2.34 Analytic/Synthetic

Category: Logic and Mathematics

Keywords: posteriori, analytic, naturalism, naturalist, analyticity, empiricism, synthetic, priori, carnap, empiricist, naturalistic, positivism, chalmers, meta, intension

Number of Articles: 191
Percentage of Total: 0.6%
Rank: 79th

Weighted Number of Articles: 259.5
Percentage of Total: 0.8%
Rank: 63rd

Mean Publication Year: 1971.1
Weighted Mean Publication Year: 1967.8
Median Publication Year: 1966
Modal Publication Year: 1949

Topic with Most Overlap: Definitions (0.0437)
Topic this Overlaps Most With: Verification (0.0241)
Topic with Least Overlap: Crime and Punishment (0.00021)
Topic this Overlaps Least With: Population Ethics (0.00047)

A scatterplot showing which proportion of articles each year are in the analytic/synthetictopic. The x-axis shows the year, the y-axis measures the proportion of articles each year in this topic. There is one dot per year. The highest value is in 1949 when 2.5% of articles were in this topic. The lowest value is in 1901 when 0.1% of articles were in this topic. The full table that provides the data for this graph is available in Table A.34 in Appendix A.

Figure 2.84: Analytic/synthetic.

A set of twelve scatterplots showing the proportion of articles in each journal in each year that are in the Analytic/Synthetictopic. There is one scatterplot for each of the twelve journals that are the focus of this book. In each scatterplot, the x-axis is the year, and the y-axis is the proportion of articles in that year in that journal in this topic. Here are the average values for each of the twelve scatterplots - these tell you on average how much of the journal is dedicated to this topic. Mind - 0.6%. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society - 0.7%. Ethics - 0.2%. Philosophical Review - 0.8%. Analysis - 1.0%. Philosophy and Public Affairs - 0.0%. Journal of Philosophy - 1.1%. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research - 1.1%. Philosophy of Science - 0.8%. Noûs - 0.7%. The Philosophical Quarterly - 0.7%. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science - 0.9%. The topic reaches its zenith in year 1949 when it makes up, on average across the journals, 2.2% of the articles. And it hits a minimum in year 1901 when it makes up, on average across the journals, 0.0% of the articles.

Figure 2.85: Analytic/synthetic articles in each journal.

Table 2.73: Characteristic articles of the analytic/synthetic topic.
Table 2.74: Highly cited articles in the analytic/synthetic topic.


A very small topic on the analytic/synthetic distinction. It’s small because so many of the papers that one might have thought would end up in here are instead in radical translation, which is all about Quinean philosophy of language. What we get here instead is a combination of four overlapping discussion threads.

  • A handful of early, Kant-influenced works.
  • A much larger number of works in or about positivism, with Carnap as the primary figure.
  • The distinction between two kinds of analyticity introduced by Boghossian.
  • Works in or about the Canberra plan, with Jackson and especially Chalmers as the central figures.

The second of those is the largest, which is why this topic is turning up so early in the story. But the latter two are sizable as well, which is why this is turning up much later than the discussions of definitions or of verification.