The Semantic Foundations of Philosophical Analysis

Samuel Elgin
Yale University
I provide an analysis of sentences of the form ‘To be F is to be G’ in terms of exact truth-maker semantics—an approach that identifies the meanings of sentences with the states of the world directly responsible for their truth-values. Roughly, I argue that these sentences hold just in case that which makes something F is that which makes it G. This approach is hyperintensional, and possesses desirable logical and modal features. These sentences are reflexive, transitive and symmetric, and, if they are true, then they are necessarily true, and it is necessary that all and only Fs are Gs. I integrate this account with the λ-calculus and argue that analysis is preserved through β-conversion. I briefly discuss how this account might be extended to analyses of singular terms, and close by defining an asymmetric and irreflexive notion of analysis in terms of the reflexive and symmetric one.
Keywords Generalized Identities  Analysis  Real Definition  To be F is to be G  Truth-Maker Semantics
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