In “Two Dogmas of Empiricism,” Quine claims that both the analytic/synthetic distinction and reductionism are two “ill-founded” dogmas ultimately born of a single error—that one dogma, as it stands, leads to the other, and vice versa, because both are rooted in one and the same mistake.  To correct this mistake is one of the principle tasks of his own empiricism, and to accomplish this task, Quine proceeds in two main steps.  First he shows why the analytic/synthetic distinction and reductionism are dogmas in the first place, and second, he offers a pragmatic, holistic epistemology without these dogmas.

Regarding his analysis of the dogmas, Quine mainly discusses “analyticity” and then reductionism, and the latter by way of its positivist manifestation, verificationism; then he proceeds to their common root.  “Analyticity” in its proposed forms comes first, and in his treatment Quine notes that previous attempts to define it either employ logically unclear terms, or are inherently circular, or are dependent on an as yet non-existent theory of meaning.  Because of this lack of logical rigor, Quine says, the notion is unsustainable, and with its demise goes very the distinction between analytic/synthetic statements.  Quine then discusses verificationism and its implied reductionism to immediate sense experience.  Radical reductionism, he notes, also fails: so long as the necessary “is at” connective linking sense qualities to a specific time and place remains logically “undefined,” Quine suggests, reductionism can’t do what it sets out to do, namely, translate all statements about the physical world into statements about immediate experience through logic and the language of sense datum.  So while recognizing that some kind of appeal to “extra-linguistic” facts is required for the truth or falsity of statements generally—in other words, while recognizing that the “is at,” though not formally worked out, still represents a basic truth—Quine goes on to explain that reductionism as a “dogma” persists because of the “supposition that each statement, taken in isolation from its fellows, can admit of confirmation or information at all” (emphasis added). Quine then notes that this particularism, as it might be called—this taking statements in isolation—is the common root of the two dogmas: only because we mistakenly take statements in isolation is a distinction between analytic/synthetic even tempting, and a consequent radical reductionism apparently necessary.  Quine never specifies how taking statements in isolation leads to the dogmas, only that is does, and with the dogmas so circumscribed, Quine proceeds to his solution.

To correct for the error that lies beneath both dogmas, Quine offers a species of pragmatic holism.  That is, instead of taking statements in isolation, Quine proposes to take as the target of corroboration all statements taken as “a corporate body,” meaning that “the whole of science” comes into question when a particular empirical claim is made.  With this holism, Quines notes, both dogmas disappear, and once overcome (he doesn’t explain how they are overcome either), a pragmatic distinction between “conceptual schemes” and empirical content (“extra-linguistic” fact) can be put in their place.  Specifically, under this pragmatic holism, entities within the conceptual scheme can be “posited” as “tools” for simplifying and ordering the “continuing barrage of sensory stimulation” to which empirical claims are subject, and in this way scientific statements can be assessed.  But pragmatically speaking, this assessment remains instrumental: the posited entities used within it are theoretical—or perhaps better, hypothetical; instead of representing real things, Quine notes, the ‘objects’ of science exist as convenient tools that help “predict future experience in light of past experience.” When taken as such, when assessing an empirical claim, instead of asking whether or not the theoretically “irreducible posits” acting as “convenient intermediaries” exist (say, the realm of physical objects versus the Homeric gods), then searching sensory experience for corroborating or refuting data that they do (as reductionism tries to do), empirical corroboration under pragmatic holism determines the ‘truth value’ of statements according to their function—in short, it ask: do they work to predict experience?  With this pragmatic criterion of truth in mind, Quines concludes that while degree of belief in competing “posits” (gods or physical objects) is still warranted, instead of being based on evidence for or against their existence, it is based instead “upon our vaguely pragmatic inclination to adjust one strand of the fabric of science rather than another in accommodating some particular recalcitrant experience.”  On this point, then, Quine’s pragmatism and holism are largely one of apiece: implied in the pragmatic criterion for assessing empirical claims is a readiness or not to re-examine claims at the center or the periphery of scientific knowledge, even as the occasional necessity to do so justifies the need for the pragmatic criterion.  In any case, this pragmatic distinction between scheme and content in place of the two dogmas with within a conceptual holism is more or less what Quine means by epistemology “naturalized.”

