Semantic indeterminacy and the realist stance

Erkenntnis 37 (3):281 - 308 (1992)
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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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Ronald Wilburn
University of Calgary

Citations of this work

Does Analytic Philosophy Terminate in Pragmatism?Ron Wilburn - 2002 - History of Philosophy & Logical Analysis 5 (1):111-140.

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References found in this work

Word and Object.Willard Van Orman Quine - 1960 - Cambridge, MA, USA: MIT Press.
From a Logical Point of View.W. V. O. Quine - 1953 - Harvard University Press.
Two Dogmas of Empiricism.Willard V. O. Quine - 1951 - Philosophical Review 60 (1):20–43.
Two Dogmas of Empiricism.W. V. O. Quine - 1951 - In Robert B. Talisse & Scott F. Aikin (eds.), The Pragmatism Reader: From Peirce Through the Present. Princeton University Press. pp. 202-220.

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