Does epistemological holism lead to meaning holism?

Topoi 21 (1-2):25-45 (2002)
There are various proposals for a general characterization of holism1. In this paper I propose the following: a variety of holism is the view that every X of an appropriate kind, which is part of a relevant whole W, cannot be legitimately separated or taken in isolation from W. Then, I distinguish two general kinds of holism, depending on two different reasons which can debar us from taking X in isolation from W. One reason can be that separating X from W always amounts to transforming X into something else. Correspondingly, a strong holism is the view that if the whole W is modified anywhere, X ceases to be X and becomes something else. Another reason why it may be illegitimate to consider X in isolation from W can be that if we separate X from W, nothing that we know entitles us to exclude that X might be transformed into something else. Correspondingly, virtual holism is the view that if the whole W is modified anywhere, we can never rule out that X ceases to be X and becomes something else.
Keywords Epistemology  Holism  Language  Meaning
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