Ok, that’s an elephantine mindful, but it just about covers what Quine said.  Now what does it all mean for the analytic/synthetic distinction and the reduction of ideas to experience in empiricism?

Ostensibly, in “Two Dogmas of Empiricism” Quine is going after the entire tradition of empiricism, including Lock, Hume and Kant, but in practice his principle target—at least the sources from which he draws most of his examples, and to which he directs most of his arguments—is Carnap and logical positivism.  Now since the anus has never had any truck with the positivists (he thinks the movement is nothing more than an uninteresting distortion of British empiricism importing unwarranted metaphysical assumptions about meaning, logic, and propositional statements), it was ready to applaud virtually any exposition of their hang ups in just one dogma, much less two, even if that anal-lysis was coming from Quine.  But it should have known better.  Quine so misses the point of the analytic/synthetic distinction and the related problem of reductionism as deployed in traditional philosophy that it hardly knows where to begin, beyond simply stating that what Quine analyzes as “two dogmas” simply doesn’t apply to traditional rationalism and empiricism, much less to Kant.  In other words, Quine’s intended target (Carnap logical positivism) may be adequately struck, but that target so metaphysically distorts the traditional distinctions between “relations of ideas”/“matters of fact” and “analytic/synthetic judgements,” and the consequent “reduction” of ideas to experience, that these conceptual moves become unrecognizable– and as unrecognizable, Quine misses his mark (or rather, Quine may only hit one of his marks, Carnap and the positivists, but he misses the rest).  On the first point the anus can’t be sure, but it can say for sure on the later.  In any case, nothing Quine says in “Two Dogmas of Empiricism” is useful for understanding rationalism, empiricism, or Kant.  Or so the anus maintains.

To see why this is so, and in the spirit Quine intends, one need only discuss a pragmatic, functional distinction made a long time ago in a philosophy far, far away—to wit, the logical differentiation between implication within discourse and existential involvement with facts.  This distinction, as the situating context for what follows, is both valid and applicable for two reasons.  First, the distinction is valid because it can be said to mirror nearly perfectly Quine’s own stipulation that verification in sensory experience requires some division of labor between “a linguistic component and a factual component” in determining the truth of statements.  And second, the distinction is applicable as a context because this pragmatic, functional distinction almost certainly corresponds to the pre-Kantian notions of “relations of ideas” and “matters of fact,” as well as to the specifically Kantian distinctions between “analytic” and “synthetic” judgements, and to both with respect to the origin and reduction of ideas in and to experience.  Noting the correspondence between Dewey’s differentiation and these traditional distinctions is not to say that either Kant, or the empiricists and rationalist who preceded him, correctly appreciated the logical import of “implication” versus “involvement” in a non-problematic way.  Perhaps they did, perhaps they did not—the issue is only approached here, not decided.  Instead, it is simply to assert that whatever limits exist in their formulations, their guiding intuitions have a firm basis in a logical, functional distinction, one notably parallel to Quine’s own pragmatic division of labor between a “conceptual scheme” and “questions of fact,” and one—to reiterate the point just noted above—even more specifically bound to his own distinction between a “linguistic” and “nonlinguistic” component in empirical statements.  To see how this pragmatic distinction (one shared apparently shared by Quine) is important for reading both the British empiricists and Kant (and therefore for assessing Quine’s arguments against them), it is best to turn to Dewey for a brief exposition, as it is he to whom this point is credited, even as he credits others for suggesting it to him.

