Definition of
   a priori






Analysis is a term that are often discussed within philosophy and then by using several denotions. Examples are partitioning, dissolution, dissociation, disjunction, extraction, deconstruction, deduction, demonstration, injection, concretization, exemplification, and subtraction.

An analysis implies an argument where the premise, or starting point, is a composite concept from which one or some parts are isolated into the conclusion.

As the original synthesis was formed from related premises, the conclusion of an analysis becomes related to the premise.


My definition of analysis:

To perform an analysis implies to actualize or bring into consciousness a concept, the premise, and one or some of the earlier formed association paths that created it.


This is in accordance with some earlier definitions, e.g.:

the discovery of the constituents and the manner of combination of a given complex.

Russell B (1913) Theory of Knowledge s.119

The resolution into their elements, as a philosophical procedure, of complex things, facts, propositions, and concepts.

Oxford English Dictionary 2Ed, 1989, term: Analysis

Analysis is one of the brain's fundamental processes and we are constantly performing analyses without always being aware of it.


The premise


The premise of the analysis is composite because it consists of a conclusion of an earlier performed synthesis. As the premises of every synthesis are ultimately based on perception, this is also the case for the premises of an analysis.

A difficulty during analysis is that the premise must be carefully specified in order to be objectively credible.


But, especially when the premise is heavily abstracted, it becomes difficult to determine which perceptions and previous conclusions that actually are included in them.

The premise is therfore often vague, and the resolution becomes correspondingly insecure, as is illustrated in the example Analysis by soldier and philosopher, below.



Reasoning without credible premises


A hypothesis without credible premises claimed around 1970 that the Beatles member Paul McCartney was dead.

The premises consisted of interpretations of the groups' record covers. One example was the cover of the record "Abbey Road" (see above), where McCartney was barefoot. People were claimed always to be buried barefoot and McCartney should hence be dead and buried.

Brian Moriarty has later given a talk about this myth 1999 [Moriarty].


I guess that this initially was presented as a joke (or maybe as promotion of the band), i.e. as a hypothesis about that it was possible to make such an interpretation /analysis/.

A group of people then began to believe in the hypothesis and then reinforced each other's opinions.

Denial of the joke was, by the group, interpreted as an attempt to hide the truth, as a conspiracy.

But the conspiracy actually consisted by the initial hypothesis and the support of it, and not by the denial of it.


Premise and conclusion


The premise is never a priori

As seen above, the premise is formed by synthesis of phenomena less adjacent to perception. At the page of synthesis, Such synthesis may never form anything else than probability arguments, as


The conclusion

The conclusion consists of a part of the premise and is hence less composite than it is. It implies one, or some, of the perceptions or concepts that formed the premise of the analysis.


Premise or conclusion

The premise of a certain analysis may be the conclusion of an alternate analysis. This is common when concepts that are analysed have been synthesized from similar premises.

The difference between the analyses is created by which concept we first focused on.

Below of the concepts "drunk" and "bad car driver" are investigated using the definition of analysis:

"Drunk" consists of a part of the concept "Bad driver".

"Bad driver" consists of a part of the concept "Drunk".


How is the brain performing analysis?


I view analysis of a concept as reversed synthesis and that the premise of the analysis is formed by a network of association paths.

It is generally accepted that the brain during synthesis forms connections, or association paths, between related perceptions and concepts.

It then becomes plausible that the brain during analysis finds and follows these paths and actualises some of the perceptions and concepts that it finds.

The brain finds what it searches because all concepts, i.e. all association paths, are directly or indirectly connected. The search is hence performed through a mixture of syntheses and analyses.


When the premise is the concept "apple" it seems reasonable that the brain search for connections including small, round, edible objects, or maybe with childhood memories of apple trees. It will probably not pay too much attention to e.g. bicycles and vehicles.

It then refines the search and then finds the earlier created network of association paths that forms the premise "apple". There it finds the related concepts that constitute possible conclusions of the analysis. And the brain probably prefers the most distinct connections.

The image that illustrates synthesis hence also is suitable for analysis. The brain finds the part of the network that forms the composite concept (red), and follows the association paths to the less composite concepts or perceptions that builds it.

Representation of a minute brain



Analysis of Flash and Thunder

In the Germanic and Viking mythology flash and thunder were analysed /explained, interpreted/ into concepts they had experienced from.

Flashes and rumbling were seen and heard in the forge when they hit their hammers on metal, As thunder is very loud, it has to be a very strong "blacksmith" - the god Donar or Tor - that hit the clouds using his überhammer.

The analysis hence progressed from the premise to concepts that were familiar to the Vikings.


Analysis by soldier and philosopher

If the premise of the analysis is a sudden and loud sound, the brain analyses this by searching for memories of similar sounds and after the association paths to memories that formed such paths.

A soldier may analyse the sound to rifle shots, while a philosopher may form the conclusion that a book has fallen from the desk.

The soldier's analysis may, as an example, be expressed as a syllogism:

/premise 1/ A sudden and loud sound comes from a rifle.
/premise2 / I hear a sudden and loud sound.
/conclusion/ I hear the sound of a rifle.


Analysis of Happy

Socrates is happy

The phrase expresses that Socrates experience a feeling that we also know about.

The term "happy" implies a composite and abstracted concept that is not well defined. It is ultimately formed from perceptions, and during analysis we find some of the association paths that created our concept "lucky".

For example the alternatives "safe with my parents", "among good friends" and "being in love" may early rise in our mind.

This is further discussed at the page Interpretation.


