THE FATE OF ANALYSIS, #2–What Classical Analytic Philosophy Is and Isn’t, & the Nature of Philosophical Analysis.

By Robert Hanna



II. Classical Analytic Philosophy

II.1 What Classical Analytic Philosophy Is: Two Basic Theses

II.2 What Classical Analytic Philosophy Officially Isn’t: Its Conflicted Anti-Kantianism

II.3 Classical Analytic Philosophy Characterized in Simple, Subtler, and Subtlest Ways

II.4 Three Kinds of Analysis: Decompositional, Transformative, and Conceptual

II.5 Frege, The First Founding Father of Classical Analytic Philosophy

II.6 Frege’s Project of (Transformative or Reductive) Analysis

II.7 Frege’s Dead End

II.8 Frege’s Semantics of Sense and Reference, aka Meaning

II.9 Some Biggish Problems For Frege’s Semantics

II.10 Husserl, Logic, and Logical Psychologism, aka LP

II.11 What LP is, and its Three Cardinal Sins

II.12 Husserl’s Three Basic Arguments Against LP

II.13 Has Husserl Begged the Question Against LP? Enter The Logocentric Predicament, and a Husserlian Way Out

II. Moore, Brentano, Husserl, Judgment, Anti-Idealism, and Meinong’s World

III.1 G.E. Moore, the Second Founding Father of Classical Analytic Philosophy

III.2 Brentano on Phenomenology, Mental Phenomena, and Intentionality

III.3 Husserl on Phenomenology and Intentionality

III.4 Moore and the Nature of Judgment

III.5 Moore and the Refutation of Idealism

III.6 Meinong’s World

IV. Russell, Unlimited Logicism, Acquaintance, and Description

IV.1 Russell Beyond Brentano, Husserl, Moore, and Meinong

IV.2 Russell and Mathematical Logic versus Kant

IV.3 Russell’s Unlimited Logicist Project

IV.4 Pursued by Logical Furies: Russell’s Paradox Again

IV.5 Russell’s ‘Fido’-Fido Theory of Meaning

IV.6 Knowledge-by-Acquaintance and Knowledge-by-Description

IV.7 Russell’s Theory of Descriptions

IV.8 Russell’s Multiple-Relation Theory of Judgment

IV.9 Russellian Analysis, Early Wittgenstein, and Impredicativity Again

IV.10 Russell and The Philosophy of Logical Atomism

V. Wittgenstein and the Tractatus 1: The Title, and Propositions 1–2.063

V.1 A Brief Synopsis of the Tractatus

V.2 The Tractatus in Context

V.3 The Basic Structure of the Tractatus: A Simple Picture

V.4 Tractarian Ontology

V.5 Reconstructing Wittgenstein’s Reasoning

V.6 What Are the Objects or Things?

V.7 The Role of Logic in Tractarian Ontology

V.8 Colorless Objects/Things

V.9 Tractarian Ontology, Necessity, and Contingency

V.10 Some Initial Worries, and Some Possible Wittgensteinian Counter-Moves

VI. Wittgenstein and the Tractatus 2: Propositions 2.013–5.55

VI.1 What is Logical Space? What is Real Space?

VI.2 Atomic Facts Necessarily Are in Manifest or Phenomenal Space, But Objects or Things Themselves Necessarily Aren’t in Manifest or Phenomenal Space

VI.3 Logical Space is Essentially More Comprehensive than Manifest or Phenomenal Space

VI.4 Why There Can’t/Kant Be a Non-Logical World

VI.5 A Worry About Wittgenstein’s Conception of Logic: Non-Classical Logics

VI.6 What is a Tractarian Proposition?

VI.7 Naming Objects or Things, and Picturing Atomic Facts

VI.8 Signs, Symbols, Sense, Truth, and Judgment

VI.9 Propositions Again

VI.10 Language and Thought

VII. Wittgenstein and the Tractatus 3: Propositions 4–5.61

VII.1 The Logocentric Predicament, Version 3.0: Justifying Deduction

VII.2 The Logical Form of Deduction

VII.3 Logic Must Take Care of Itself

VII.4 Tautologies and Contradictions

VII.5 What is Logic?

