Study Questions for Chapter 21: Analytic Philosophy

by Dr. Jan Garrett

Last revised on November 18, 2009

See this article from the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy for an overview of Analytic Philosophy from a perspective other than second-generation cognitive science and embodied realism.

See also Terms for Analytic Philosophy that should help you find your way through the special vocabulary of analytic philosophy. (There is, alas, quite a bit of it.)

1. How is "analytic philosophy" principally defined? On what is the "linguistic turn" based? (440)

2. What did Gottlob Frege (GF) wish to justify related to mathematics? What did he mean by "psychologism" (which he attacked)? To what view of meaning and thought did his rejection of psychologism lead him? What entities populated GF's objective universal realm? (440)

3. What things populated the "subjective realm" according to GF? What for GF was semantics (theory of meaning) about? (440-41) How does analytic philosophy (AP) under GF's influence define itself? How does AP understand meaning? What, from LJ's perspective is missing from the picture of language with which AP operates (thanks to GF)? (441)

4. What are some of the effects of AP's adoption of the Thought as Language metaphor? (442 ¶1)

5. When the Naming and the Meaning folk theories (FTs) are combined with Thought as Language metaphor, how will concepts represented by linguistic symbols be seen? What consequence does this have for the nature of meaning? (442 ¶2)

6. Why are the Naming and Meaning FTs oversimplifications or fallacious? (442 ¶3) What are we omitting when we speak of "the word naming the object"? How is the Naming FT like the view that "the sun rises"? (443 ¶1)

7. What inference will seem reasonable if you believe the Naming FT? if you believe both the Naming and the Meaning FT's? If you also accept the Thought as Language FT? (443 ¶2)

8. What theory of truth follows immediately from these folk theories? What theory of meaning does analytic philosophy wind up with? Thus all meaning is _____________, ______________, and ______________(443 ¶3). Note how analytic philosophy neatly confirms what Lakoff in TPM calls the "Old Enlightenment conception of reason."

9. What two tenets does AP inherit from Descartes? (444)

10. Out of what concern did the analytic tradition (in 20th century philosophy) grow? (444 middle)

11. What metaphors generate the basic approach of formalist AP? What entailments do they produce? (444-45)

12 What complex metaphor allows formalist AP to conceptualize the use of symbols? (445 bottom) Now, how is a formal language understood? How is a system of formal logic understood? (446 top)

13. What metaphysics is now assumed by formal AP? How could a "model of the world" (reality) then be constructed? How then was the world conceptualized? (446)

14. What ancient metaphor seems to be the basis of the way in which this formalist approach conceives predication? (446 bottom)

15. How, by way of the Formal Semantics Metaphor, is the meaning of an expression in a formal language conceptualized? (see also F10) How is truth conceptualized? (447) What must happen to a formal language if it is to become meaningful? (F7) In what does a state of the world ("the way the world is") consist? (F8) What kind of correspondence is truth now? (F11) (447)

16. What conclusion was drawn concerning scientific and philosophical theories from the metaphorical version of Church's thesis? (448, F13)

17. How does Quine characterize being? (449) For explanation see p. 451.

18. Against what claim of formalist AP did ordinary language philosophers rebel? What did they argue for instead? What did they claim about the utility of mathematical logic? (499)

19. What did Strawson argue maintain about ordinary language? What is meant by two-valued logic? What did Austin affirm about speech acts like ordering and promising? (449) What did the later Wittgenstein maintain about family resemblance concepts? (450)

20. What metaphor does the later Wittgenstein preserve? How does he depart from the assumptions of earlier analytic philosophy? (450)

21. What is Occam's Razor? (The reference is to William of Ockham, a medieval philosopher and theologian.) What beings does Quine accept in his ontology (as really existing entities)? What does he exclude? (451)

22. What for Quine is the relationship between logic, Universal Reason, and metaphysics? (451)

23. Distinguish between first-order and second-order logic? Which, according to Quine, is the proper logic for philosophy? (451-52)

24. What does it mean to say that Quine is (metaphysically) a nominalist? (Why does Quine want to limit his logic to first-order logic?) (452)

25. How does "intentional" logic (LJ should have said "intensional") differ from Quinean "extensional" logic? (452)

26. What conclusion about the interpretation of mathematical symbols in a formal language does Quine draw from the mathematical theorem named after Lowenheim and Skolem? (454, lines 24-26)

27. What startling consequences follow for formalist analytic philosophy? (454-55, and "consequences" 1-4, 455-57)

28. Explain the distinction (that goes back at least to Kant) between analytic and synthetic (non-analytic) sentences. How does Quine's view destroy this distinction. (455-56)

29. How does the Quine view undermine the possibility of confirming a part of a scientific theory? How does it undermine the possibility of falsifying a part of a theory? (456-57)

30. How does an embodied theory of mind and meaning avoid these pessimistic consequences for science? (457)

31. How does formalist philosophy conceive a correct "translation" from one formal language to another? Could you ever know if such a translation were correct, according to Quine? (Why or why not?) (457) Why would the translation have to be "all at once"? Why would even an all at once translation not provide confidence of correctness? (458)

32. Why is reading the work of Quine and those who have followed in his footsteps a strange experience? What are Quine's conclusions commonly taken to be about? What are the Quineans assuming? (458)

33. What makes formalist AP appear unproblematic? (458-59) What happens to formalist philosophy if language and thought are embodied? (459)

34. So as not to make science impossible, Quine has to make five assumptions. What is the first? How are natural kinds now conceived? (459 ¶2)

35. What is his second assumption? What does he seem to mean by behaviorist psychology? By the "naturalized epistemology" that he now accepts? (¶3)

36. What is his third assumption? (Logical positivism is a version of analytic philosophy associated with the Vienna Circle, prominent in the 1920's and 1930's; an "observation sentence" is a sentence that reports an observation that is public, to which anybody with unimpaired sense organs would supposedly assent.) (459-60)

37. What assumptions are clustered in his fourth major assumption? (460)

38. What is fifth assumption? How does this contradict the Quine-Duhem thesis? (460)

39. What Quinean starting-points does Richard Rorty accept? What does he give up? Why do LJ say that he sees mind and language as disembodied? (461) Why does Rorty reject Quine's program of naturalizing psychology? (461)

40. What internal contradiction in Quine does Rorty notice? (462 ¶1) What theory of truth does Rorty seem to adopt? What has Rorty discovered that LJ regard as correct? (¶2) Why does philosophy remain a priori for him? (¶3)

41. How is the LJ view in radical contrast to Quine and Rorty? (¶4)

42. Why, according to LJ, was Frege wrong in claiming that psychology is purely subjective? (462-63) Why was he wrong in postulating an abstract realm of disembodied senses (i.e., meanings or "intensions" of words) and relations between between senses and objects in a mind-independent world? (463)

43. Why is formal analytic philosophy wrong to assume that we can fully know thought by a priori philosophical reflection? (463) To hold that all concepts must be literal? (463)