referee for Oxford University Press; the item contains 3 typed pages of general comments, plus ca. 20 typed pages of specific comments.
  • Knowledge. HWU (15 p.). DATE? (Early).
  • Law and Order. TU (3 p.) DATE? (With additions by hand)
  • The Logic of Belief. TU (10 p.). 1956.
    • INFO (Per Hasle): This paper was submitted to Analysis in 1956; Geach found an error, his comments are enclosed in a letter from the editor together with the paper. The paper was never published. (Also attached are 4 handwritten pages by ANP, which do not seem to be concerned with this matter, though.)
  • Logical Laws and Truth-valueless Sentences. T (2 p.). ORIG 1970c.
  • Logic and Lewis Carroll. TU (4 p.). Ca. 1950.
    • INFO (Per Hasle): In 1950, Prior gave a talk on 'Alice in Wonderland' and 'Through the Looking-Glass' by Lewis Carroll to the NZ Literary Club. In one of the scrapbooks in Box 11, the talk is referred in a newspaper-article, which also makes it clear that Prior used Aristotelian syllogistics for his analyses (and evidently in a very amusing manner). There can be little doubt that this manuscript is related to that event. See also Third folder/box 10, and Scrapbook Listings, section 3, item 4.
  • The Logic of Obligation and the Obligations of the Logician. TU (41 p.; last 1 1/2 page are a handwritten footnote). DATE: 1957-58? (Also in box 5).
    • INFO (Per Hasle): Dating: The paper contains a reference to 1955a, hence it is later than this. Moreover, it mentions Prior's NZ colleagues Hughes and Sawyer in a manner suggesting that these would be "house-hold names" to (most of) the expected readers . Although this argument may seem rather loose I do think that Prior would hardly write in this way while not living in NZ. Mary Prior (1997) has a recollection that the paper may have been written with a view to publication in the NZ journal Landfall, but this is not certain.
  • Names of Names. TU (6 p.). 1965. Dated 07.01.65.

See also: 1) Third folder/box 8 ('Names'), 2) Second folder/box 8 (the manuscript for 'Objects of Thought' 1971a).
--- Per Hasle

  • Negation. HWU (5 p.). DATE: 1967? - Related to 1967i.
    • INFO (Per Hasle): 
      fill5.gif (67 bytes)As regards the subject matter and title - as well as the opening phrases - there is a clear similarity between this draft and 1967i. However, the respective contents are substantially different. This item deals mainly with Aristotle on negation, a subject omitted from 1967i; in all other respects the box item is considerably less detailed. The connection between the two papers is nevertheless obvious, already for the reasons suggested above; moreover, the item holds a reference to "the article Many-Valued Logics", i.e. 1967f. (Both 'Many-Valued Logics' 1967f and 'Negation' 1967i occurred in the same book, 'The Encyclopedia of Philosophy', ed. by Paul Edwards. Collier-Macmillan, London, 1967, vol. 2).
  • On Some Proofs of the Existence of God. T (9 p.) + HW (5 p.) ORIG 1976b. Original DATE: Ca. 1956?
    • INFO (Per Hasle): In 1976b, Geach and Kenny (implicitly) date this paper as lying between 1955 and 1957 (namely the papers 'Definitions, rules and axioms' 1955m, and 'Opposite number' 1957d). Contentwise, this dating is plausible; for instance he discusses some arguments involving the premise the "If God exists, then I ought to go to church", which example is also used in 1958c (i.e., in the discussions at the East-West philosophy conference in Canberra 1957).

      The handwritten version is double-sided, yielding 10 written pages; the typed version is almost identical with the handwritten manuscript.

  • The Ontological Argument. HWU (37 p.). Ca. 1960-65.
    • INFO (Per Hasle): 
      fill5.gif (67 bytes)Several pages seem to be comments/corrections to other ones; uncharacteristically, Russellian notation is used throughout these notes, which suggest that ANP was writing for some specific journal or comparable context. The thought is mature, probably 60'es material.
  • The Paradox of the Prisoner in Logical Form. TU (8 p.). Ca. 1958.

The paper is marked CUC (Canterbury University College) and it is rather formal: probably 57/58. (See also (undated, unsigned) letter on 'The Prisoner's Paradox' ", Third folder/box 4).-
--- Per Hasle

  • Parts of Speech. TU (31 p) and HWU (33 p.). Ca. 1959?
    • INFO (Per Hasle): Mary Prior ('BR') has added: "I think this is the beginning of a book Arthur planned when he first went to M/C [i.e. Manchester] in 1959--- I do not think any more was written". Attached are some notes on 'Objects of Thought' (cf. 1971a, Second folder/box 8, and Notebook on 'Objects of Thought'/box 11), to which work this item apparently bears some semblance (it deals inter alia with "propositional attitudes").- Moreover, one of Prior's two plans for chapters mentioned in P.T. Geach and A.J.P. Kenny's preface to 'Objects of Thought' 1971a is found together with this item (the latest one, which they followed as editors of 1971a).
  • The Philosophy of Albert Schweitzer. HWU (12 p.). DATE? (Early). Theological.
  • Philosophy in a Young Country. HWU (32 p.). 1965.

Mary Prior ('BR'): "A talk given in NZ 1965 when a British Council Visiting lecturer".(See also Ninth Folder/box 10 and First folder/box 4).
--- Per Hasle

  • Philosophy and the Growth of New Sciences. HWU (32 p.). Ca. 1952? (incomplete)

"Possibly ANP's inaugural lecture on taking up the professorship at Canterbury University College". (Mary Prior ('BR')).
--- Per Hasle

  • Prior & Kenny on BBC. TU (13 p. of small size). Ca. 1960-65.

A discussion concerning 'reference' and (non-)'existence', in all likelihood broadcast in England.
--- Per Hasle

  • Pro diabolo contra J. Bosanquet. HWU (13 p.). Ca. 1952/53.
    • INFO (Per Hasle): The subject is 'implication'; the manuscript especially deals with J. Anderson's article 'Hypotheticals' in Australasian Journal of Philosophy, Vol. 30, No. 1, 1952.
  • (Translation of) William of Ockham. TU (10 p.). DATE? (A translation with comments on text by William of Ockham (c. 1285-1349) – most probably Prior's own translation and comments).
  • Items from a dictionary of formal logic. TU (98 p.). 1949-51.
    • INFO (Per Hasle): 
      fill5.gif (67 bytes)Containing 1 general note and 8 separate entries, eg. 'Analogy, argument from', etc.

      Parts of manuscript for the logic textbook, which ANP submitted to Clarendon Press, but which he never completed. The project was begun as the 'dictionary' in 1949; in July of that year ANP sent a sample to Clarendon Press. They were positive, but suggested that it should be recast in the form of a textbook (suitable for the 6th form). ANP worked on the book until 1951, changing the working title to 'The Craft of Formal Logic'. The manuscript was finished in December 1951 and sent to Clarendon. In the end the manuscript was "replaced" by the very different 'Formal Logic' (1955a); the dictionary was never published, although part of the 'Craft of Formal Logic' appeared in 1976a. From 'The Craft of Formal Logic' this book brings PART I, chapter 1 and 2, and PART IV, chapter 1–3; these five chapters together "make up a self-contained account of the traditional doctrine of propositions and terms" (1976a, Editors' Introduction, p. 9). An appendix in 1976a lists the contents of 'The Craft of Formal Logic'.

      See also The Aims of Logic/box 6. A copy of the manuscript submitted to Clarendon is found in box 22. (See further details in [Kenny 1970, p. 332, 335])

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