What is wrong with the indeterminacy of language-attribution?

Philosophical Studies 146 (2):197 - 221 (2009)
Arpy Khatchirian
University of California, Berkeley
One might take the significance of Davidson’s indeterminacy thesis to be that the question as to which language we can take another to be speaking can only be settled relative to our choice of an acceptable theory for interpreting the speaker. This, in turn, could be taken to show that none of us is ever speaking a determinate language. I argue that this result is self-defeating and cannot avoid collapse into a troubling skepticism about meaning. I then offer a way of trying to make sense of the idea that some utterances do belong to determinate languages even though there is no determinate language one can take another to be speaking. This, however, results in an uninviting picture of communication in which no speaker is really in a position to say what another’s words mean.
Keywords Interpretation  Theories of truth  Theories of meaning  Languages  Indeterminacy  Davidson
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DOI 10.1007/s11098-008-9251-z
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Real Patterns.Daniel C. Dennett - 1991 - Journal of Philosophy 88 (1):27-51.
The Seas of Language.Michael A. E. Dummett - 1993 - Oxford University Press.

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