english philosophy scrapbook

[Audun Solli] analytic and synthetic

Audun Solli: An analytic judgement is for Kant a statement in which no new information or knowledge is contained or presented in the predicated that didn’t already exist in the concept of the subject, like “all mothers are women”. Synthetic judgements, on the other hand, add some information in the predicate that didn’t exist in the concept. E.g. if I say “all chairs are blue”, I thus say something about chairs that is not obtained in the concept of chair. // Descartes would like his “cogito ergo sum” to be synthetic, but the conclusion (I am) is already found in the premise: I think. Cogito results on the principle of contradiction: “I don’t exist” is self-contradictory, “I wouldn’t be able to say that “I didn’t exist”

Kiarina Kordela: Correct, but to be even more precise, we should say: “I think, therefore I am” is an analytiic statement insofar as both “I”s are to be understood as grammatical subjects, as (subjects of the signifiers) As you say, in this case, “I don’t exist” is self-contradictory since “I” wouldn’t be able to say that if “I” didn’t exist [as a grammatical subject]. // When, however, the first “I” is thought at as a grammatical (thinking) subject (i.e., as the subject of the signifier), while the second “I” is thought of as an existential “I” (a living being – not a signifier), thgen the judgement is synthetic – and, of course, not true. And this is one of the ways in which ideology succeeds in passing wrong/untrue statrement as true. For the point is that even though Descartes’ statement is untrue it has had real effects as if it were true: it grounded all secular reason, including the products of the latter, such as science. Everything, from positivism to your computer, exists on the ground of this untrue sttement.

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