[hist-analytic] Tarski, Carnap and Grice on "snow is white"
Roger Bishop Jones
rbj at rbjones.com
Sun Mar 7 17:36:39 EST 2010
On Friday 05 Mar 2010 17:59, Jlsperanza at aol.com wrote:
> In a message dated 3/5/2010 9:29:36 A.M. Eastern Standard
> Time, rbj at rbjones.com writes:
> and my example was offered as an analytic
> proposition in the metalanguage,
> Oops, thanks for that.
> So if I'm following. Since English can be the
> Meta-language, we don't really need a formal proof, as
> it were that something is analytic _in_ the
> meta-language. But I guess the idea is to proceed,
> _informally_, as we have proceeded, _formally_, in the
> construction of the object-language. I suppose the mere
> _examination_ of a claim (in the meta-language) would be
> enough for the analyst to judge whether it is analytic
> or not. My procedure would be to refer to something
> like the corresponding object-language tautology, i.e.
> the meta-language analytic sentence _sans_ quotation
> marks, as it were. But there may be more complications.
> Where would philosophy be without them?!
If you are trying to decide the status of a claim in the
metalanguage about the status of a claim in the object
language (as to whether it is analytic) then the key
consideration is whether your knowledge of the meaning of
the claim in the object language comes from your knowledge
of the meaning of the metalanguage or not.
When your metalanguage is informal that may be hard to
determine, even if the object language is formal.
For example, if I said
"0=0" is analytic in the language PA
you have a problem in settling what the scope of the
definition of PA is.
If the meaning of PA (not the meaning of "PA") is part of
its definition (i.e. of the definition of "PA") then that
statement is analytic. But is it? If you look for
definitions of PA, you will get some precise definitions of
the formal system, and its not hard to figure out from the
associated narrative what is the intended semantics,
But as to whether the semantics part of the definition, I
don't know how you could decide that, I don't think the
literature would be sufficiently explicit. Some of the time
it would be clear that PA is just a formal system and
encompasses only the syntax. (in which case the claim would
be synthetic, possibly, or possibly would fall down a
If you set out to use your informal language more precisely,
and in it you actually do offer a definition of PA and include
in it the definition the semantics, then you would be able to
assert that the above claim is analytic.
But I have never seen that done.
The whole area, using natural languages as metalanguages for
formal systems, is a case of pushing natural languages into
new territories, and when you do this you are likely to find
that unless you make the meanings definite by careful
stipulation, they will not be sufficiently definite for
judgements to be possible about this kind of issue.
More information about the hist-analytic