VII.6 Logic is the A Priori Essence of Language

VII.7 Logic is the A Priori Essence of Thought

VII.8 Logic is the A Priori Essence of the World

VIII. Wittgenstein and the Tractatus 4: Propositions 5.62–7

VIII.1 Tractarian Solipsism and Tractarian Realism

VIII.2 Tractarian Solipsism

VIII.3 Tractarian Realism

VIII.4 Is the Tractatus’s Point an Ethical One?

VIII.5 The Meaning of Life

VIII.6 Three Basic Worries About the Tractatus

VIII.7 Natural Science and the Worry About the Simplicity of the Objects or Things

VIII.8 Natural Science and the Worry About the Logical Independence of Atomic Facts

VIII.9 Tractarian Mysticism and the Worry About Metaphilosophy

IX. Carnap, The Vienna Circle, Logical Empiricism, and The Great Divide

IX.1 Carnap Before and After the Tractatus

IX.2 Carnap, The Vienna Circle, and The Elimination of Metaphysics

IX.3 The Verifiability Principle and Its Fate

IX.4 The Davos Conference and The Great Divide

X. Wittgenstein and the Investigations 1: Preface, and §§1–27

X.1 From the Tractatus to the Investigations

X.2 The Thesis That Meaning Is Use

X.3 A Map of the Investigations

X.4 The Critique of Pure Reference: What the Builders Did

XI. Wittgenstein and the Investigations 2: §§28–242

XI.1 The Picture Theory and the Vices of Simplicity

XI.2 Wittgenstein’s Argument Against The Picture Theory: A Rational Reconstruction

XI.3 Understanding and Rule-Following

XI.4 Wittgenstein’s Rule-Following Paradox: The Basic Rationale

XI.5 Wittgenstein’s Rule-Following Paradox: A Rational Reconstruction

XI.6 Kripkenstein’s Rule-Following Paradox: Why Read Kripke Too?

XI.7 Kripkenstein’s Rule-Following Paradox: A Rational Reconstruction

XI.8 How to Solve The Paradox: Wittgenstein’s Way and Kripkenstein’s Way

XI.8.1 Wittgenstein and The Rule-Following Paradox: A Rational Reconstruction

XI.8.2 Kripkenstein and The Rule-Following Paradox: A Rational Reconstruction

XII. Wittgenstein and the Investigations 3: §§242–315

XII.1 What is a Private Language?

XII.2 The Private Language Argument: A Rational Reconstruction

XII.3 Is Wittgenstein a Behaviorist? No.

XII.4 Wittgenstein on Meanings, Sensations, and Human Mindedness: A Rational Reconstruction

XIII. Wittgenstein and the Investigations 4: §§316–693 & 174e-232e

XIII.1 Linguistic Phenomenology

XIII.2 Two Kinds of Seeing

XIII.3 Experiencing the Meaning of a Word

XIII.4 The Critique of Logical Analysis, and Logic-As-Grammar

XIV. Coda: Wittgenstein and Kantianism

XIV.1 World-Conformity 1: Kant, Transcendental Idealism, and Empirical Realism

XIV.2 World-Conformity 2: Wittgenstein, Transcendental Solipsism, and Pure Realism

XIV.3 World-Conformity 3: To Forms of Life

XIV.4 The Critique of Self-Alienated Philosophy 1: Kant’s Critical Metaphilosophy

XIV.5 The Critique of Self-Alienated Philosophy 2: Wittgensteinian Analysis as Critique

XV. From Quine to Kripke and Analytic Metaphysics: The Adventures of the Analytic-Synthetic Distinction

XV.1 Two Urban Legends of Post-Empiricism

XV.2 A Very Brief History of The Analytic-Synthetic Distinction

XV.3 Why the Analytic-Synthetic Distinction Really Matters

XV.4 Quine’s Critique of the Analytic-Synthetic Distinction, and a Meta-Critique

XV.5 Three Dogmas of Post-Quineanism

XVI. Analytic Philosophy and The Ash-Heap of History

XVI.1 Husserl’s Crisis and Our Crisis

XVI.2 Why Hasn’t Post-Classical Analytic Philosophy Produced Any Important Ideas in the Last Thirty-Five Years?