For Dewey, “implication within discourse” refers to analyzing or drawing out “the relations of meaning that constitute propositions,” whereas “involvement with facts” relates these implications, where applicable, to existential subject matter—or in Dewey’s perhaps ill-chosen phrase, to “the brute structure of things” in experience, what Quine calls “sensory stimulation.”  In other words, these two aspects of inquiry, implication and involvement, represent the two prongs already discussed with respect to Rorty, namely ideas and facts—“ideas” and “facts” used in their common sense and scientific applications, not in their philosophically laden sense (a sense that is admittedly highly problematic) .[1]  That both ‘implication within discourse’ and ‘involvement with facts’ occurs in all forms of successful inquiry should hardly be controversial, so the merits of the distinction will not be argued herebeyond noting that both science and Quine’s own epistemology would be impossible to understand without it. Instead, the mutually cooperative interplay between “idea” and “fact”, i.e. between implications within discourse and involvement with facts, will simply be (perhaps dogmatically?!) asserted, then it will be sketched with respect to examples traditionally associated with the “analytic”/“synthetic” distinction, and the consequent “reduction” to experience.  Once this is done, the relationship of this distinction to reductionism, as Quine understands it, can be better appreciated, as can how his analysis and arguments fail to touch on what is essential in both traditional empiricism and Kant.

To illustrate the problems with “analyticity,” Quine refers to the classic Kantian example, “a bachelor is an unmarried man,” but it is important here to add one more example, as an instance of synthetic judgement, Kant’s own “all bodies are heavy”.  Although Quine implies that his treatment of the shortcomings of analyticity suffices to undermine the distinction between analytic and synthetic judgments, in fact understanding the distinction requires considering both sides of the analytic/synthetic coin.  In this way, the correspondence between “implications within discourse” and “involvement with facts” can be made clearer in its nascent but operative form in the traditional Kantian and pre-Kantian distinction between “analysis/synthesis” and “relations of ideas/matters of fact,” but more specifically, how these distinctions apply to reductionism can be better understood—not just “better” in a general way, but also with respect to Quine’s own arguments against verificationism and reductionism.

Consider first the “analytic” statement “a bachelor is an unmarried man.”  Regardless of whether or not the mutual implications of “bachelor,” “unmarried,” and “man” are due to definition, synonymy, or some other form of interchangeability in a formal and exact sense, it can be noted right away that the terms stand in some form of mutually implicatory relationship to one another solely by virtue how they are used in their everyday senses, i.e. by virtue of their plain meanings in discourse.  In other words, the exact meaning of synonym, definition, or interchangeability need not be specified for it to be said in some sense that the statement exploits one or more of these meaningful relations; it is enough to say that these relations are commonly used in one or more everyday ways—or for that matter, in other relations in other ways, perhaps those more specific than common use but nevertheless in ways not exactly, logically specified.  In short, formal logical specificity is not required to understand the “analyticity” of the statement; colloquial language use suffices.  Furthermore, one need not deploy a determinate “theory of meaning” in order to recognize this analyticity either; again, colloquial use is enough to understand that the terms in the proposition stand in mutual relationships with respect to one another, regardless of how that standing is explained theoretically.  In this pragmatic sense, then—with this provisional, pragmatic understanding of meaning in use in mind—the statement “a bachelor is an unmarried man” is “analytic” in so far as it refers to the mutual implications of the way the words “bachelor,” “man” and “married” are used in discourse, even as it does so irrespective of any claim to involvement with matters of fact, i.e. whether bachelors or men or marriage in fact exist.  In other words, pragmatically speaking “a bachelor is an unmarried man” is an analytic statement.

With this pragmatism in mind, Kant was perhaps ill-advised to say that “analyticity” depends largely, if not exclusively, on “identity” and “non-contradiction” between the subject and predicate, i.e. between the terms involved—a mechanism of exposition he never clarifies.  But he was surely correct to suggest—however unsatisfactorily that suggestion was articulated—that a “bachelor” is an “unmarried man” solely in terms of how one thinks the concept “bachelor” and the predicate “unmarried man” together, i.e. to think them together, as a pragmatist would say, solely in terms how the words are used in discourse—or yet again, solely with respect to the implied meanings of the terms in the proposition.  In this respect, that the how of this ‘drawing out’ or ‘expositing’ of mutual implication remains unspecific in a precise formal way has no bearing on the fact that such drawing out and exposition regularly occurs, that it this drawing out makes sense ‘analytically’, or that expositions and ‘drawings out’ like it can—and do—guide the deployment of empirical concepts in science and empirical research (this deployment is more clear in his other famous example of extended bodies, a notion clearly at the basis of many a proposition in relativistic physics).  Under the principle of interpretive charitably, recognition of all these fact and nuances was Kant’s working intuition for distinguishing analytic from synthetic judgments.[2]

