Formal analyticity

Philosophical Studies 175 (11):2791-2811 (2018)
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In this paper, I introduce and defend a notion of analyticity for formal languages. I first uncover a crucial flaw in Timothy Williamson’s famous argument template against analyticity, when it is applied to sentences of formal mathematical languages. Williamson’s argument targets the popular idea that a necessary condition for analyticity is that whoever understands an analytic sentence assents to it. Williamson argues that for any given candidate analytic sentence, there can be people who understand that sentence and yet who fail to assent to it. I argue that, on the most natural understanding of the notion of assent when it is applied to sentences of formal mathematical languages, Williamson’s argument fails. Formal analyticity is the notion of analyticity that is based on this natural understanding of assent. I go on to develop the notion of formal analyticity and defend the claim that there are formally analytic sentences and rules of inference. I conclude by showing the potential payoffs of recognizing formal analyticity.



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Zeynep Soysal
University of Rochester

Citations of this work

Varieties of conceptual analysis.Max Kölbel - 2021 - Analytic Philosophy 64 (1):20-38.
Logical Form and the Limits of Thought.Manish Oza - 2020 - Dissertation, University of Toronto

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The meaning of 'meaning'.Hillary Putnam - 1975 - Minnesota Studies in the Philosophy of Science 7:131-193.
Logical Foundations of Probability.Rudolf Carnap - 1950 - Chicago, IL, USA: Chicago University of Chicago Press.
The Philosophy of Philosophy.Timothy Williamson - 2007 - Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell.
The Philosophy of Philosophy.Timothy Williamson - 2007 - Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell.

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