The Wolffian Paradigm and its Discontent: Kant’s Containment Definition of Analyticity in Historical Context

Archiv für Geschichte der Philosophie 87 (1):22-74 (2005)
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Abstract

I defend Kant’s definition of analyticity in terms of concept “containment”, which has engendered widespread scepticism. Kant deployed a clear, technical notion of containment based on ideas standard within traditional logic, notably genus/species hierarchies formed via logical division. Kant’s analytic/synthetic distinction thereby undermines the logico-metaphysical system of Christian Wolff, showing that the Wolffian paradigm lacks the expressive power even to represent essential knowledge, including elementary mathematics, and so cannot provide an adequate system of philosophy. The results clarify the extent to which analyticity sensu Kant can illuminate the problem of a priori knowledge generally.

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Ryan Anderson
University of St. Thomas, Minnesota

Citations of this work

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