Now contrast this notion of analyticity as “implication within discourse” with the notion of “synthetic” as “involvement with fact.”  It was indicated that the truth of the analytic statement “a bachelor is an unmarried man” does not rest on any question of fact, that the statement is analytically true regardless of whether or not there exists any man who in fact is unmarried, etc. (that this independence from facts doesn’t mean the proposition has no existential reference at all will be taken up shortly).  In other words, the truth of the analytic proposition “a bachelor is an unmarried man” follows from the plain meaning of the words.  This ‘truth by independence from fact’ can be contrasted with a “synthetic” statement; that is, it would not apply to a statement like Kant’s “all bodies are heavy,” in that “heaviness” is a property of a body existing under certain specifiable conditions which may or may not in fact obtain. Thus the truth of the statement (or not) requires involvement with facts: it is not determinable by the implications of discourse alone.  Indeed, by the implications of discourse alone, nothing can be said about the truth of the proposition, despite the temptation to invoke the common sense notion that it must be false because in fact some bodies are light.  And therein lies the rub: involvement with facts makes the statement false, since “heaviness” requires an act of lifting within a gravitational field; that any object uninfluenced by that field would be neither “heavy” nor “light”; that some bodies do in fact exist, for all intents and purposes, outside the influence of any nearby field; that some bodies have less mass than other and are therefore “lighter”…and so on.[3]  Whatever way it’s parsed, in a logical sense the statement remains “synthetic” because the involvement with these factual determinations accounts for its truth or falsity; by discourse alone nothing can be said about it, except to define its terms.  For a synthetic statement, then, issues of fact dispose the truth of the statement, and this contrasts markedly with irrelevant role of factual determination for the truth of an analytic statement.  If taken pragmatically—i.e. if taken as respective functional roles with regard to facts—propositions as used in inquiry can be unproblematically divided into “analytic” and “synthetic.”  In fact, this division may even be required in some sense if propositions are understood as being functional and instrumental within inquiry itself, instead of solely represented as being the final outcome of that inquiry.  That Quine himself at least relies on this functional, pragmatic distinction will be pointed out at the end.

It has already been suggested that analytic statements are true or false by the implicatory relations of how the terms are used in discourse, as opposed to their involvement with facts—or to put the matter in more logical terms, their truth is independent of direct existential reference.  So “a bachelor is an unmarried man” is true whether or not the factual conditions implied in the statement obtain; whether there are in fact married men, men, or even marriage.  But note: recurring to the previous promissory note, this is not to say that the statement has no existential reference at all; for it does.  Both in terms of its use in guiding inquiry into men and marriage (perhaps for tax purposes one wants to classify them as “married” or “unmarried”; then it would apply to a particular man), and in terms of its origin as a proposition in the first place (at some point someone must have encountered ‘men’ and ‘marriage’ and such to even form the concept of “bachelor” as an “unmarried man”; as Kant would say, it’s an empirical concept), some eventual or originating reference to bona fide facts is implied.  So the existential reference of an analytic statement (or of a “relation of ideas”), such as it is, should be called, if it is called anything, indirect, and it is “indirect” in the sense that at some point, either at their formation or during the course of their use, factual matters may become involved even with analytically expressed ideas—and the fact that they do become involved at some point is part and parcel of the concept or proposition’s use in inquiry.  But prior to that use, facts need not be involved.  That is, prior to that use, whether the factual conditions in the proposition obtain remains an open—and necessarily an openquestion.  This notion of indirect existential reference in use of “relations of ideas” or “analytic judgements” may be unique to pragmatism and foreign to Kant and the traditional empiricists—and in fact Dewey thought overlooking this existential reference in generic versus universal propositions has caused much confusion in epistemology.  But either way, the notion of an existential origin of ideas and concepts is not.  And that issue—the question of origin and ultimate applicability— bears directly on the traditional empiricist’s appeal to experience as the last court of appeal for knowledge claims—or what the logical positivists, and Quine, call reductionism.  A Quine correctly indicated, for the traditional empiricists, all concepts are reducible to an existential origin within experience, so their distinction between “relations of ideas” and “matters of fact” does commit them some form of reductionism. And similarly for Kant.[4]

