[hist-analytic] Aune, Kripke, and my delay

Baynesr at comcast.net Baynesr at comcast.net
Tue Nov 24 11:59:36 EST 2009

A word of explanation for my delay in posting on Bruce's views 

on the "two color problem." One is technical related to the issue; 

the second concerns recent thoughts I've had on contingent 

a priori in Kripke. 

First, both Bruce and Putnam do not consider certain modal 

arguments that are pertinent to this issue. Theirs is a one 

world treatment and, I think, this is a problem since what we 

are discussing here is the necessity or analyticity of the 

impossibility of a thing being two colors all over. 

I have several pages on the problem, most of which are not 

related to this issue; but the issue of analyticity figures in 

Kripke's treatment of the contingent a priori. A brief word 

is in order. 

Kripke use of the meter stick case is CENTRAL to his treatment 

of rigid designation as well as the contingent a priori. He does 

not discuss two things, although he mentions them in passing. 

First, he notes that one of his motives is to distinguish meaning 

and fixing reference; second he is reluctant to discuss analyticity 

as if the issue is unrelated to what we might want to call 

"metaphysical necessity." 

However, I think the entire issue of the contingent a priori is 

in a sense a radical sublimation of the issue of the nature of 

the relation of analyticity to the a priori. The positivists tended 

to identify the class of a priori propositions and the class of 

analytic propositions. Thus when issues like the two color 

problem surface there is no consideration of the the possibility 

of a synthetic a priori. The reluctance is so powerful that the 

preference is to distinguish completely the matter of contingency 

and synthetic-ness. This is a complex matter I need to think out 

a bit. I have arrived, tentatively, at one conclusion. 

Whereas most critics of the contingent a priori (Donnellan, 

Plantiga, G. Evans) have located the problem elsewhere I 

think the problem with Kripke's approach if, indeed, there is 

one has to do with his avoidance of the issue of analyticity and 

in concert with his discussion of the meter stick are reluctance 

to discuss the scientific aspect of fixing measures. He thinks, or 

seems to think, that the issue is merely the place of operationalism 

and that his semantics can be worked around this, but I think not. 

I think this and the issue of analyticity persist. At bottom, a 

criticism of his position, if I am right, revolves around the issue 

of de re vs. de dicto modality. 

I should have something on the Aune position (and Putnam) in a 

few days. I could post incrementally but that would invite 

replies I could not respond to, under the circumstances, in a 

 timely fashion. So I'll complete the thing before posting so we 

can move on the Aune very rich discussion of analyticity and 

sorts etc. 


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