However, analyzing the relevant concepts and propositions, Russell proposed that what definite descriptions really express are not propositions of the subject-predicate form, but rather they express existentially quantified propositions. Thus, "The present king of France" is analyzed , according to Russell's theory of descriptions, as "There exists an individual who is currently the king of France, there is only one such individual, and that individual is bald.
Indeed, it is false, because it is not the case that there exists a unique individual who is currently the king of France and is bald—since there is no present king of France Bertolet While the method of analysis is characteristic of contemporary analytic philosophy, its status continues to be a source of great controversy even among analytic philosophers.
Several current criticisms of the analytic method derive from W. Quine's famous rejection of the analytic—synthetic distinction. While Quine's critique is well-known, it is highly controversial. Further, the analytic method seems to rely on some sort of definitional structure of concepts, so that one can give necessary and sufficient conditions for the application of the concept.
For example, the concept "bachelor" is often analyzed as having the concepts "unmarried" and "male" as its components. Thus, the definition or analysis of "bachelor" is thought to be an unmarried male. But one might worry that these so-called necessary and sufficient conditions do not apply in every case. Wittgenstein, for instance, argues that language e. Wittgenstein's famous thesis states that meaning is determined by use. This means that, in each case, the meaning of 'bachelor' is determined by its use in a context.
So if it can be shown that the word means different things across different contexts of use, then cases where its meaning cannot be essentially defined as 'married bachelor' seem to constitute counterexamples to this method of analysis. This is just one example of a critique of the analytic method derived from a critique of definitions. This criticism is often said to have originated primarily with Wittgenstein's Philosophical Investigations.
A third critique of the method of analysis derives primarily from psychological critiques of intuition. A key part of the analytic method involves analyzing concepts via "intuition tests". Philosophers tend to motivate various conceptual analyses by appeal to their intuitions about thought experiments. See DePaul and Ramsey for a collection of current essays on the controversy over analysis as it relates to intuition and reflective equilibrium.
In short, some philosophers feel strongly that the analytic method especially conceptual analysis is essential to and defines philosophy—e.
Jackson , Chalmers , and Bealer Yet, some philosophers argue that the method of analysis is problematic—e. Stich and Ramsey Some, however, take the middle ground and argue that while analysis is largely a fruitful method of inquiry, philosophers should not limit themselves to only using the method of analysis. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Links to related articles. Analytic philosophy. Epistemology Language Mathematics Science.
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