To put this issue of “analyticity,” “synthetic” and “reductionism” into better light, recall how the traditional empiricists formulate the problem.  For them (and presumably Kant), the truth of the proposition “a bachelor is an unmarried” man, despite being analytic, is traceable (to use Quine’s term) to some “sensory experience.”  But to use just their terms, it is simply traceable to experience.[5]  In other words, even to be formulated, even to be conceived, one must have had experience of ‘men’ and ‘women’ and ‘marriage’ and their relationships to one another—or to put the matter again in traditional terms, one must have had the simple impressions and/or ideas relating to “man,” “woman,” and “marriage”; one must have related those ideas together in some way…and so forth.  The details of how this having and relating occurs is less important than the fact that for the traditional empiricists it does occur.  In effect, their claim is that to be knowledge, propositions like “a bachelor is an unmarried man,” even as “relation of ideas,” requires an origin in experience, and this claim is even more pronounced for “matters of fact” statements like “all bodies are heavy” or “some bodies are heavy,” where the conditions that determine their truth or falsity in fact either do or do not obtain experientially.  In an analytic statement—in ‘relations of ideas’—truth is determined by these relations alone (read “implicatory use within in discourse”), even though the terms of the relationship can only be established by prior experience of the simpler terms and relations (read some priori or posterior indirect “involvement with facts”).  For synthetic statements—for “matters of fact”—truth is established directly by involvement with facts, i.e. by whether or not the conditions discursively stated in fact obtain in experience.  In a rough and ready form, then, Dewey’s (and, as will be shown shorty, Quine’s!) pragmatic and logical functional distinction between implication and involvement guides both Kant’s analytic/synthetic distinction and the earlier distinction between “relations of ideas” and “matters of fact,” even as it traces all knowledge back to experience, i.e. even as the distinction is linked to “reductionism” (again, except for Kant’s hold out that some discursive knowledge is non-empirical in origin, to wit, the synthetic apriori).  So like Quine suggests—only not for the right reasons, as he omits the necessary ‘bridging’ discussion of synthetic statementsthe “two dogmas” are in the end one of apiece: taken together, ideas can be discursively related to one another in their own terms and/or then related to factual matters, or not (i.e. “analytic/synthetic” distinction).  But ultimately those terms—that discourse—draws from and refers back to experience in some way (“reductionism”).   This tripartite nexus of intuitions about empirical knowledge (implication, involvement, and experience) represents the pragmatic origin within which the two “dogmas” of the tradition obtain in an “identical root.”

