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Between Analytic and Empirical

  • J. W. N. Watkins (a1)

One of the most serious pre-occupations of post-medieval philosophy has been to distinguish those kinds of assertion which are either true or false from those which are neither true nor false. A solution to this problem would be of the highest importance. It would indicate in what areas rational inquiry has some hope of success and in what areas it is doomed to frustration. It would tell us, for example, whether it is worth trying to think about the possible mistakenness of our moral principles, or whether such thinking is bound to be ineffective since no truth or falsity attaches to them.

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page 116 note 1 See especially Hempel C. G., “Studies in the Logic of Confirmation”, Mind, January and April, 1945, on which this paragraph is based.

page 116 note 2 The same point can be made by treating a hypothesis truth-functionally, so that “p⊃q” is confirmed not only by “p.q” but also by and by On this see D. Pears, “Hypotheticals,” Analysis, January 1950.

page 120 note 1 For a proposed measure of confirmation see his Degree of Confirmation,” The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science, v. 18, 1954. He comments on p. 144: “The three cases—support, undermining, independence—are easily seen to be exhaustive and exclusive on this definition.”

page 122 note 1 Op. cit., sect. 15. His example was, “There exists an element of the atomic number 72.”

page 126 note 1 Mr. J. Agassi has shown me how to strengthen my argument here.

page 128 note 1 The negation can be expressed symbolically either by (e.g. “Something exists such that nothing exists in which it is soluble”), or by (e.g. “Something exists which is insoluble in everything”).

page 128 note 2 Analysis, March 1950, p. 76. “A multiply general sentence,” he says, “is so constructed that no singular statement can be formulated which entails or is compatible with it.” A sentence of this type “involves the double [or treble] occurrence of the sign of unrestricted generality, the second being implicit or half-concealed.” He says that such sentences “have played an important part in philosophical arguments” and mentions determinism as an example. “All-and-some” statements differ from the sentences he describes in having existential as well as universal quantification and in giving rise to purely existential assertions. My attention was drawn to Mr. Hampshire's article by Mr. R. M. Hare and Mr. E. A. Gellner who, with Professor A. J. Ayer and Mr. J. Watling, have greatly helped me to clarify my ideas.

page 130 note 1 Logic and Language II, p. 107.

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  • ISSN: 0031-8191
  • EISSN: 1469-817X
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