Herbie Mann Comin' Home

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Will Someone Please Tell Me What I'm Talking About?

An analytic statement is one true by virtue of its definition: 'I am who I am', 'elephants are animals with trunks' -- these are self-evident.

A synthetic statement is one not true by virtue of definition: 'I am a man 1.82 meters in height', 'Sheba is an elephant in the Atlanta zoo' -- these require evidence.

But, you know, even 'self-evidence' based on definitional grounds requires a knowledge of the world which implies having had empirical dealings with it.

Apparently, I've stumbled on a W.V.O. Quine challenge made against logical positivist arguments which put too much reliance on analytic statements to establish truth and downplayed the role of synthetic statements.

In doing so, Quine was in effect defending the availability of truth founded in fact rather than simply in definition, language, and meaning.

(I have no idea whether this is right, but it sounds good.)



  1. I look upon your site as a place of learning.I left school at fifteen with no qualifications and then have spent the rest of my life reading.Your wisdom is of great value to me,although I do not always understand it.

  2. A friend of mine praised Wikipedia some time ago, and I dismissed him since W sounded like an 'open source' hodge-podge of opinion.

    Over time, I've come to check over their articles to see if they jibe with what I've 'officially' read and been taught. Most of the time they seem solid.

    That's where I went to double-check my VERY hazy notion of what this post says -- along with equally hazy notions of 'a priori' and 'a posteriori' arguments.

    I had forgotten that this was juggled heavily by Immanuel Kant -- whom I never understood. And still don't.

    No doubt any graduate student would make corned beef hash out of my 'philosophical' ramblings.

    I try. Although I'm really 'playing tag' with ideas, hitting-and-running with literary purpose, playing around.

    That what I write is beneficial to you encourages me, and I humbly (truly!) thank you.

    (Challenge what I say at will!)

  3. As only an Englishman would say.Thanks mate!