Now even a careless reader will most likely have formed the impression that what’s passed so far amounts to little more than lecturing Quine on things he already knows, on distinctions he’s already disposed of, on an error he’s already corrected for, and therefore the anus rather misses the point by bringing up again the analytic/synthetic distinction and reductionism, even if only with respect to their pragmatic, functional origins.  But that impression would be wrong, for Quine accomplishes far less than he thinks he does, and in any case, far, far less than those who draw from him think he does.  In fact, when the rubber really hits the road, all Quine does is obscure the perfectly sensible distinction between “implications within discourse” and “involvement with facts” by demanding of it a formal, apriori rigor not only unnecessary for its logical deployment; he also entirely begs the question at hand—to wit, does one need a formal, logically rigorous differentiation between “analytic” and “synthetic” statements in the first place, or will a pragmatic, operational and functional distinction between two uses of propositions suffice?  And to make matters worse, after deploying the failure to meet this question begging demand as an argument against Carnap, the logical positivists, and the tradition, Quine turns around and invokes in his own ‘non-dogmatic’ epistemology essentially same pragmatic distinction he denies to his targets—that is, he relies on a functional division of labor virtually identical to the one from which that tradition draws its distinctions, namely, the division between “conceptual scheme” and “questions of fact”, or again, between linguistic and non-linguistic reference.[6]   And on top of this question-begging hypocrisy, he adds another.  For as Quine notes: traditional ontological problems like “whether to countenance classes as entities” reduces to a functional problem, namely, one of “choosing a convenient language form, a convenient conceptual scheme or framework for science,” one that promotes the ordering of “nonlinguistic” content in adjudicating empirical claims (emphasis added).  The very ideas of “convenience” and “choice” imply a working, functional distinction.  This dual hypocritical deployment of the same basic pragmatic distinction he denies to others—this hypocritical question begging—permeates his entire anal-lysis, including– and especially– his solution.

To see this, it shouldn’t pass notice that Quine expects his readers to suffer this hypocrisy, even as he deploys his it in detail in his “naturalized epistemology.” To highlight this expectation, one need only ask of Quine’s “solution” to the “dogmas”: what, if anything, can “convenient” mean if it does not require, minimally, working out the implications of the conceptual scheme in discourse, i.e. working out the implications of the propositions within the selected “language form”; working out its “posits” and related statements as “tools”?  How else could one ever know if it’s convenient or not; if it simplifies predicting future experience or not? Two schemes could never be compared as more or less simple, or more or less convenient, without first working out the implications of their terms. And once that work of implication is done, how would this convenient and simplifying conceptual scheme conceivably be tested without reference to involvement with facts—an involvement Quine specifically invokes when he says sometimes the question is “more a question of fact” than a question of the scheme as such, especially when “recalcitrant experiences” operate at the “periphery” of a body of knowledge, and may or may not require reconsideration of the “inner field”– that is, may not require reconsideration of the inner terms or claims of the scheme?  Without an involvement with facts, what is tested against what; how is prediction in these tests even possible without facts?  And lastly, where, if not from evidential experience, does one get these “convenient intermediaries” in the first place—namely, the “irreducible” theoretical “posits” that simplify and order experience, those that imply predictions—and to what, if not experience, do they relate back to?  Again, for Quine, the answer is just what he denies to the positions he criticizes, to wit sensory experience.  In fact, this latter point is probably the guiding problem of his entire epistemology: how do theoretical entities emerge from sense experience, even as they relate back to that experience for their ultimate justification?  Or in other words, how does one go from “stimulus to science?”  The very posing of the naturalized epistemological problem implies some pragmatic form of reductionism.

With these considerations in mind, how then is Quine’s naturalized epistemology not, minimally, “implications within discourse,” “involvement with facts,” and origin and justification in experience redux, just like the empirical tradition he criticizes?  How is it that Quine doesn’t use the very same intuitions underlying the traditional distinctions and commitments in a non-formal way, even has he faults the tradition for not formally working out those distinctions?  Why doesn’t Quine hold to his own functional, pragmatic account the same demand for the ‘apriori-worked-out-formal-logical-rigor’ and ‘apriori-worked-out-formal-theory of meaning’ that he demands of Kant and the traditional empiricists, specifically of the logical positivists?  Charitably speaking—and the anus has a tough time squeezing out charity when it comes to Quine—Quine might be right to take the positivists to task for failing logically to account for their own suppositions in a scheme of logical positivism.  But that concession granted: his own anal-lysis falls far short of its presumable targets of Kant and the traditional empiricists (or for that matter just about any else who has taken up the analytic/synthetic distinction).  For those philosophers can and should be seen as groping within, and working out for their own epistemological ends, the pragmatic and logical distinction between implication within discourse and involvement with facts, and the ultimate applicability and appeal of both to experience in some respect—in other words, as using the very pragmatic distinctions Quine gropes with and works out in his own epistemology.  Just how anyone does this, and where one might fail or succeed, is always a legitimate topic for discussion.  But before that discussion, it just won’t do to obscure the underlying issue by begging the question and then invoking the distinction begged in one’s own theory, claiming then that this question begging therefore illuminates anything, much less ‘solves’ the underlying problem.  In other words, it never helps to quine, and as representing such a disposition, “Two Dogmas of Empiricism” dogmatically resolves nothing.  In fact, like the rest of his anal-lysis so far considered, it fails even to pose a sensible problem.[7]


