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An A Posteriori Conception of Analyticity?

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At the time that Quine wrote "Two Dogmas" an attack on analyticity was considered a simultaneous attack on the very idea of necessary truth. This all changed with Kripke's revival of a non-epistemic, non-linguistic notion of necessity. My paper discusses the question whether we can take Kripke one step further and free analyticity from its epistemic ties, thereby reinstating a notion of analyticity that is immune to Quine's attack, and compatible with his epistemic holism. I discuss this question by examining Tyler Burge's claim that truths of meaning depend on features of the external environment and are a posteriori. I argue that although Burge's construal of analyticity circumvents Quine's objections, it is not well-motivated philosophically and has problematic implications. Kripke's strategy with respect to necessity, I conclude, is not easily transferable to analyticity.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: July 1, 2003

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