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analytic

analytic is an adjective normally applied to things which can be true or false (which I will here refer to as statements). Philosophers have given several different definitions of the term analytic, generally in terms which are themselves open to various interpretations. Under these definitions the concept of analyticity may be either an epistemic concept, concerned with how a sentence can be shown to be true, or a semantic concept, affirming something about the meaning of the statement, e.g. that it is devoid of factual content or that it expresses only a relationship between ideas or concepts.

The term analytic is normally contrasted with the term synthetic, these two terms being, by definition, complementary, and exhaustive of meaningful indicative statements. Thus a statement is synthetic iff it is not analytic.

The following are some of the available definitions.

An analytic statement is:

Bertrand Russell claimed that Kant's first definition is too narrow and results from Kant's limited understanding of logic (much further development has taken place in logic since Kant's time). According to Russell, not all purely logical truths are of subject-predicate form, and those which are not should also be considered analytic.

However, it is arguable that all logically necessary truths are equivalent to propositions of subject predicate form, and that this is sufficient to make the first definition equivalent to the second.

In any case, it can be seen that the concept is closely related to that of logical necessity, so that it is tempting to identify these two concepts.

Some History


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