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Monday, March 28, 2011

Two Views of the Analytic/Synthetic Distinction?

I just reread this post of mine from June, 2008: The Analytic-Synthetic Distinction and The Knowledge Argument. My approach to the distinction is quite different from the one I presented ten days ago, but perhaps these two views are complementary.

In the first post, I approach the distinction in epistemological terms. Analyticity and syntheticity are two different ways of testing the validity of the same propositions. They are different propositional attitudes--different knowledge relationships towards propositions. In my more recent post, I regard the distinction as a way of indicating different sorts of speech acts: one in which rules are stated and another in which predictions about the world are made.

On the face of it, these are distinct ways of looking at the distinction, though they don't seem so far apart from each other. I'll have to think more about it to see if one entails the other. For now, I have to say that both views make sense to me, and I think there is a connection.