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Indeterminacy and the Analytic/Synthetic Distinctions: A Survey

Peter Pagin
Synthese
Vol. 164, No. 1 (Sep., 2008), pp. 1-18
Published by: Springer
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/40271065
Page Count: 18
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Indeterminacy and the Analytic/Synthetic Distinctions: A Survey
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Abstract

It is often assumed that there is a close connection between Quine's criticism of the analytic/synthetic distinction, in 'Two dogmas of empiricism' and onwards, and his thesis of the indeterminacy of translation, in Word and Object and onwards. Often, the claim that the distinction is unsound (in some way or other) is taken to follow from the indeterminacy thesis, and sometimes the indeterminacy thesis is supported by such a claim. However, a careful scrutiny of the indeterminacy thesis as stated by Quine, and the varieties of the analytic/synthetic distinction, reveals that the two claims are mutually independent. Neither does the claim that the distinction is unsound follow from the indeterminacy thesis, nor that thesis from unsoundness claim, under any of the common interpretations of the analytic/synthetic distinction.

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