Skip to main content

Publication Details

Notion, Analytical, and Synthetical Expressions

(Original title: Pojem, analytické a syntetické výroky)
Filozofia, 25 (1970), 3, 228-238.
Type of work: Papers and Discussions
Publication language: Slovak
The problem of analytical and synthetical judgements is not only a question of classification and of its adequacy but is a complex problem that touches the basic categories of the theory knowledge. Kant’s distinction of the analytical and synthetical statements links with his conception of the apriori and aposteriori aspects of knowledge. Kant elaborated a problem that was set forth in a different form and context by Aristotle, Leibniz and Hume. It was the problem of the absolute (necessary) truth and of the contingent (probable) truth. Kant’s starting points result from the metaphysical assumptions affected by the traditional German rationalism that understands notion as an over-subjective trancendental element of knowledge. But if notion is understood as a stage, i. e. as a relative end of knowledge, these is an articulated psychological element that makes the quality of analytical and synthetic statements relative. Providing an acomplished omniscient spirit existed all his statements would be analytical. An analysis of thought may be related only to notions as elements of knowledge. Analytical expressions that are the result of the analysis of logical subjects are actually reflections and do not enrich the content of our knowledge. The validity of analytical expressions is verified by logical means and their basis are the so called logical laws. The exactness of drawing a line between the analytical and synthetical statements is weakened by diverse criterias. First of all, the psychological factor in the notion content, makes the dividing line very relative. A decisive role is also played by the whole epistemological orientation that sets all problems in a characteristic light. Rationalism assumes the uniformity of human reason, notions, and analytical proceedures. Further some authors protest that this classification is not complete as there are expressions that are neither analytical nor synthetical. Or they may be both analytical and synthetical at the same time. The distinction between the analytical and synthetical statements is of a practical significance but its full meaning lies only in their linking with the whole epistemological orientation and theory. The initial conception of notion, its origin, structure, and function is the fundamental question. The absolute analyticity and syntheticity are idealised aspects that do not appear in actual knowledge in this form. Analyticity as human theoretical activity is not a metaphysical, inborn quality of human intellect but a capacity depending on general cultural development.
File to download: PDF