analytic proposition


analytic proposition

      in logic, a statement or judgment that is necessarily true on purely logical grounds and serves only to elucidate meanings already implicit in the subject; its truth is thus guaranteed by the principle of contradiction. Such propositions are distinguished from synthetic propositions, the meanings of which include information imported from nonlogical (usually empirical) sources and which are therefore contingent. Thus the proposition that all bodies are extended is analytic, because the notion of extension is implicit in the notion of body; whereas the proposition that all bodies are heavy is synthetic, since the notion of weight supposes in addition to the notion of body that of bodies in relation to one another. In the 19th century Bernard Bolzano, a Prague logician and epistemologist, added a third category, the analytically false.

      Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, a 17th-century German rationalist, had made a parallel distinction between “truths of reason” and “truths of fact,” and David Hume, a Scottish skeptic, had distinguished between “relations of ideas” and “matters of fact.” The first definition of an analytic statement approaching logical adequacy was that of Bolzano (Bolzano, Bernhard), who held that a sentence is analytically true if either (1) its propositional form is true for all values of its variables or (2) it can be reduced to such a sentence.

      Most contemporary logicians hold that the most fundamental domain to which analyticity pertains is not that of judgments (which are too psychological), nor of sentences (which belong to a specific language), nor of definitions (which are about words instead of objects); it is, instead, that of statements (which refer to meanings of sentences). To this reference to meanings Gottlob Frege, one of the founders of contemporary logic, added a reference to “general logical laws,” these two references being the only requirements for the proof of an analytic statement.

      The distinction between analytic and synthetic statements (analytic-synthetic distinction) aroused extensive debate in the mid-20th century, particularly in view of objections raised by the American logician Willard Van Orman Quine.

* * *


Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • analytic philosophy — n. a 20th cent. philosophic movement characterized by its method of analyzing concepts and statements in the light of common experience and ordinary language so as to eliminate confusions of thought and resolve many traditional philosophical… …   Universalium

  • analytic — [an΄ə lit′ik] adj. [ML analyticus < Gr analytikos < analytos, soluble: see ANALYSIS] 1. of analysis or analytics 2. that separates into constituent parts 3. skilled in or using analysis [an analytic mind] 4. Linguis. expressing syntactic… …   English World dictionary

  • Analytic-synthetic distinction — The analytic synthetic distinction is a conceptual distinction, used primarily in philosophy to distinguish propositions into two types: analytic propositions and synthetic propositions . Analytic propositions are those which are true simply by… …   Wikipedia

  • analytic/synthetic — A contrast originally introduced by Kant between types of proposition. An analytic proposition is one where the concept of the predicate is ‘contained in’ the concept of the subject. ‘All brothers are male’ is an example. A synthetic proposition… …   Philosophy dictionary

  • Analytic — See also: Analysis Contents 1 Natural sciences 2 Philosophy 3 Social sciences …   Wikipedia

  • Analytic philosophy — (sometimes, analytical philosophy) is a generic term for a style of philosophy that came to dominate English speaking countries in the 20th century. In the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand the overwhelming… …   Wikipedia

  • Proposition — This article is about the term in logic and philosophy. For other uses, see Proposition (disambiguation). In logic and philosophy, the term proposition refers to either (a) the content or meaning of a meaningful declarative sentence or (b) the… …   Wikipedia

  • analytic — analytically, adv. /an l it ik/, adj. 1. pertaining to or proceeding by analysis (opposed to synthetic). 2. skilled in or habitually using analysis. 3. (of a language) characterized by a relatively frequent use of function words, auxiliary verbs …   Universalium

  • Analytic language — analytical analytical adj. 1. of or pertaining to analysis (definition 2). [WordNet 1.5] 2. (Logic) of a proposition; necessarily true independent of fact or experience, such as all spinsters are unmarried . Opposite of {synthetic}. Also See: {a… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • analytic — or analytical adjective Etymology: Late Latin analyticus, from Greek analytikos, from analyein Date: 1601 1. of or relating to analysis or analytics; especially separating something into component parts or constituent elements …   New Collegiate Dictionary


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.