Reconsidering a Dogma: Conceptual Analysis, the Naturalistic Turn, and Legal Philosophy

LAW AND PHILOSOPHY: CURRENT LEGAL ISSUES, Ross Harrison, ed., Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008

23 Pages Posted: 21 Dec 2006 Last revised: 12 Oct 2008

Kenneth Einar Himma

University of Washington - School of Law

Abstract

Quine's argument that there is no non-circular way to explicate the notion of analyticity, together with his observation that any claim can be revised in the face of recalcitrant experience, is thought by many philosophers to have conclusively refuted traditional views about conceptual analysis and metaphysics. In this essay, I consider what I take to be the major arguments against the possibility of doing conceptual analysis as traditionally conceived. In particular, I consider (1) the denial of the distinction between analytic and synthetic statements; (2) recent research on the fallibility of ordinary intuitions; (3) the idea that all claims are revisable in the face of recalcitrant experience; and (4) the claim that even putatively conceptual claim are contingent in character. I argue that these arguments are all vulnerable to serious objections; the matter is not at all as straightforward as some philosophers seem to believe. Although the counterarguments presented below are probably not conclusive, they show that much more work is needed to succeed in showing that philosophy needs to be naturalized.

Keywords: naturalism, conceptual analysis, legal philosophy, analyticity, Quine, Leiter

Suggested Citation

Himma, Kenneth Einar, Reconsidering a Dogma: Conceptual Analysis, the Naturalistic Turn, and Legal Philosophy. LAW AND PHILOSOPHY: CURRENT LEGAL ISSUES, Ross Harrison, ed., Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=952910

Kenneth Einar Himma (Contact Author)

University of Washington - School of Law ( email )

William Gates Hall
Box 353020
Seattle, WA 98195-3020
United States
206-543-4550 (Phone)

Paper statistics

Downloads
349
Rank
68,931
Abstract Views
1,356