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Vrijen, C.

Auteur: Charlotte Vrijen
Afstudeerjaar: 2001
Vakgroep: Geschiedenis van de Filosofie

Not quite the same. An attempt tot unravel the analytic, the necessary and the a priori.


In my thesis I try to unravel three famous distinctions in philosophy: the analytic/synthetic, the necessary/contingent and the a priori/a posteriori distinctions. The first is a semantical distinction and is about meaning. The second is a metaphysical distinction and is about what is, or could have been, the case. The third is an epistemological distinction and is about knowledge. Before Saul Kripke published his 'Naming and Necessity' in 1972, most philosophers thought that these three distinctions were closely connected to one another, and some even considered them to come down to one and the same thing. Kripke tried to disentangle necessity and aprioricity. However, he still defined analyticity in terms of both necessity and aprioricity, so the three distinctions were still not entirely uncoupled.

In the first chapter I discuss three classical views, those of Kant, Quine and Kripke. Each of these three philosophers has greatly influenced the shaping of the three distinctions in analytical philosophy. In the second chapter I discuss the views of more contemporary philosophers: Boghossian, Giaquinto, Putnam and Casullo. Whereas Boghossian and Giaquinto concentrate only on the a priori/a posteriori distinction, Putnam and Casullo also thoroughly discuss the other two distinctions. Casullo is the only one who totally tries to disentangle all three distinctions.

The third chapter mainly gives my own opinion of the matter. I discovered that there are no trivial or immediate connections between what I call the weak notions of analyticity, necessity and aprioricity, and therefore no such connections between the weak analytic/synthetic distinction, the weak a priori/a posteriori distinction and the weak necessary/contingent distinction. As far as the strong definitions of analyticity, necessity and aprioricity are concerned, these do imply that close connections between the notions exist. There are indeed authors who implicitly or explicitly adopt these stronger notions but, as I argue in Chapter 3, this is not very fruitful.


Laatst gewijzigd:01 november 2013 15:09