survey says: there are analytic truths

I imagine many readers are already aware, but the results of the Philosophical Survey are now available here.

The biggest surprise for me was on the question 'Analytic-synthetic distinction: yes or no?': 65% said yes or lean toward yes, and only 27% said no or lean towards no.

This is not an unqualified sociological victory for Carnapophiles, because Chalmers notes in the discussion that many of the 'yes' respondents included a comment along the lines of '... but the distinction does no substantive philosophical work' -- which is precisely Quine's later position (seen perhaps most clearly in his Schilpp Library of Living Philosophers volume).


At 2/1/10, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi, This is Manfred Byron,
Well, I think that everything is true or false by virtue of its definition---by definition.
---If something is true under one definition it is easy to
render it false with a simple change in definition.
Thus, everything true is in some sense true a priori----
example: I include in my definition of baseball that it must be played with a ball that looks like a baseball and not some other kind of ball. If someone says "here is a baseball" and am shown a ball that looks like a
baseball but is stuffed with down,
not wound rubber---I will reject it as a baseball; I will change my definition to include that a baseball must be internally rubber
and not down.
Thus, false by definition.
" This is not a genuine rum punch!" I say, "it lacks the cherry bitters!" "Nonsense says the other, it is genuine because rum punch needs no cherry bitters--
but must have Jamaican Dark Rum--as this does!" The definition of
the punch renders the statement "this is rum punch" true or false. I could say " I used to define rum punch as requiring cherry bitters, but now I hold it only requires Jamaican Dark Rum, my definiton has changed."
In any argument it's all about definiton, down to the fine details. I can't understand what else it could be about. Definitions are like premises--from which follow the conclusion in accord with the premises.
A bachelor is an unmarried man
but if I want I can insist that
a man who has a marriage license
is unmarried if he's been living
apart from his spouse with no intention of returnings That is my definition then and if you meet it you are a bachelor. A priori--done.
I know this is philosophical blasphemy--but I don't care, so there!


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