[hist-analytic] Frrom AUNE: Analytic and A Priori

Danny Frederick danny.frederick at tiscali.co.uk
Wed Mar 18 15:21:55 EDT 2009


Hi Bruce,

 

Just a few points.

 

You picked a bad example to illustrate a proposition which is necessary if
true, viz., 'The inventor of bifocals = Benjamin Franklin.' That is actually
a contingent truth (if it is true) because 'the inventor of bifocals' is not
a rigid designator. 'Cicero = Tully' would have been better.

 

Some people have seen Kripke's arguments as supporting a 'Millian' view of
the meaning of names, that is, that the meaning of a name is the object it
refers to, or, at least, that if two names refer to the same object, they
have the same meaning. If so, then a true a posteriori identity statement
would be true in virtue of the meanings of its terms. It would thus be both
a posteriori and true-in-virtue-of-meaning. This would divorce analyticity
from a priority; in fact it would divorce it from analysis, if we maintained
the connection between analyticity and truth in virtue of meaning. Perhaps a
better way of proceeding would be to distinguish analyticity from truth in
virtue of meaning.

 

Why isn't 'I think' a synthetic a priori truth? And thus also 'I am.' Both
are contingent and thus not true in virtue of meaning; and I don't think
anyone has held them to be analytic. But both can be known a priori if
anything can. Are any of the axioms of logic more self-evident to anyone
than the proposition expressed by 'I think'? I would be surprised if anyone
thought so.

 

Cheers.

 

Danny

 

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