Synonymy Without Analyticity

International Philosophical Preprint Exchange (1994)
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Analyticity is a bogus explanatory concept, and is so even granting genuine synonomy. Definitions can't explain the truth of a statement, let alone its necessity and/or our a priori knowledge of it. The illusion of an explanation is revealed by exposing diverse confusions: e.g., between nominal, conceptual and real definitions, and correspondingly between notational, conceptual, and objectual readings of alleged analytic truths, and between speaking a language and operating a calculus. The putative explananda of analyticity are (alleged) truths about essential properties. Real definitions (a la Socrates) are the (alleged) explananda, not the explanans of analyticity. Their truth can be explained neither by conceptual definitions (a la Kant), nor by nominal definitions (a la Frege). The Quinean assault on synonomy is unsuccessful and in any case misplaced, because analyticity turns on the explanatory import of synonomy, not its existence. Synonym substitution in a logical truth cannot yield a necessary truth for it doesn't preserve logical form. Self-identity statements (for properties and/or individuals) differ in logical form from alter-identity statements.

Author's Profile

Roger Wertheimer
Agnes Scott College


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