Kripke and Quine argue both for 2 different ideas (about which I will write shortly) but their objectives are common - to say something about the nature of sentences. Yet, It seems to me like they don't share the same assumptions. I will try to explain:


In "naming and necessity" Kripke claims that some sentences will remain true in every counterfactual world. "2+2=4", is an accepted example, but he claims that the same is correct for sentences like "water is H2O". I won't get into details, but I will mention that the truth of this conclusion can be only established if we assume the existence of common language in our world and in the counter factual world. If we didn't use the same language in both worlds then "2+2=4" could have had different meanings in each of them (Kripke himself writes it somewhere, if I remember correctly). Therefore we can say that - Kripke's conclusion about the existence of necessary a posteriori sentences is true only under the limitation of a given common and specific language.


In "Two Dogmas of Empiricism" Quine claims that analyticity cannot be defined whatsoever. In order to show it he draws some kinds of attempts to reduce analyticity, and shows that they all fail. One of his suggestions is seeing a dictionary definition as an analytic truth. It seems to be possible, but Quine says that the work of the lexicographer who writes the dictionary is an empirical work. When he defines a "bachelor" as an "unmarried man", he doesn't do it on some analytic grounds, but on the grounds of his experience of language use among his co-speakers. The definition, therefore, is a posteriori and hence is not analytic. It seems to me that Quine, here, suggests that while defining analyticity we should not limit ourselves to the scope of a specific language. If we did so, then a dictionary definition could have been satisfied as an analytic truth of an examined language.

If I'm not mistaken, then, It seems that both Quine and Kripke try to say something about similar entities (sentences), and have two discussions of the same "depth", but they don't speak from within the same scope, and don't hold the same "axioms" or assumptions when trying to present their arguments.

Am I correct about it? If so - How can we define the scope of discussion in philosophy, and how should we relate to Quine's and Kripke's arguments knowing that they don't share common grounds? Is it possible that one argument should assume more than the other, and still both will come to conclusions that are in the same "level" of depth?

  • You have to take into account to features of Quine's thought : his rejectio of modal concepts, and thus of all "tools" involving possible worlds and his Naturalism according to which all "knowledge" (including logic and math) is empirically based. – Mauro ALLEGRANZA Oct 24 '16 at 11:15
  • @MauroALLEGRANZA, what does it tell me? Do Quine and Kripke disagree with each other? In Which way then? I'm trying to understand the relation between their both views? are they contradicting each other? Is Kripke in some way dismissing Quine's discoveries? By what explanation? – Amit Hagin Feb 18 '17 at 15:59

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