[hist-analytic] The "Analytic A Posteriori"

Danny Frederick danny.frederick at tiscali.co.uk
Wed Sep 2 16:12:32 EDT 2009

Hi Bruce,

Just a few comments.

<<I count six messages from Danny, at least four of which were concerned
with one issue that should not have provoked a response at all>>

I find a little disturbing the idea that in philosophy, or in the pursuit of
knowledge in general, there are issues that are so unchallengeable that they
should not provoke a response at all.

<<I mean the issue about my claim that two things have the same specific
(non generic color) just when their specific colors [their actual colors]
are indiscernible.  Danny couldn't seem to grasp what I was saying, because
he continued to offer irrelevant "counterexamples" in which objects of the
same specific colors are made to look different because of being seen in
different circumstances>>

As I have said before, it seems to me that you have missed the point of the
counterexamples. In the 'spreading effect,' for which see here


the same shade viewed by the same observer under the same conditions will be
distinguished by the observer as two different shades. Does this represent
non-optimal conditions merely because the one colour has two appearances?
But which appearance is the non-optimal one? Are they both? And how do we
know that there are not other effects that bring it about that when we
distinguish two colours there is really only one? We don't. So how can you
maintain that colour distinguishability implies colour difference?

I also gave two counterexamples to the other half of your biconditional,
that indiscernibility under optimal conditions implies no difference. The
first example was a standard one in the literature: under optimal
conditions, I cannot distinguish A from B, and I cannot distinguish B from
C, but I can distinguish A from C. The other example was this: whatever
conditions we specify as optimal, it is possible we can find other (even
better) conditions under which we can distinguish between shades which were
indiscernible under the (old) optimal conditions. What we can discern
depends upon our limited powers, so an enhancement of these powers would
produce such a change of conditions.

If anyone can show me that these counterexamples are invalid, I will be

<<I won't be replying to Danny Frederick's latest comments on my chapter in
the near future>>

Should anyone else want to defend your position, or attack mine, or just
make a comment, I will be pleased to hear from them. I think the issues
about logic and analyticity are important, not just in themselves, but
particularly because wrong answers about them have been assumed and have
become entrenched as dogmas in most analytical philosophy.



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