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The Analytic/Synthetic Distinction

[Revised entry by Georges Rey on October 12, 2017. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography, notes.html] An "analytic" sentence, such as "Ophthalmologists are doctors," has historically been
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[Revised entry by Georges Rey on October 12, 2017. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography, notes.html] An "analytic" sentence, such as "Ophthalmologists are doctors," has historically been characterized as one whose truth depends upon the meanings of its constituent terms (and how they're combined) alone, as opposed to a more usual "synthetic" sentence, such as "Ophthalmologists are rich," whose truth depends also upon the facts about the world that the sentence represents, e.g., that ophthalmologists are rich. This is sometimes called the "metaphysical"...

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News source: Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

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