Re: [quickphilosophy] Re: Fodor on Concepts IV: Circularity

  • From: wittrsl@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • To: quickphilosophy@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Thu, 23 Sep 2010 16:07:11 -0700 (PDT)

Hi Neil:
Walt told me to stop it, but this thread won't tie off.
The whole matter hinged on whether "vertebrate" was part of the definition of 
mammal or not. Certainly, before Quine, people differed on whether one property 
was or was not attached to the definition of a term. Does a 'wagon' have four 
wheels or can it have two? Does a 'cart' have two wheels, or can it have four? 
or just one? If a woody plant does not grow so that its trunk is over one inch 
in diameter, can it properly be called a tree? or must it be called a 
shrub? These ambiguities of established usage do not overthrow analyticity, but 
where they exist, one person may mark a statement as true by definition, 
whereas another person would mark it as false, and another might even say it 
depends a property that isn't considered by the other two.
And again, Quine thinks there can be no disagreement on the meaning of logical 

--- On Thu, 9/23/10, iro3isdx <xznwrjnk-evca@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:

From: iro3isdx <xznwrjnk-evca@xxxxxxxxx>
Subject: [quickphilosophy] Re: Fodor on Concepts IV: Circularity
To: quickphilosophy@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Date: Thursday, September 23, 2010, 3:03 PM


--- In quickphilosophy@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx, Ron Allen <wavelets@...> wrote:

> responding to message 257

> Ron:
> Well, here I am advocating analyticity, and the statement "all
> mammals are vertebrates" struck me not as analytic, but rather
> synthetic, albeit universally true on this planet.

In that case, what you mean by "mammal" is different from what I mean
by "mammal." And that tends to support Quine's ideas on the 
indeterminacy of meaning.

If a statement "all mammals are vertebrates" can be analytic for me, 
but not analytic for you, that undermines the way that analyticity had
been used in philosophy prior to "Two Dogmas." And I think that was
Quine's main point.


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