The Analytic - Synthetic Dichotomy
Why it Matters

the big picture

Here's the short story. Brace yourself, its a bit tall.

The distinction between analytic and synthetic propositions is important because:

• the methods of logic and mathematics depend upon the distinction
• mathematics and logic are important means to realising very many of the ends we desire
• without the will and the means to prevent it, people starve
Now it has to be admitted that the will to prevent starvation (and all those other bad things) is the more important factor in the equation. We have the means, at least, together. Nevertheless, economics is important, science and technology have a major impact on economic well being, are based on mathematics which is in turn grounded in logical methods whose justification depends upon the epistemological distinction between the analytic and the synthetic. Furthermore, the future holds more of this, logic is underutilised, and will become more important as we figure out how to make the most of it.

### The Analytic - Synthetic Dichotomy

The key feature of the Analytic/Synthetic dichotomy is that it reflects and justifies established differences in methods between mathematics and empirical sciences. For the future it provides a key fragment of the understanding necessary to get the most out of global IT networks. It enables us to identify substantial domains in which mechanised reasoning can be aggresively exploited, without fear of its misapplication in domains in where it can not or should not be relied upon.

### The Relationship between Logic and Analyticity

The relation between the analytic and logic is that they are pretty close to identical. Exactly how close depends on how you want to define these two terms. What I am suggesting is that identification of these two is likely to help us to make the most of them.

 OK, this is what I'm making a big deal of. There are lots of stories I'm putting together here to show just how important logic might be. Find them fastest from the logic page. The story is that logic is just handy, maybe more handy than is mostly recognised. Its an ubiquitous tool. and that means its a means, something that helps us to get where we want to be. And "ends" are where we want to get to. Which are determined by consideration of what we do and do not value. It is suggested therefore, that logic, as a technology neutral in itself, is a means to whatever ultimate ends may be determined by our value systems. In particular our value systems are related to what we hold to be good. The Good is to be sought. Which is contrasted with the Bad. The bad is to be fought.