Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Flirting Again

My paper on the philosophy of flirting will be coming out in The Philosophers' Magazine, so this is to say thanks to all the people who sent me comments after I posted a draft here. Unfortunately TPM won't let me include any acknowledgements in the actual article, but be assured that I am grateful for all the comments it received! Here is the probably-final version.


john dilworth said...

Hi Carrie,

Re your definition:

"In short, I think we can fix on the following as a set of necessary and sufficient
conditions on flirting. First, the flirter should act with the intention to raise flirter/flirtee romance and/or sex to salience, in a knowing yet playful way. Second, he or she shouldbelieve that the flirtee can respond in some significant way."

I think you're missing a success condition. As with any intentional act, one
can intend to do something but fail because of ineptitude etc. Without
flirtatious content one will not succeed in flirting, no matter how knowing
and playful one is in one's attempts--unless you cheat by building too
much into 'knowing and playful'.

Carrie Jenkins said...

Hi John,

Yes, a few people have made this comment to me in response to my paper. My take is that ineptitude leads to poor quality flirting, and flirting that fails to achieve its goals, rather than failure to flirt. But you're not alone in your view. (I might be alone in mine ...!)

Mark Jago said...

The test would be whether one is morally excused (say, by the young lady's/man's other half) from trying it on through ineptitude. Here's a case study:

[The scene: a young lady has just been told my fascinating anecdote concerning Wittgenstein's return to Cambridge in 1929. She's currently studying the path of a fly accross the ceiling. Enter burly young man.]

"Oi mate, are you trying it on with my misses?"
"Clearly not, my good man; I'm merely boring her."

Hmmm... this doesn't sound like an excuse to me! The intention to flirt goes a long way to making the act a flirt, but whether it's successful is another story entirely!

Carrie Jenkins said...

Hi Mark,

Though of course it could be said that the reason it doesn't sound like a good excuse is that the intention is bad enough by itself!

Mike said...

Carrie, one of your necessary conditions is this,
"... the flirter should act with the intention to raise flirter/flirtee romance and/or sex to salience, in a knowing yet playful way."
But suppose the would-be flirter F intends to realize some atypical goal by flirting with F'. Suppose for instance that Smith has a weapon trained on F and F' and F knows that Smith never shoots people that are flirting. Mightn't F begin to flirt with F' without intending anything like raising romance to salience? He might know that flirting typically has that result, but (it seems) he need not intend that result. Still, he intends to flirt, since that is the way to keep them both alive.

Anibal said...

After defining the sufficient and necessary conditions of the act of flirting is even possible to characterise the performative use of language during flirting (it is never a statement or declarative until it not leads to succesful fruition when in fact leaves to be flirting; it is never imperative or a request because if not leads to sexual assault connotations; it is never a promise because flirting is an on-line process without time delay, it is never a question, a thanksgiving...)perhaps it is methaphorical and figurative or action based and constructive its linguistic performance where the intentions of the flirter and the flirtee are shape simultaneously.
Luck with this field.