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A Quinean Definition of Synonymy

Peter Pagin
Erkenntnis (1975-)
Vol. 55, No. 1 (2001), pp. 7-32
Published by: Springer
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20013068
Page Count: 26
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A Quinean Definition of Synonymy
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Abstract

The main purpose of this paper is to propose and defend a new definition of synonymy. Roughly (and slightly misleadingly), the idea is that two expressions are synonymous iff intersubstitutions in sentences preserve the degree of doxastic revisability. In Section 1 I argue that Quine's attacks on analyticity leave room for such a definition. The definition is presented in Section 2, and Section 3 elaborates on the concept of revisability. The definition is defended in Sections 4 and 5. It is, inter alia, shown that the definition has desired formal properties. In Sections 6 and 7 I briefly comment on, first, the relation of the definition to Quine's later ideas about (stimulus) synonymy, and, second, its relation to a general, interlinguistic, concept of meaning.

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