XVI.3 On Irad Kimhi’s Thinking and Being, Or, It’s The End Of Analytic Philosophy As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)

XVI.4 Thinking Inside and Outside the Fly-Bottle: The New Poverty of Philosophy and Its Second Copernican Revolution


This installment contains sections II.1 to II.4.

But you can also read or download a .pdf version of the complete book HERE.


II. Classical Analytic Philosophy[i]

II.1 What Classical Analytic Philosophy Is: Two Basic Theses

(i) that all necessary truth is logical truth, which is the same as analytic a priori truth, and that there are no non-logical or non-analytic necessary truths,

which I’ll call the thesis of modal monism, and

(ii) that all a priori knowledge is knowledge of analytic truths and that this knowledge follows directly from the process of analysis,

which I’ll call the thesis of a-priori-knowledge-as-analysis.

II.2 What Classical Analytic Philosophy Officially Isn’t: Its Conflicted Anti-Kantianism

For Kant holds

(i*) that there are two irreducibly different kinds of necessary a priori truth, namely, analytically, conceptually, or logically necessary a priori truths, and non-analytically, non-conceptually, non-logically or synthetically necessary a priori truths,

which I’ll call the thesis of modal dualism, and

(ii*) that a priori knowledge can be directed to either analytically or synthetically necessary a priori truths, but in either case this knowledge stems essentially from a reflective awareness of just those immanent formal or structural elements of representational content that express the spontaneous transcendental activity of the subject in cognitively synthesizing or mentally processing that content, to which the manifestly real world necessarily conforms,

which I’ll call the thesis of a-priori-knowledge-as-self-knowledge-of-transcendental-structure, as per this famous remark in the B Preface of the first Critique:

reason has insight (Einsicht) only into what it itself produces (hervorbringt)according to its own design (Entwurfe). (CPRBxiii)

But the rejection of those two theses by the classical Analytic philosophers must also be fully inflected and qualified by the recognition that classical Analytic philosophy is as much an outgrowth of Kantian and neo-Kantian philosophy as it is a critically negative reaction to it, and also that the development, form, and content of classical (and indeed post-classical) Analytic philosophy are essentially constituted by an ongoing anxiety-of-influence about Kant, together with an ongoing struggle with Kantian ideas, that I’ve called The Kant Wars.[iii]

II.3 Classical Analytic Philosophy Characterized in Simple, Subtler, and Subtlest Ways

Now a subtler characterization records the fact that classical Analytic philosophy

(i) also critically superseded British neo-Hegelianism,[iv] and

(ii) also emerged victorious in a direct philosophical competition with existential phenomenology.[v]

But the subtlest characterization — because it also includes the major contributions of Wittgenstein, as well as the constitutive historico-philosophical fact of The Kant Wars — is that classical Analytic philosophy is essentially the rise and fall of the concept of analyticity.

II.4 Three Kinds of Philosophical Analysis: Decompositional, Transformative, and Conceptual

(i) decompositional analysis, and

(ii) transformative analysis.[vi]

Decompositional analysis is the logical process of

(i.1) decomposing analytic propositions (or corresponding facts) into explanatorily or ontologically atomic, primitive, or simple items (e.g., concepts, intensions, properties, and relations) that are mind-independently real yet also immediately and infallibly apprehended with self-evidence, and then

(i.2) rigorously logically reconstructing those propositions (or facts) by formal deduction from general logical laws and premises that express logical definitional knowledge in terms of the atomic, primitive, or simple constituents.

When decompositional analysis picks out atomic, primitive, or simple items that occur at the same semantic or ontological level as the relevant propositions or facts, then it’s non-informative — e.g.,

Bachelors are unmarried adult males.

But when decompositional analysis provides an explicit representation (aka “the analysans”) that picks out simples that occur at a lower and more basic semantic or ontological level than the thing being analyzed (aka “the analysandum”), then it’s informative — e.g.,

Water is H2O.

