Definitions, Conventions and Empirical Judgments

Part of the LEP Library of Exact Philosophy book series (LEP, volume 11)


Every judgment we make is either definitional or cognitive. This distinction, as we noted above (§ 8), has only a relative significance in the conceptual or “ideal” sciences. It emerges all the more sharply, however, in the empirical or “real” sciences. In these sciences it has a fundamental importance; and a prime task of epistemology is to make use of this distinction in order to clarify the kinds of validity possessed by various judgments.


Conceptual System Real Fact Exact Science True Judgment Implicit Definition 
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  1. 20.
    An example is E. Dürr (Erkenntnistheorie, p. 81), who rejects the distinction in question “because one and the same judgment can often be made in two ways: the subject concept may be thought of as containing the predicate concept or it may be thought of without the predicate concept.” But anyone who thinks of the predicate concept as being contained in the subject concept is thinking of a different subject concept from the one thought of without the predicate concept. The concept is different in the two cases even if the object designated by means of it is the same. T. Ziehen also attempts to treat the logical distinction psychologically (Erkenntnistheorie, 1913, pp. 408 ff., 559 ff.).Google Scholar
  2. 21.
    Kant puts it this way: “In an analytic judgment, the predicate goes to the concept, in a synthetic judgment it goes to the object of the concept, because the predicate is not contained in the concept.”Google Scholar

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© Springer-Verlag/Wien 1974

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