In his book Philosophical Analysis in the Twentieth Century, Volume 1 : The Dawn of Analysis Scott Soames (pp 360-361) has pointed out that Quine's circularity argument needs two of the logical positivists' central theses to be effective:Upon reading this, I had two thoughts in quick succession, and wouldn't you know, they're in tension with each other. The first one was: I hardly think the defenders of analyticity (that is, those who, like our friend N. N., see Quine's attack as threatening the philosophical project of conceptual analysis, whether or not they see the latter as constitutive of philosophy itself), or anyone else unimpressed by Kripke for that matter, should welcome criticism of Quine's argument along these lines. I can't see any such philosopher saying: "see, you can too have analyticity – all you have to do is explain it in terms of an independently established notion of metaphysical necessity!" Surely the whole point of "conceptual analysis" was to put "metaphysics" out of business. So, no help there, right?All necessary (and all a priori) truths are analytic.It is only when these two theses are accepted that Quine's argument holds. It is not a problem that the notion of necessity is presupposed by the notion of analyticity if necessity can be explained without analyticity. According to Soames, both theses were accepted by most philosophers when Quine published Two Dogmas. Today however, Soames holds both statements to be antiquated.
Analyticity is needed to explain and legitimate necessity.
The second thought I had was this. Of course the contemporary naturalist/empiricist line of thought, in which "Two Dogmas" was an important early move, is also determined to put metaphysics out of business. But in so doing, it seems to assimilate philosophy into the empirical sciences, not as itself an empirical discipline, but as concerned solely with making sure that science dots the i's and crosses the t's in the proper way (once out of the lab and writing up the results). So if you put all of your anti-metaphysical eggs into the naturalist basket, by rejecting the distinction underlying the competing strategy of conceptual analysis, that means that when the naturalists (if not the empiricists) then turn around and reinstate metaphysics, you have no recourse.
Naturally they'll put a doily on that monstrosity by calling it a "scientific" metaphysics (whatever that means); but when it's accompanied, even justified, by a swipe at "linguistic philosophy" for neglecting metaphysics – well, that's going to be pretty galling. The reason my two thoughts are in (mild) tension with each other is that while the first implies that Soames's criticism of the argument of "Two Dogmas" is of no help to the linguistic analyst, the second thought leads to a different conclusion. For now that philosopher can resist the naturalistic line of thought right at the beginning: if the point of "Two Dogmas" was to deprive metaphysical pseudo-inquiry of the purely non-empirical conceptual space in which it was supposed to operate, well then the naturalistic revival of metaphysics shows that it failed to follow through on its promises. This means that (given the original choice between naturalism and conceptual analysis) as far as unmasking metaphysics as nonsense is concerned, the linguistic strategy is the only game in town after all.
These (quick) thoughts, you will notice, elided two complications, which I should at least mention. First, I exempted properly empiricist naturalism from the accusation of reversion to metaphysics. But it's not clear to me that they will be able to fend off such accusations when coming from fellow naturalists. (My own objections to these positions are of another order entirely, so when naturalists trade accusations of "reversion to/neglect of metaphysics," I don't need to take sides.) For the second elision, let's return to Wikipedia's article:
In "'Two Dogmas' revisited", Hilary Putnam argues that Quine is attacking two different notions. Analytic truth defined as a true statement derivable from a tautology by putting synonyms for synonyms [is] near Kant's account of analytic truth as a truth whose negation is a contradistinction. Analytic truth defined as a truth confirmed no matter what[,] however, is closer to one of the traditional accounts of a prioricity. While the first four sections of Quine's paper concern analyticity, the last two concern a priority. Putnam considers the argument in the two last sections as independent of the first four, and at the same time as Putnam criticizes Quine, he also emphasizes his historical importance as the first top rank philosopher to both reject the notion of apriority and sketch a methodology without it.It does seem that the a priori, rather than analyticity, is the key notion here, and perhaps the defenders of Grice and Strawson would like to argue that the way to debunk the former (as I think we may construe their project) is to keep the latter rather than running the two together and discarding both.