[hist-analytic] Steve's and Roger's recent interchange

Bruce Aune aune at philos.umass.edu
Thu Jul 30 06:51:31 EDT 2009

It seems that Steve didn't take the time to read what I said with any  
care.  Let me go through it one more time.

1.  The claim that prompted my remarks was one RBJ made, ""Carnap was  
surely quite clear that the propositions of analytic philosophy are  
analytic."  This was a claim about Carnap, not philosophers generally.  
Right, Steve?

2.  I said, Steve disputed this claim, citing a remark by  
Wittgenstein, but I added that "Roger’s claim is very plausible if it  
rephrased in a way that he would probably accept."

3.  Why did I say it should be rephrased?  Because, as I put it, [the  
phrase] “The propositions of analytic philosophy,” as Roger meant it,  
surely does not apply to every proposition a philosopher qua  
philosopher has asserted."  Why not? Because, as I said, "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."

4.  Why do the philosophical in question have to be true?  Because  
(according to 1 above) Carnap (according to RBJ) said they were  
analytic.  Analytic propositions are neither false nor meaningless.   
Thus, we are talking abut propositions that Carnap would consider  

5.  Given 4, Steve, to dispute RBJ's claim ON A PLAUSIBLE READING  
should cite propositions that are (a) distinctively philosophical and  
(b) true.

6.  Why "distinctly philosophical?  Because (as I said) "In the course  
of expounding their philosophical ideas, philosophers make many  
empirical claims, but these claims are normally incidental to their  
official philosophical pronouncements."  And Carnap's claim [according  
to 1] was not about incidental claims that are not analytic.

7.  Steve said he gave counter-examples of the requisite kind. Did  
he?  He cited examples of things various philosophers have said, but  
he didn't show that they were true.  Why is this important?   Read  
sentence 4 again.

8.  In his last contribution to the discussion, Steve said:  "What I  
mean is that what began as a claim about whether any philosopher can  
assert a proposition of analytic philosophy which is not analytic  
became the question whether *Carnap*  ever asserted a proposition of  
analytical philosophy which was not analytic."  This is an erroneous  
account of the claim I began with.  (See 1 above.)

9.  It is also an erroneous claim about what the suppose initial claim  
became.  Why erroneous?  Because the issue in question never concerned  
the status of the propositions Carnap asserted; they concerned (a) the  
true propositions of (b) a distinctly philosophical kind that (c)  
Carnap would (according to 1) consider philosophical and analytic.

10.  Given 1-9 here, the following claim by Steve seriously  
MISREPRESENTS what I was claiming:  "It is one thing to restrict the  
propositions an analytical philosopher can meaningfully assert [I  
never did this]; it is another to say that if Carnap would not make  
such an assertion then neither can another analytical philosophy. [I  
never said this]  Notice another slight emendation of the original  
issue. There is a move from things like "legitimate objects" to the  
insistence on the satisfaction of a truth condition, as if no sentence  
of analytical philosophy whether Carnap's or some other's can be false  
or, alernatively, untrue." [I never assumed or implied this.]

11.  I think on-line discussions are a good thing, but when we take  
part in them, we should be careful not to misrepresent what other  
disussants are saying.


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