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What is AskPhilosophers? This site puts the talents and knowledge of philosophers at the service of the general public. Send in a question that you think might be related to philosophy and we will do our best to respond to it. To date, there have been 4901 questions posted and 6156 responses. [more]


Question of the day

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Reading Wikipedia and a bit of the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, I learn that, for most philosophers today, the distinction betweem analytic and synthetic truths or falsities is no longer acceptable. For them, there are no analytic truths. This rejection originates in Quine. I wonder if that is really so. Is there anything synthetic in mathematics? Is there anything synthetic in the thought that all birds are birds, or that all brown balls are brown things? How do philosophers argue that these truths are synthetic?

Response from Stephen Maitzen on April 17, 2014
It's a good idea to consult the SEP for discussion of these questions and for citations to various published answers. Continue to do so. I'd question, however, whether "most philosophers today" reject the analytic/synthetic distinction. According to the recent PhilPapers survey, 64.9% of "target faculty" either "accept or lean toward" accepting the distinction (see this link). Reports of its demise would appear to be exaggerated.

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