Externalism and analyticity

Philosophical Studies 79 (3):213 - 236 (1995)
Semantic externalism is the view that meaning is at least partly determined by reference. This suggests that the classic philosophical distinction between truth in virtue of meaning alone and truth in virtue of the world may need reconsideration. If all sentences are true in virtue of reference it is difficult to see how we can distinguish some sentences from others as true in virtue of the world-independent, purely semantic entities that their truth-conditions involve. I argue, to the contrary, that semantic externalism instead exposes significant problems with the orthodox view about meaning that underlies the orthodox view about analytic truth, and I offer an account of analyticity from the perspective of semantic externalism. On this view, the truth-value of analytic sentences will not be distinguished from those of synthetic sentences. The truth-conditions of an analytic sentence are, however, to be distinguished from what makes it "analytic". This account is one that revokes the customary world-independence of analytic sentences, but does not sacrifice their unique modal and epistemic features
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