1.1.1 Analytic and Synthetic

.
1.1.1 Analytic and Synthetic

Mathematics is about statements.
.

.
To know what mathematics itself is, we have to realize that there are two kinds of statements: analytic statements and synthetic statements.

For an analytic statement, there is no information about the objective world. Whether an analytic statement is true or not depends on only the meanings of the component words. No real world experience is needed.

For a synthetic statement, there is some information about the objective world. Whether a synthetic statement is true or not depends on not only the meaning of the component words, but also the objective facts of the world.

.

.

For example, consider this statement

I have passed the exam or I have not.
.

It is an analytic statement … because you do not have to check my examination result to verify the statement. As long as you know the meanings of “or” and “not”, you know that the statement is always true. But it says nothing about the world.
.

.

Consider another statement:

I have passed the exam.

.
It is a synthetic statement … because you have to check my examination result to verify the statement. Even if you know the meanings of “or” and “not”, you do not know whether the statement is true or not. But the statement says something about the world.

.

.

.

2008.05.08 Thursday copyright CHK^2