Semantic indeterminacy and the realist stance

Erkenntnis 37 (3):281 - 308 (1992)
Abstract
Semantic Indeterminacy and Scientific Realism are perhaps the two most ubiquitous and influential doctrines of the Quinean corpus. My concern is to argue against neither in isolation, but against their joint compatibility. Scientific Realism, I argue, when understood as Quine's realistic attitude toward the posits of physical theory, is essentially intentional in character. Thus, Realism requires Intentionality. In Section 1, I provide some necessary exegesis. In Section 2, I attempt to show how this Realism/Intentionality connection arises, surprisingly, within Quine's own mature work to create a tension in his views which he does not himself resolve. In Section 3, I examine the source of the Realism/Intentionality connection more deeply, and respond to possible Quinean objections to my account. In Section 4, I consider the consequences of the connection for various debates in recent analytic philosophy.
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