Analyticity and conceptual truth

Philosophical Issues 5:117-131 (1994)
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Abstract

The question whether we can have a priori knowledge, and if so to what extent, has lain at the center of philosophy practically since the beginning. For many philosophers, including Plato, Leibniz, Kant, Frege, Russell, Wittgenstein and most of the Logical Positivists, to name just a few, it seems to have been the problem around which everything else was made to turn. It's an interesting question why philosophers have been so obsessed with this problem and why they have been inclined to assign it so much importance. One reason, no doubt, has to do with its relation to the possibility of philosophy itself. Although it has become fashionable in some circles to pretend otherwise, I don't really see that anyone out there has much idea how analytic philosophy is to be done, if not a priori; in particular, I don't really see that anyone has much idea how it is to be done without a hefty helping of a priori conceptual analysis....

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Paul Boghossian
New York University

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