Metaphysics and Value

  • Siobhan Chapman


Grice retired from his post at Berkeley in 1980, at the age of 67. There was no question, however, that he would cease full-time philosophical activity. He continued to teach, both part-time at Berkeley and, for a few years in the early 1980s, as a visiting professor at the University of Washington in Seattle. He also continued to work on new ideas, to write and, increasingly, to publish. His reluctance ever to consider a piece of work finished or ready for scrutiny had meant that only 12 articles had been published during a career of over 40 years. And in almost all cases he had been either effectively obliged to include a paper in the volume of proceedings to which it belonged, or otherwise cajoled into publishing. It had, however, long been agreed that the William James lectures would be published in full by Harvard University Press and now finally Grice began to take an active interest in this process. He perhaps realised that it was not feasible to continue delaying the revisions and reformulations that he considered necessary. Perhaps, also, the enthusiasm with which his ideas were received in Berkeley, and the frank admiration of students and colleagues, had slowly worn away at his formidable self-doubt. Writing in Oxford, Strawson has suggested that Grice’s inhibiting perfectionism was ‘finally swept away by a warm tide of approbation such as is rarely experienced on these colder shores’.1 Certainly, he began to draw up numerous lists of papers on related themes that he would like to see published with the lectures. These included previously published articles such as ‘The causal theory of perception’, but also a number that still remained in manuscript form, such as ‘Common sense and scepticism’, and ‘Postwar Oxford philosophy’.


Common Sense Causal Theory Ordinary Language Rational Creature Philosophical Interest 
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© Siobhan Chapman 2005

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  • Siobhan Chapman

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