Combining Philosophers

Ideas for Avicenna (Abu Ibn Sina), Georges Rey and Carlo Rovelli

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7 ideas

19. Language / E. Analyticity / 1. Analytic Propositions
'Married' does not 'contain' its symmetry, nor 'bigger than' its transitivity [Rey]
     Full Idea: If Bob is married to Sue, then Sue is married to Bob. If x bigger than y, and y bigger than z, x is bigger than z. The symmetry of 'marriage' or transitivity of 'bigger than' are not obviously 'contained in' the corresponding thoughts.
     From: Georges Rey (The Analytic/Synthetic Distinction [2013], 1.2)
     A reaction: [Also 'if something is red, then it is coloured'] This is a Fregean criticism of Kant. It is not so much that Kant was wrong, as that the concept of analyticity is seen to have a much wider application than Kant realised. Especially in mathematics.
Analytic judgements can't be explained by contradiction, since that is what is assumed [Rey]
     Full Idea: Rejecting 'a married bachelor' as contradictory would seem to have no justification other than the claim that 'All bachelors are unmarried is analytic, and so cannot serve to justify or explain that claim.
     From: Georges Rey (The Analytic/Synthetic Distinction [2013], 1.2)
     A reaction: Rey is discussing Frege's objection to Kant (who tried to prove the necessity of analytic judgements, on the basis of the denial being a contradiction).
Analytic statements are undeniable (because of meaning), rather than unrevisable [Rey]
     Full Idea: What's peculiar about the analytic is that denying it seem unintelligible. Far from unrevisability explaining analyticity, it seems to be analyticitiy that explains unrevisability; we only balk at denying unmarried bachelors because that's what it means!
     From: Georges Rey (The Analytic/Synthetic Distinction [2013], 3.7)
     A reaction: This is a criticism of Quine, who attacked analyticity when it is understood as unrevisability. Obviously we could revise the concept of 'bachelor', if our marriage customs changed a lot. Rey seems right here.
The meaning properties of a term are those which explain how the term is typically used [Rey]
     Full Idea: It may be that the meaning properties of a term are the ones that play a basic explanatory role with regard to the use of the term generally, the ones in virtue ultimately of which a term is used with that meaning.
     From: Georges Rey (The Analytic/Synthetic Distinction [2013], 4.3)
     A reaction: [He cites Devitt 1996, 2002, and Horwich 1998, 2005) I spring to philosophical life whenever I see the word 'explanatory', because that is the point of the whole game. They are pointing to the essence of the concept (which is explanatory, say I).
An intrinsic language faculty may fix what is meaningful (as well as grammatical) [Rey]
     Full Idea: The existence of a separate language faculty may be an odd but psychologically real fact about us, and it may thereby supply a real basis for commitments about not only what is or is not grammatical, but about what is a matter of natural language meaning.
     From: Georges Rey (The Analytic/Synthetic Distinction [2013], 4.4)
     A reaction: This is the Chomskyan view of analytic sentences. An example from Chomsky (1977:142) is the semantic relationships of persuade, intend and believe. It's hard to see how the secret faculty on its own could do the job. Consensus is needed.
Research throws doubts on the claimed intuitions which support analyticity [Rey]
     Full Idea: The movement of 'experimental philosophy' has pointed to evidence of considerable malleability of subject's 'intuitions' with regard to the standard kinds of thought experiments on which defenses of analytic claims typically rely.
     From: Georges Rey (The Analytic/Synthetic Distinction [2013], 4.4)
     A reaction: See Cappelen's interesting attack on the idea that philosophy relies on intuitions, and hence his attack on experimental philosophy. Our consensus on ordinary English usage hardly qualifies as somewhat vague 'intuitions'.
19. Language / E. Analyticity / 4. Analytic/Synthetic Critique
If we claim direct insight to what is analytic, how do we know it is not sub-consciously empirical? [Rey]
     Full Idea: How in the end are we going to distinguish claims or the analytic as 'rational insight', 'primitive compulsion', inferential practice or folk belief from merely some deeply held empirical conviction, indeed, from mere dogma.
     From: Georges Rey (The Analytic/Synthetic Distinction [2013], 4.1)
     A reaction: This is Rey's summary of the persisting Quinean challenge to analytic truths, in the face of a set of replies, summarised by the various phrases here. So do we reject a dogma of empiricism, by asserting dogmatic empiricism?