Philosophy Lexicon of Arguments

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Inscrutability, philosophy: the inscrutability of reference is an expression by W.V.O. Quine (Quine, “Word and Object”, 1960) for the problem that - even in a particular situation - it cannot be determined in principle to which object the use of an expression refers. See also uncertainty of translation, Gavagai, indeterminacy, reference, translation, pointing, ostension.

Annotation: The above characterizations of concepts are neither definitions nor exhausting presentations of problems related to them. Instead, they are intended to give a short introduction to the contributions below. – Lexicon of Arguments.

Author Item Summary Meta data
II 33
Inscrutability of reference: no difference: x is a dog or: x is the Rï· Zï· strand that is filled by a dog. - Only Statement about the terminology used and its translation, not about physical objects (representative function). -Inscrutability: In translation or permutation.
VI 71
Analytical hypothesis/Translation manual/Quine: term by term translation. - Problem: then meaningful sentences may arise which refer to something else. - This is the inscrutability of reference.
XII 58
Inscrutability/Reference/Quine: goes much deeper than indeterminacy of translation: even within a language, even if apparatus of individuation (plural, pronoun, identity, quantification, etc.) is assumed to be fixed. - E.g. protosyntax: (only strings of signs of one type (1st stage) - in that case, expressions are always types, not tokens.
ad XII 64
Non-factualism/(s): if something is indeterminate in principle, then there is no fact to explore. - Quine: e.g. if meaning is a property of the behavior, the inscrutability of reference cannot lie in the inscrutability of a fact - because there is nothing to investigate. - But it probably makes a difference whether one refers to rabbits or parts, - or e.g. to the formulas or Gödel numbers. - Because then there would be no difference between them. - Reference would lose its meaning. - But the difference is not tangible, neither through the behavior nor through ostension. -> Indeterminacy. - Formulas: have different properties than numbers.
XII 65
Reversed spectra/Inscrutability/Quine: corresponds to the problem rabbit/part (Gavagai). - Only that there is no frame of reference (apparatus of individuation). - Can never be found out. - Things are reversed, properties are retained. - ((s) things do not change sides, properties).
XII 66
Pointing/Ontological relativity/Inscrutability/Quine: you cannot point to absolute location or speed. -Just as you cannot point to rabbits or parts. (> Gavagai).

Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution.

W.V.O. Quine
Wort und Gegenstand Stuttgart 1980

W.V.O. Quine
Theorien und Dinge Frankfurt 1985

W.V.O. Quine
Grundzüge der Logik Frankfurt 1978

W.V.O. Quine
Mengenlehre und ihre Logik Wiesbaden 1967

W.V.O. Quine
Die Wurzeln der Referenz Frankfurt 1989

W.V.O. Quine
Unterwegs zur Wahrheit Paderborn 1995

W.V.O. Quine
From a logical point of view Cambridge, Mass. 1953

W.V.O. Quine
Bezeichnung und Referenz
Zur Philosophie der idealen Sprache, J. Sinnreich (Hg), München 1982

W.V.O. Quine
Philosophie der Logik Bamberg 2005

W.V.O. Quine
Ontologische Relativität Frankfurt 2003

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Ed. Martin Schulz, access date 2018-06-18