more from David M. Armstrong

Single Idea 17663

[catalogued under 1. Philosophy / F. Analytic Philosophy / 7. Limitations of Analysis]

Full Idea

Paradox of Analysis:if we ask what sort of thing an X is, then either we know what an X is or we do not. If we know then there is no need to ask the question. If we do not know then there is no way to begin the investigation. It's pointless or impossible

Gist of Idea

If you know what it is, investigation is pointless. If you don't, investigation is impossible


David M. Armstrong (What is a Law of Nature? [1983], 01.2)

Book Reference

Armstrong,D.M.: 'What is a Law of Nature?' [CUP 1985], p.5

A Reaction

[G.E. Moore is the source of this, somewhere] Plato worried that to get to know something you must already know it. Solving this requires the concept of a 'benign' circularity.

Related Ideas

Idea 2091 Without distinguishing marks, how do I know what my beliefs are about? [Plato]

Idea 9163 If we only use induction to assess induction, it is empirically indefeasible, and hence a priori [Field,H]

Idea 17082 Paradox: why do you analyse if you know it, and how do you analyse if you don't? [Ruben]