Analyticity, Meaning and Paradox

Dissertation, Princeton University (2004)

Abstract

Some philosophers have claimed that sentences like all bachelors are unmarried are analytic, where this is to say that they are true in virtue of meaning, and that anyone who understands one can know that it is true. Some have claimed in addition that the notion of analyticity can be used to solve problems in epistemology. However, in the last century the work of Quine and Putnam led many to doubt such claims, and to suspect that there is no analyticity, only an illusion of analyticity to be explained. ;I think that there is something to Quine and Putnams objections. Moreover, I think that they are of help in formulating a better account of analyticity. The core of this dissertation is an account of the analytic/synthetic distinction which uses recent developments in the philosophy of language-including Russellian semantics, distinctions between different kinds of meaning, two-dimensional modal logic and the distinction between analyticity, necessity and a priority---to defend a theory which covers both the traditional necessary analytic truths such as all vixens are female and Kaplans examples of the contingent analytic such as I am here now, dthat □ = and Snow is white iff actually, now, snow is white. ;This account is used to provide solutions to problems in philosophical logic concerning the correct accounts of vagueness, inconsistency and modality. I also show how it can be used to provide a solution to the Liar paradox

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