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Radical Interpretation and the Permutation Principle

Henry Jackman
Erkenntnis (1975-)
Vol. 44, No. 3 (May, 1996), pp. 317-326
Published by: Springer
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20012694
Page Count: 10
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Radical Interpretation and the Permutation Principle
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Abstract

Davidson has claimed that to conclude that reference is inscrutable, one must assume that "If some theory of truth... is satisfactory in the light of all relevant evidence... then any theory that is generated from the first theory by a permutation will also be satisfactory in the light of all relevant evidence." However, given that theories of truth are not directly read off the world, but rather serve as parts of larger theories of behavior, this assumption is far from self-evident. A proper understanding of the role truth theories play in theories of interpretation makes the inscrutability of reference much less wide-spread than Davidson suggests, and, as a result, the radical interpretation methodology is much less likely to saddle its defenders with counterintuitive cases of indeterminacy than is commonly supposed.

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