Friday, October 26, 2007

Williamson's Chapter 3

Williamson claims that because philosophical questions are more conceptual in nature then questions in other disciplines an armchair methodology is necessary because it concerns truths that are less substantial and less world- involving.

1. Philosophical questions are more conceptual in nature then questions in other disciplines.

Because philosophical questions are not about the world but rather about concepts Williamson claims that at the central core of philosophy are conceptual truths. Because analytical truths are also not about words and are also less world- involving Williamson uses the words conceptual truths and analytical truths interchangeably.

2. Analytic truths are not about words or concepts even if words or concepts play a role in the truth.

3. So, philosophy has a central core of conceptual/ analytical truths

4. So, from (2) and (3) Philosophy is not in itself linguistic or conceptual

5. If philosophical truths are analytic then some have features of words or concepts without describing words or concepts.

Williamson wants to know weather the fact that philosophical truths are conceptual or analytic justifies the conceptual or linguistic turn.

Williamson claims that analytic sentences are true in virtue of their meaning, and analytic thoughts are true in virtue of their constituent concepts. Their truth is independent of the world, even the parts which consists of words and concepts. If this is the case then we needn’t get up from the arm chair to investigate them.

6. If every true sentence is true in virtue of both its meaning and how things are then analytic and synthetic truths are not true in radically different ways, this means that there is a component of analytic truths that relies on how things are in the world.

7. We cannot investigate synthetic truths from the armchair

8. If we take the linguistic or conceptual turn then philosophy itself is linguistic or conceptual.

9. From (4) and (8) we should not take the linguistic or conceptual turn.

I know I’m missing parts of his argument but I was trying to get the big picture, it seems as though if we take the definition of analytic to be the same as conceptual Williamson runs into problems but there is also the huge problem of defining analytic, at the end of it I’m not sure which result Williamson wants.

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