The dog's analysis

Analysis is considered to be very "philosophical" but, opposing this view, the syllogism below describes the reasoning of a dog (Me) that sees the dog Laiko:

/premise 1/ Me want to greet all dogs.
/premise 2/ Laiko is a dog.
/conclusion/ Me want to greet Laiko.



Isaac Newton told that he realised the concept gravitation stimulated by that an apple fell when he sat and contemplated under an apple tree [White].


Analysis may create new association


As stated above, the conclusion of an analysis implies one or some of the premises in the synthesis that formed the analysis' premise.

Hence the premises in the previous synthesis and the association paths already must have been known when the analysis was commenced.

Logicians therefore propose that strict logic and analysis cannot give new information, or "new knowledge". This is in accordance with one of the main messages of this website: All new knowledge is ultimately created from perception.


Syllogistic reasoning remains incapable of adding anything to the data that are given it; the data are reduced to axioms, and that is all we should find in the conclusions.

Poincaré 1905 - Science and hypothesis, Walter Scott Publ. p.2.

This is correct in case analysis would follow strict logic and hence imply tautologies. But our brain does not always follow such logic which is discussed at the page Thinking.

Analysis may hence create association paths that are not found through synthesis, and we experience the result as pure phantasy, analogy, creative thought, or as new knowledge.

The image shows a farfetched association between giraffe and brush. The association was created through analysis of the concept "giraffe" and the analysis result then could be synthesised with the brush.

Strict tautology is not analysis


In order to connect the discussion above with the logicians' discussions about tautologies, the most simple logic relation, a tautology similar to A=A, is used:

"an apple is an apple".

The phrase actually describes three different relations - two strict tautologies and one that is only apparent:

1: Strict relation between concepts

The tautology may express a relation between concepts. The copula, i.e. the connecting term, "is", is below for clarity expressed as "is identical with":

The concept "an apple" IS IDENTICAL WITH the concept "an apple".

The strict tautology above does not result in new information because the two terms in the relation contains exactly the same information.

2: Strict relation between particulars

The tautology may also express a relation between perceptions of a phenomenon.

The term "an apple" and the copula is clarified below:

The object "this apple" IS IDENTICAL WITH the object "this apple"

In similarity with the previous tautology, this phrase does not result in new information.


3: Apparent tautology - analysis

When only a part of the premise, or starting point, is used in the conclusion, the tautology is not strict but only apparent. The copula "is" here does not read "is identical with".

The relation "an apple is an apple" now expresses what, on this website, is called an analysis, and does not imply a tautology:

The object "this apple" CONSISTS OF A PART OF THE CONCEPT "apple".

The relation expresses that the item that we right now perceives share many of the properties that together has created our concept "apple".

The concept "apple" implies a small, round, edible, fresh etc. object, and the analysis may follow association paths to various subordinate concepts, or to various objects created by round, edible, fresh etc. objects that are not at all related to the original apple.

Such analysis leads to the fantastic flexibility of our thinking, including creativity and fantasy.


Hypothetic-deductive method


In the best of worlds, this "method" implies that a "hypothesis" is expressed. Then all possible consequences of this is investigated and it controlled whether:

- They are in accordance with observations.

- That no exception has been found.


Example: Imposter

An imposter's argument according to hypothetic-deductive method:

/Hypothesis/ I am honest and all money given to me I will donate to the poor.

/Deduction/ You may safely give me of your money.



Within parts of the academic world, problems arise when it is claimed that reasoning is possible to accomplish according to what is called the hypothetic-deductive, or hypothetic-analytic, method.

The problems are due to that the premise of the argument, i.e. the hypothesis or the starting point, implies a concept.


Like all other concepts it is ultimately formed through a synthesis of premises that have been created through perception, through arguments based on perception, or through arguments based on conclusions from earlier arguments (and hence ultimately are based on perception).

The premise is hence always ultimately based on perception, and this is not any breaking news:

Aristotle supposes that once we have gained scientific understanding, we are in a position to package our results in tidy demonstrations.

He does not think, as he is sometimes parodied as maintaining, that science proceeds by manufacturing demonstrations out of thin air, or without observation or investigation.

Rather, the demonstrations he puts forwards as canonical science are the polished results of investigation, made perspicuous by conforming to simple patterns of logical inference.

Shields 2007 - Aristotle, s.116-117

Terming this as "method" avoids reflections that actually were necessary concerning the credibility of the premise.

Use of the "method" raises a warning flag for internal confirmation bias, self-affirmation, and what may be called a collective filter bubble [Pariser]: that a group exclusively discusses their own preconceived opinions.

In order to avoid the erroneous belief that the hypothesis in some manner is automatically ensured or established, a correct argument should be called "synthetic-hypothetic-analytic" method, or alternatively "inductive-hypothetic-deductive" method.

This gives a reminder about that the hypothesis - the basal premise of the argument - should be credible.



A problem for a group that assumes a hypothesis with vaguely defined premises is that most hypotheses may be confirmed or falsified using selective fact collection.

When the group discusses their founding hypothesis their members exclusively look after verifications: And as the goal is already set it is easy to finds roads leading to it. The arguments feeding the myth of Paul McCartney, above, are a clear example of this.

Another problem is created by that only a few consequences of the founding hypothesis are assumed to verify its credibility.

But these consequences may often be created equally well by another founding hypothesis, both hypotheses have the same "empirical equivalence". The connection between cause and effect is experienced as credible, but is solely created by repeated verifications of the connection during various circumstances and during circumstances when it is absent.

Moriarty B (1999) YouTube
Pariser E (2011) The Filter Bubble, What the Internet is Hiding from You, p.10.
White M (1997) Isaac Newton The Last Sorcerer, ch.5.
White refers among others to William Stukeley (1752).