Ambiguity, generality, and indeterminacy: Tests and definitions [Book Review]

Synthese 85 (3):391 - 416 (1990)
  Copy   BIBTEX

Abstract

The problem addressed is that of finding a sound characterization of ambiguity. Two kinds of characterizations are distinguished: tests and definitions. Various definitions of ambiguity are critically examined and contrasted with definitions of generality and indeterminacy, concepts with which ambiguity is sometimes confused. One definition of ambiguity is defended as being more theoretically adequate than others which have been suggested by both philosophers and linguists. It is also shown how this definition of ambiguity obviates a problem thought to be posed by ambiguity for truth theoretical semantics. In addition, the best known test for ambiguity, namely the test by contradiction, is set out, its limitations discussed, and its connection with ambiguity's definition explained. The test is contrasted with a test for vagueness first proposed by Peirce and a test for generality propounded by Margalit.

Links

PhilArchive



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 89,330

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Analytics

Added to PP
2009-01-28

Downloads
245 (#72,540)

6 months
6 (#196,298)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Citations of this work

Ambiguity.Adam Sennet - 2011 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
A problem for moral luck.Steven D. Hales - 2015 - Philosophical Studies 172 (9):2385-2403.
Ambiguity and explanation.Jonathan L. Shaheen - 2017 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 60 (8):839-866.

View all 18 citations / Add more citations