Analytic and Synthetic Sentences

We can to some extent understand the way we use words as being fixed by rules of usage. In fact, our willingness to conform to rules in many ways simplifies our present discussion. In this chapter, I consider how some sentences can have their truth or falsity determined solely by means of rules of usage. For example, if an author gives a prescriptive definition of “displacement tonnage” by saying, “By a ship’s displacement tonnage I mean the weight of the water that a ship displaces when it floats,” then the following sentence T is true: “The greater a ship’s displacement tonnage, the greater the weight of the water it displaces.” To put it more exactly, if T occurs in the author’s text (given certain generally accepted rules for the use of the word greater), one can establish the truth of T without looking further. For instance, there is no need to go to the expense and effort of weighing the ship to see if T is true.


Intelligence Quotient Barometric Pressure Synthetic Statement High Intelligence Established Rule 
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© Springer 2005

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