[hist-analytic] Aune's objections to Jones on the analytic (1)

Roger Bishop Jones rbj at rbjones.com
Fri Apr 10 15:04:20 EDT 2009

 On Sunday 05 April 2009 13:56:13 Bruce Aune wrote:
>Roger attempts to defend Kant’s conception of analyticity by claiming
>that any judgment is equivalent to one of subject-predicate form.
>Thus he says:
>Let  “P x <=def=> x = x
>    Q x <=def=> P x /\ S
>Then it is easy to see that:
>     S <=> All Ps are Qs.”
>An obvious problem with this proposal is that, if it is assumed, no
>judgment with a Rogerian subject satisfies Kant’s criterion for being
>Why is this?  Because the subject term of a Rogerian
>judgment has the form of ‘= x’, whereas the predicate term of such a
>judgment always has extra information, given by ‘S’ (whatever it is)
>and the conjunction of ‘x = x’ and ‘S’ is never “contained” (as Kant
>would say) in the concept of ‘= x’.
>If S is a non-Rogerian subject-
>predicate judgment such as ‘All material objects are spread out in
>space,’ S may be analytic in Kant’s sense, but any other non-Rogerian
>judgment—for instance, ‘P v not-P’—will not satisfy Kant’s test even
>when expanded à la Roger.  Consequently, the standard criticism of
>Kant’s definition of analyticity—that it does not cover plausible
>examples such as ‘P v not-P’—remains unaffected by Roger’s strategy.

This is not a sound criticism.

If Kant's notion of analyticity is closed under logical
equivalence then the above demonstration shows that it
will be applicable to any sentence whether or not of
subject predicate form.
Your argument fails to cast any doubt upon this.

Whether Kant's definition of analyticity is then equivalent
to "true in virtue of meaning" depends upon whether
the containment of which Kant speaks is conceptual
(i.e. semantic) or literal (as in the recently cited section
by Locke on "trivial propositions").
In the latter case Kants notion of analyticity
will be the same as Locke's notion of trivial proposition.

My reading of Kant is that he is talking about conceptual
containment, and all that I have read by others on the
matter (except you) confirms my interpretation.
If in fact he meant literal containment then that is a
much stronger indictment of both Kant's concept
of analyticity and of his claim to originality in it
than I have previously encountered.

Roger Jones

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