The Fundamental Triple-Dichotomy
Overview
The distinction between matters of logic and matters of fact provides a starting point for analytic philosophy and sound reason.
The evolution of the analytic/synthetic distinction, over a period of more than 2000 years, provides an example of how progress in philosophy takes place and of how that progress might be thought to contribute to progress for humanity.

This is one perspective on the story.
An account of Hume's fork and its significance for his philosophy.
A concise description of the necessary-analytic-a priori/contingent-synthetic-a posteriori distinction.
Introduction
The evolution of the analytic/synthetic distinction, over a period of more than 2000 years, provides an example of how progress in philosophy takes place and of how that progress might be thought to contribute to progress for humanity.

This is one perspective on the story.
Themes
Progress in Philosophy

Is there progress in philosophy?

The story leading to Hume's fork can be presented as a tale of real advancement in philosophy. All the insights in that have now come to be questioned, and with those questions the reality of that advancement must be questioned.

Is there progress?

Dogmatism and Scepticism

Western Philosophy begins in dogmatic speculation, reaches its apogee in the dogmatic systems of Plato and Aristotle, falls into scepticism and then declines with the collapse of the Greek empire.

The creative intellectual freedom of ancient Greece is then replaced by an extended period in which religious authority limits the advancement of philosophy.

Positivism
Essentualism and Nominalism
Rationalism and Empiricism
Hume's Fork
An account of Hume's fork and its significance for his philosophy.
The Fork
ALL the objects of human reason or enquiry may naturally be divided into two kinds, to wit, Relations of Ideas, and Matters of Fact.
Three Dichotomies in Hume's Fork
Though not explicit, Hume's fork identifies the dichotomies we now talk about as analytic/synthetic, necessary/contingent, a priori/a posteriori.
Its Place in Hume's Philosophy
The importance of Hume's fork lies not only in its clear presentation, but in its central place in Hume's philosophy. It is the seed of Hume's scepticism, which provides a more precise delimitation of the scope of deductive reason than had hitherto appeared.
A bigger picture with Hume's fork at its epicentre.
Before Hume
Introduction
Early Greek Philosophy
An early approximation to Hume's fork may be found in Plato, and Aristotle's metaphysics may be seen as responding to some of the weaknesses in Plato's system which are relevant to Hume's fork.
Scepticism and Dogmatism
Rationalism and Empiricism
After Hume
Introduction
Kant
Kant dismantled the unity of the triple-dichotomy to make room once again for metaphysics.
Frege and Russell
Wittgenstein
Carnap and Logical Positivism
Quine on Analyticity
Kripke's Essentialism
Restatement
A concise description of the necessary-analytic-a priori/contingent-synthetic-a posteriori distinction.
Preliminaries
Context setting descriptions of the kind of language and semantics to which these concepts are applicable.
Necessary
A proposition is necessary if it is true in every possible world.
A definition of analyticity is offered and its merits discussed.
A Priori
We should expect an a priori justification for a necessary proposition and an a posteriori justification for a contingent proposition.
Afterthoughts
Progression
Applications
Conclusions

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Created:2009-02-01

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