By contrast, transformative analysis is the logical process of

(ii.1) reductively explaining one class of propositions, facts, concepts, intensions, or properties, in terms of a distinct and more basic class of propositions, facts, concepts, intensions, or properties,

(ii.2) even if these lower and more basic semantic or ontological items aren’t simples.

Unlike decompositional analysis, transformative or reductive analysis is always informative — e.g.,

Numbers are nothing but sets of all sets whose elements can be put into a bijective (= two-way, symmetric) one-to-one correspondence with one another.

Transformative or reductive analysis, if successful, shows that the higher level items are either strictly identical to or logically supervenient upon some corresponding lower level items.

But there’s also at least one other kind of analysis: conceptual analysis.

Conceptual analysis is critical, creative reasoning using concepts, when it’s specifically addressed to classical or typical philosophical problems.

As such, conceptual analysis also includes the logical process of

(iii.1) non-contingently identifying distinct propositions, facts, concepts, intensions, properties, and relations, and also

(iii.2) non-contingently discriminating between inherently different propositions, facts, concepts, intensions, properties, and relations.

Like decompositional analysis, however, the propositions that record the results of conceptual analysis can be either non-informative, e.g.

(i) Cats live on or near the surface of the Earth,


(ii) Cats don’t grow on trees,

or informative, e.g.,

(iii) Cats are living organisms,


(iv) Dead cats aren’t living cats.

But in both cases, conceptual analysis is non-reductive.

As we shall see, classical Analytic philosophy deploys conceptual analysis at least as much as it utilizes decompositional or transformative analysis.


[ii] See, e.g., A. Pap, Elements of Analytic Philosophy (2nd edn., New York: Hafner, 1972); I. Hacking, Why Does Language Matter to Philosophy? (Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1975); P. French et al. (eds.), The Foundations of Analytic Philosophy (Midwest Studies in Philosophy 6) (Minneapolis, MN: Univ. of Minnesota Press, 1981); E. Tugendhat, Traditional and Analytical Philosophy, trans. P. A. Gorner (Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1982), esp. part I; D. Bell and N. Cooper, N. (eds.), The Analytic Tradition (Oxford: Blackwell, 1990); M. Dummett, Origins of Analytical Philosophy Origins of Analytical Philosophy (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1993); R. Hanna, Kant and the Foundations of Analytic Philosophy (Oxford: Clarendon/Oxford Univ. Press, 2001); S. Soames, Philosophical Analysis in the Twentieth Century (2 vols., Princeton, NJ: Princeton Univ. Press, 2003); and J. Isaac, “The Rise of Analytic Philosophy,” in W. Breckman and P. Gordon (eds.), The Cambridge History of Modern European Thought (Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 2019), also available online at URL = <>.

[3] See R. Hanna, “How To Win The Kant Wars” (September 2019 version), available online HERE; and R. Hanna, “The Three Faces of Kant: Bogeyman, Orthodox, and Radical” (December 2019 version), available online HERE.

[iv] See, e.g., P. Hylton, Russell, Idealism, and the Emergence of Analytic Philosophy (Oxford: Clarendon/Oxford Univ. Press, 1990).

[v] See, e.g., M. Friedman, A Parting of the Ways: Carnap, Cassirer, and Heidegger (La Salle, IL: Open Court, 2000).

[vi] See, e.g., M. Beaney, “Analysis,” The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Summer 2018 Edition), E.N. Zalta (ed.), available online at URL = <>. There’s a broad use of the term “philosophical analysis” that means essentially the same thing as philosophical method or philosophical reasoning. But for the purposes of this book, I’m interested in a narrower use that captures what classical or post-classical Analytic philosophers would typically identify as uniquely characteristic of their kind of philosophizing, in a way that sets them apart from, say, Kantians or neo-Kantians, Hegelians or neo-Hegelians, and existential phenomenologists, and above all from much-derided so-called “Continental” philosophers more generally.


Mr Nemo, W, X, Y, & Z, Tuesday 25 February 2020

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