Changing the Subject: Quine, Putnam and Waismann on Meaning-Change, Logic, and Analyticity

  • Stewart ShapiroEmail author
Part of the Outstanding Contributions to Logic book series (OCTR, volume 9)


Hilary Putnam’s views on analyticity, synonymy, and meaning-change loom large in his writing on logic, mathematics, and science. In “The analytic and the synthetic” (Scientific explanation, space, and time, Minnesota studies in the philosophy of science. University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis, pp. 358–397, 1962), Putnam argues that (i) Quine is wrong in claiming that there just is no analytic-synthetic distinction, but (ii) Quine is right in arguing that analyticity plays no significant role in the philosophy or science (except, perhaps, linguistics). In some interesting ways, Putnam’s views on these matters connect with those developed in Friedrich Waismann’s “Analytic-synthetic”, published serially in Analysis (Analysis 10:25–40, [1949], Analysis 11:25–38, [1950], Analysis 11:49–61, [1951a], Analysis 11:115–124, [1951b], Analysis 13:1–4, [1952], Analysis 13:73–89, [1953]), around the same period as Quine’s “Two dogmas of empiricism” (Philosophical Review 60:20–43, 1951). Waismann provides a rich and subtle conception of analyticity and meaning, and the role that analyticity and synonymy play in linguistic interpretation (see also Waismann in Proceedings of theAristotelian Society, Supplementary 19:119–150, [1945]).


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The Ohio State UniversityColumbusUSA

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