Carnap and translational indeterminacy

Synthese 105 (1):115 - 121 (1995)
InWord and Object W. V. Quine argues that there is no uniquely correct way to assign referents to the terms of a language; any claim about the reference of a term is implicitly relative to a manual of translation. To Rudolf Carnap this must have seemed familiar. BeforeWord and Object was written Carnap had been saying the same thing inMeaning and Necessity: under the assumption of the method of the name-relation, any claim about the reference of a term is implicitly relative to what Carnap calls a conception of the name-relation. Yet Carnap is often taken to be a victim of Quine's relativistic notion of reference. Drawing on Carnap's discussion of the name-relation inMeaning and Necessity, it is argued that Carnap's and Quine's views on reference are not so far apart as is usually perceived.
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