[hist-analytic] Steve's and Roger's recent interchange
baynesrb at yahoo.com
Wed Jul 29 16:44:23 EDT 2009
An afterthought: Quine approaches Carnap. Quine says: "I've just shown there are no analytical sentences." "There are no analytical sentences?" adding "But that is not the statement of analytic philosophy?" Or, "It is analytic that there are no analytic sentences, therefore there are analytic sentences." His reasoning may have been: "Quine arrived at this by analysis, so it must be analytic; or, it must be the statement of an analytical philosopher and must be analytic."
But isn't the problem similar to the paradoxes? Aren't we dealing with classes that need to be parred down or restricted?
--- On Wed, 7/29/09, Bruce Aune <aune at philos.umass.edu> wrote:
From: Bruce Aune <aune at philos.umass.edu>
Subject: Steve's and Roger's recent interchange
To: hist-analytic at simplelists.com
Date: Wednesday, July 29, 2009, 10:27 AM
The recent interchange on simplelists between Steve and Roger Bishop Jones interested me in a number of ways, one being RBJ’s supportive remarks about Carnap. In this note I want to say something about Roger’s claim, “Carnap was surely quite clear that the propositions of analytic philosophy are analytic.” Steve disputed this claim, citing a remark by Wittgenstein,” but Roger’s claim is very plausible if it rephrased in a way that he would probably accept.
“The propositions of analytic philosophy,” as Roger meant it, surely does not apply to every proposition a philosopher qua philosopher has asserted. Heidegger’s “Nothing noths” (or whatever it was) is a case in point. Carnap clearly held that many such claims (or “propositions”) are meaningless. The propositions Roger no doubt had in mind were true propositions of a distinctly philosophical kind. In the course of expounding their philosophical ideas, philosophers make many empirical claims, but these claims are normally incidental to their official philosophical pronouncements. There are debatable exceptions, of course: G.E. Moore’s “I know I have hands is perhaps one of them.” But a more distinctly philosophical claim that Moore used this latter claim to support concerned the relatively acceptability of commonsensical claims about hands and philosophical theories (such as Hume’s) that have been taken to put those claims in
doubt. A proposition about this relative acceptability could be shown to be true, Carnap would have said, only by some purely analytic procedure, and the proposition itself would then have to be analytic.
This brings me to a topic discussed in this forum some time ago: Hume’s fork. The legitimate objects of the human understanding are exhausted by relations of ideas and matters of fact and existence. Carnap reconstructed this dichotomy into truths and falsities knowable by analysis (they are either analytically true or analytically false) and truths and falsities known empirically--by observation, memory, and (broadly speaking) inductive inference. For him, there is no other way of knowing anything. Generally speaking, philosophical pronouncements, when true, are not known to be so empirically: they are not verifiable in a matter of fact way. If they are knowable at all, it must be by analysis. So if they are true, or false, their truth, or falsity, must be analytic. For what it is worth, I think Carnap was right about this. Anyone who disagrees (Steve perhaps?) should outline the alternative method by which such things can be known. I
would be eager to hear what this alleged method is.
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