What in the World Is Semantic Indeterminacy?

Analytic Philosophy 56 (4):298-317 (2015)

Authors
David E. Taylor
University of Minnesota
Alexis Burgess
Pomona College
Abstract
Discussions of “indeterminacy” customarily distinguish two putative types: semantic indeterminacy (SI)—indeterminacy that’s somehow the product of the semantics of our words/concepts—and metaphysical indeterminacy (MI)—indeterminacy that exists as a mind/language-independent feature of reality itself. A popular and influential thought among philosophers is that all indeterminacy must be SI. In this paper we challenge this thought. Our challenge is guided by the question: What, exactly, does it take for a case of indeterminacy to count as SI? We argue that the only satisfactory answer to this question must take SI to be grounded in a more basic type of MI. We conclude that SI cannot be made sense of without implicating MI. If there’s any indeterminacy, there must be indeterminacy in the world itself.
Keywords indeterminacy  semantic Indeterminacy  metaphysical Indeterminacy  truth  reference  grounding
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DOI 10.1111/phib.12068
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References found in this work BETA

Many, but Almost One.David K. Lewis - 1993 - In Keith Cambell, John Bacon & Lloyd Reinhardt (eds.), Ontology, Causality and Mind: Essays on the Philosophy of D. M. Armstrong. Cambridge University Press. pp. 23-38.
Reference and Reflexivity.John Perry - 2001 - Center for the Study of Language and Inf.
A Theory of Metaphysical Indeterminacy.Elizabeth Barnes & J. Robert G. Williams - 2011 - In Karen Bennett & Dean W. Zimmerman (eds.), Oxford Studies in Metaphysics volume 6. Oxford University Press. pp. 103-148.
The Construction of Logical Space.Agustín Rayo - 2013 - Oxford University Press.

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Citations of this work BETA

Vague Fictional Objects.Elisa Paganini - 2020 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 63 (2):158-184.
On the Indeterminacy of the Meter.Kevin Scharp - 2019 - Synthese 196 (6):2487-2517.
Deflationism and Referential Indeterminacy.David E. Taylor - 2016 - Philosophical Review 126 (1):43-79.

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