From within and from without. Two perspectives on analytic sentences

In Wolfram Hinzen & Hans Rott (eds.), Belief and meaning: Essays at the interface. Deutsche Bibliothek der Wissenschaften (2002)
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Abstract

The analytic/synthetic distinction can be conceived from two points of view: from within or from without; from the perspective of one's own language or from the perspective of the language of others. From without, the central question is which sentences of a foreign language are to be classified as analytic. From within, by contrast, the question concerning the synthetic and the analytic acquires a normative dimension: which sentences am I not permitted to reject—if I want to avoid talking nonsense? Both perspectives on analytic sentences do not mutually exclude but supplement and illuminate each other. In "Two Dogmas", Quine's criticism of the analytic/synthetic distinction comes from within, whereas in Word and Object, Quine repeats his earlier criticism from without. His criticism is directed against Carnap's views on our understanding of theoretical terms. I challenge Quine's criticism in both of its versions and provide two definitions for analyticity that are immune to Quine's arguments. Using the first of these definitions (the one from without) I try to show how it is possible to distinguish (genuine) belief revision from linguistic change—even in case of a scientific revolution.

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2012-10-23

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Olaf L. Müller
Humboldt-University, Berlin

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