Meaning without Analyticity (Reprinted in Callaway, 2008 Meaning without Analyticity)

Logique Et Analyse 109 (March):41-60 (1985)

Abstract

In a series of interesting and influential papers on semantics, Hilary Putnam has developed what he calls a “post-verificationist” theory of meaning. As part of this work, and not I think the most important part, Putnam defends a limited version of the analytic-synthetic distinction. In this paper I will survey and evaluate Putnam’s defense of analyticity and explore its relationship to broader concerns in semantics. Putnam’s defense of analyticity ultimately fails, and I want to show here exactly why it fails. However, I will also argue that this very failure helps open the prospect of a new optimism concerning the theory of meaning, a theory of meaning finally liberated from the dead weight of the notions of analyticity and necessary truth. Putnam’s work, in fact, makes valuable contributions to such a theory.

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References found in this work

Ontological Relativity.W. V. Quine - 1968 - Journal of Philosophy 65 (7):185-212.
Realism and Reason.Hilary Putnam - 1983 - Cambridge University Press.
Two Dogmas of Empiricism.W. V. O. Quine - 1951 - In Robert B. Talisse & Scott F. Aikin (eds.), The Pragmatism Reader: From Peirce Through the Present. Princeton University Press. pp. 202-220.
The Analytic and the Synthetic.Hilary Putnam - 1962 - Critica 1 (2):109-113.
Explanation and Reference.Hilary Putnam - 1973 - In Glenn Pearce & Patrick Maynard (eds.), Conceptual Change. D. Reidel. pp. 196--214.

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