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

Baynesr at comcast.net Baynesr at comcast.net
Thu Jul 30 12:28:02 EDT 2009

I think some of the difficulty is that Carnap isn't being cited. As you know there is a lot of disagreement over what Hume meant, and Hume is about the clearest philosopher to write in English, otherwise Hobbes, maybe. Anyway, I have a reply to your probing commentary, but it occurs to me that a lot of potential misunderstanding could be avoided if you did one thing in particular: Cite a passage from Carnap, a sentence, one that you take to be a "distinctly philosophical" sentence of this, particular, analytical philosopher. If you do that I think some misunderstandings can be avoided. 

Best wishes 


----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Bruce Aune" <aune at philos.umass.edu> 
To: "steve bayne" <baynesrb at yahoo.com> 
Cc: hist-analytic at simplelists.com 
Sent: Thursday, July 30, 2009 3:51:31 AM GMT -08:00 US/Canada Pacific 
Subject: Re: Steve's and Roger's recent interchange 

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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