Analyticity, necessity, and the epistemology of semantics

Contemporary philosophy standardly accepts Frege's conceptions of sense as the determiner of reference and of analyticity as (necessary) truth in virtue of meaning. This paper argues that those conceptions are mistaken. It develops referentially autonomous notions of sense and analyticity and applies them to the semantics of natural kind terms. The arguments of Donnellan, Putnam, and Kripke concerning natural kind terms are widely taken to refute internalist and rationalist theories of meaning. This paper shows that the counter-intuitive consequences about the reference of natural kind terms depend as much on Frege's conceptions of sense and analyticity as on what such theories of meaning say about the senses of natural kind terms. Rather than refuting the internalist and rationalist theories of meaning, the arguments of Donnellan, Putnam, and Kripke are best recast as refutations of their own Fregean assumptions. The paper also shows how autonomous notions of sense and analyticity enable us to reconstruct such theories, formulate an internalist/ rationalist account of semantic knowledge, and preserve Donnellan's, Putnam's, and Kripke's insights about reference.
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DOI 10.2307/2953775
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David Pitt (1999). In Defense of Definitions. Philosophical Psychology 12 (2):139-156.
David Pitt (2003). On Markerese. Philosophical Forum 34 (3-4):267–300.

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