Two dogmatists

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Grice and Strawson's 'In Defense of a Dogma is admired even by revisionist Quineans such as Putnam (1962) who should know better. The analytic/synthetic distinction they defend is distinct from that which Putnam successfully rehabilitates. Theirs is the post-positivist distinction bounding a grossly enlarged analytic. It is not, as they claim, the sanctified product of a long philosophic tradition, but the cast-off of a defunct philosophy - logical positivism. The fact that the distinction can be communally drawn does not show that it is based on a real difference. Subcategories that can be grouped together by enumeration will do the trick. Quine's polemical tactic (against which Grice and Strawson protest) of questioning the intelligibility of the distinction is indeed objectionable, but his argument can be revived once it is realized that 'analytic' et al. are theoretic terms, and there is no extant theory to make sense of them. Grice and Strawson's paradigm of logical impossibility is, in fact, possible. Their attempt to define synonymy in Quinean terms is a failure, nor can they retain analyticity along with the Quinean thesis of universal revisability. The dogma, in short, is indefensible.
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Truth and Other Enigmas.Dummett, Michael A. E.

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