[1] With this application in mind, there is no philosophical difficulty to agreeing that there are neither ’brute facts’ non-contextualized by ideas nor ‘pure ideas’ independent of contextualized facts because for the pragmatist, the distinction between “facts” and “ideas” is two-sided and functional; it does not represent, as the problematizing of the distinction supposes, two antecedent realities to be compared, as though one were a mental concept and the other a naked, external reality.  Conceptual and existential material, or ideas and facts, always co-determine one another and co-occur with one another in inquiry, much like two faces of a coin co-determine the unified object, “the coin.”  In a sentence that would require the entire Logic: The Theory of Inquiry to unpack, ideas guide the selection and discovery of existential subject matter, even as the existential subject matter determines the dispositive or non-dispositive role ideas play in the final settled judgment (but see especially Chapters 6 and 7 for an explicit discussion of this dual, functional role).

[2] As Kant himself stated, “in order to find extension as bound up with” body, I need only become “conscious to myself of the manifold ways in which I always think in that concept.  But when I say ‘All bodies are heavy’, the predicate is something quite different from anything that I think in the mere concept of a body in general” (emphasis added).  It would be no great stretch to equivocate here between thinking and saying, as Kant himself does, if one wanted to argue for an incipient sense of how words are used in discourse in Kant’s analytic/synthetic distinction (as the anus maintains any thoughtful reader should do).  Thinking to oneself need only be a form of discourse to oneself that repeats in soliloquy the publically shared meanings employed in normal speech.  Or to put the matter another way, perhaps the linguistic turn in philosophy should be used to amplify as opposed to castrate Kant and the tradition preceding him.

[3] Modifying the example slightly to the statement “Some bodies are heavy” makes this involvement with fact just as clear in that this time these factual involvements determine its truth. As long as there are bodies on earth, and some are notably heavier than others—both conditions factually obtaining—the statement is both synthetic and true.

[4] Obviously this is not strictly the case for Kant, who maintained that some concepts are pure products of the understanding, and therefore non-reducible to any “sense contents” language, however conceived.  The categories fit that bill.

[5] For all his emphasis on the pure concepts of the understanding and their role in synthetic apriori judgments—and similarly, with his statement that analytic judgments are also apriori—this point about existential ‘origin’ may or may not be as clear in Kant as it is in the empiricists before him.  For instance, Kant does state, in the Kemp-Smith translation, that “it would be absurd to found an analytic judgment on experience.”  But in context, that statement probably applies to the truth of the judgment, not the origin of its terms, an origin which for Kant can be (and in fact mostly is) empirical.  Note that he goes on to explain that “extension” belongs to the concept of “body” prior to “appealing to experience,” suggesting at least an empirical application if not also an empirical origin of “body” and “extension.”

[6] However adequate or inadequate those attempts may or may not be is not decided here, nor need it be.  The point is simply that Quine is deciding that the basic intuitions are inadequate, even as he is replacing his competitors’ products with distinctions drawn from the very same intuitions, all without holding himself to the same standards by which he faults theirs.

[7] The anus will not condescend to consider Quine’s “holism” as raising useful question, as in, “Is the idea useful?”.  It’s near self-refuting stupidity can be pointed out simply by noting that demanding all scientific statements be verified and assessed as “a corporate body” is about as stupid as demanding a new vocabulary word take into account—much less redefine—the meanings of all the words one already knows.   Even after reading The Roots of Reference and Word and Object, the anus was just floored that anyone could ever propose something that stupid.

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