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Generally, the analytic a priori according to Kant is taken to be empty, tautological, unremarkable. The stock example is 'all bachelors are unmarried' or 'all triangles have three sides,' in other words, truisms. But is it not true that analytic a priori propositions have a far more prominent role in the system of human knowledge? When we say 'water will boil at 100 degrees,' are we not making an analytic claim (the concept water containing within it the necessary characteristic of boiling when heated to 100 degrees)? Or when a biologist makes use of classes such as genus and species (man is an animal), is this not analytic a priori as a useful proposition?

  • Forget this question. It was poorly formed. It's clear to me now that 'water will boil at 100 degrees' involves both empirical and a priori representations, i.e. it is something like a mixture of the two syntheses. The standard for analytic a priori is non-contradiction: it would not be contradictory (but incorrect) to say that water boils at 101 degrees, or that the sun will not rise tomorrow. (We know this well from Hume.) – WolandBarthes Jul 7 '18 at 1:14
  • The standard for analytic a priori is something that is true by definition, meaning it has to do with the actual words being used, and that it can be known just by reasoning alone, which is why "bachelors are unmarried" is usually given as the modern example. I don't think saying that the standard for it is "non-contradiction" is correct, that seems too vague. – Not_Here Jul 7 '18 at 1:18
  • But this seems to me to also be a bit vague, because we must now ask: what is the definition of a thing? The dictionary definition? Which dictionary? Popular opinion, the definitions of common sense? – WolandBarthes Jul 7 '18 at 1:49
  • Yes, welcome to the philosophy of language. You should check out Quine's Two Dogmas of Empiricism. My point in that comment was that whether or not people agree analytic statements exist, they agree that the standard definition is "true by definition of the words used" or really the logical form of the sentence itself, not that it's a 'non contradictory' statement. – Not_Here Jul 7 '18 at 1:55
  • That makes sense; it reminds me somewhat of Leibniz, who had he seen it would have likely also criticized Kant's distinction of analytic a priori and synthetic a priori. But nevertheless, is there such a thing as an analytic proposition (according to Kant) whose contrary we can conceive? – WolandBarthes Jul 7 '18 at 2:11

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