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This is my second class where I've had to read Quine's 'Two Dogmas of
Empiricism', and about the twentieth time I've read it. It gets better and
better every time. Likewise, with Grice and Strawson's 'In Defense of a Dogma';
this paper, unfortunately, does not become nearly as satisfying the more I read
it. Most especially the conclusion offered up near the end of the paper. The
analytic-synthetic distinction has, on my understanding, been primarily a way
for philosophers to carve up knowledge. When Grice and Strawson suggest that the
distinction could admit to 'cases' in which a change in truth-value represents a
"conceptual revision" isn't the case, and thus the distinction is not important,
seems to miss this primary point of the distinction. If it is the case that the
ignorance of the sciences does not necessarily have to admit to the distinction,
then perhaps the distinction is not doing the proper work we wanted of it in the
first place. It seems that a large portion of contemporary metaphysics places
huge emphasis on the power of our best scientific theories to properly and
adequately characterize truth. If it is the case that our scientific theories
cannot wholly rely on the analytic-synthetic distinction, then what good is our
distinction if we want to keep our science?


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