Gillian Russell, “The Analytic/Synthetic Distinction”

Here is the abstract for Gillian Russell’s article.

The distinction between analytic and synthetic truths has played a major role in the history of philosophy, but it was challenged by Quine and others in the 20th century, and the distinction’s coherence and importance is now controversial. This article traces the distinction’s historical development and summarises the major arguments against it. Some post-Quinian accounts are discussed, and the article closes with a list of five challenges which any contemporary account of the distinction ought to meet.

The full article is available here.

There is also a Teaching and Learning Guide. The guide concludes with the following focus questions.

  1. What is a necessary truth? What is an a priori truth? What is a logical truth? How is analyticity related to any of these things?
  2. What kind of thing can be analytic? Sentences? Propositions? Rules of implication?
  3. What should a semantic externalist think about analyticity?
  4. Can analytic sentences contain vague expressions?
  5. ‘If there is no such thing as a priori knowledge, then analyticity looses its philosophical interest’ (E. Sober). Why?

This is an open thread on Prof Russell’s article and TLG.

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