UCL Working Papers in Linguistics 13 (2001)

Psychosemantic analyticity



It is widely agreed that the content of a logical concept such as AND is constituted by the inferences it enters into. I argue that it is impossible to draw a principled distinction between logical and non-logical concepts, and hence that the content of non-logical concepts can also be constituted by certain of their inferential relations. The traditional problem with such a view has been that, given Quine’s arguments against the analytic-synthetic distinction, there does not seem to be any way to distinguish between those inferences that are content constitutive and those that are not. I propose that such a distinction can be drawn by appealing to a notion of ‘psychosemantic analyticity’. This approach is immune to Quine’s arguments, since psychosemantic analyticity is a psychological property, and it is thus an empirical question which inferences have this property.

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