analytic and synthetic

analytic and synthetic

(PHILOSOPHY) the distinction drawn between two types of statement or propositions:
  1. those which are true by virtue of the meanings of the terms they contain (e.g. ‘all clergymen are male’) – analytic, or logically necessary truths;
  2. those which are true or false only by virtue of their empirical content, and not logically implied by the meanings of the terms the statement contains (e.g. the statement which may or may not be true: that ‘50% of clergymen like ice-cream’) -synthetic, contingent, or purely ‘empirical’ statements.

Often the distinction between the two kinds of statement has been regarded as one that admits of no exceptions. Some philosophers, however, notably Quine, have challenged this assumption, suggesting among other things that the distinction rests on unwarranted assumptions about consistency in the meanings of terms (see also DUHEM-QUINE THESIS).

In practice, in sociology, as in physical science, the production of knowledge involves both the formal definition of concepts, and statements of the logical relation between these, as well as the empirical testing of these relations. Theory and research in sociology moves between one and the other, with concepts being restated as the result of‘empirical’ evidence, and the framing and interpretation of empirical evidence being altered as the outcome of changes in conceptualizations. It remains important to try to be clear when any additions to knowledge proposed depend mainly on the logical extension of an established conceptual scheme, or when these arise more from new empirical evidence. But that both of these processes can be important in the development of knowledge must be recognized, and a hard-and-fast distinction between the two realms is not one that can be sustained.


References in periodicals archive ?
The theory gains more power when the simple and complex are crossed with the analytic and synthetic to produce analytic and synthetic simplicity.
The distinctions between a priori and a posteriori, analytic and synthetic, concern the ground for making the judgment.
The same cognitive process gives rise to both analytic and synthetic metaphors: an analytic metaphor activates mostly culturally shared meaning constituents, and a synthetic metaphor evokes largely individualistic meaning constituents like personal experiences.
It recommends that instruction in phonological awareness begin with easier tasks and move toward difficult tasks, that it should be a regular part of the curriculum, and that instruction should involve both analytic and synthetic activities.
Tracing his moves from Barcelona to Paris to Valluaris, we observe his progression through the Blue and Rose Periods, the simplification of form in his Classic Period, and his investigation of Analytic and Synthetic Cubism.
Cavendish plans to conduct analytic and synthetic chemistry research that can be utilized by the CIHR research program.
Although all such analytic and synthetic theorizings aim at attaining truth, the way they operate makes it impossible for them to achieve their goal.
Instead, theorizing that obtains truth and realizes the good would be analytic and synthetic at once.
Modern theorists who argue for the primacy of quantitative data over qualitative data have made a mistake made by Kant more than 300 years ago, that of the distinction between analytic and synthetic truths.
The need to separate these two kinds of ground from each other marks according to Henrich the beginning of a crisis in Kant's thought that ultimately will only be resolved with the introduction of a distinction between analytic and synthetic judgments.
They are virtually always present where there is mention of the distinction between analytic and synthetic method.
The difference between (a priori) constructed concepts and given concepts is subsequently again connected by Kant with that between analytic and synthetic definitions: