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Philosophical Relativity$
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Peter Unger

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780195155532

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/019515553X.001.0001

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Aspects of Semantic Relativity

Aspects of Semantic Relativity

Chapter:
(p.21) II Aspects of Semantic Relativity
Source:
Philosophical Relativity
Author(s):

Peter Unger (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/019515553X.003.0002

Examines the common sense attractiveness of contextualism over invariantism, and ultimately takes such a common sense attractiveness to be a function of our intellectual habits as opposed to a reflection of objective fact. The claim that there do not exist semantic approaches that are more favorable than either contextualism or invariantism is made and argued for via an appeal to sortalism (a rejected attempt to arbitrate between the two), superinvariantism, and supercontextualism (extreme versions of invariantism and contextualism, respectively), which are also rejected as brutally implausible. The possibility that any of these three semantic approaches might be as good as either contextualism or invariantism merely serves to support semantic relativity. A foundation for semantic relativity is located within the vagueness of natural language terms.

Keywords:   contextualism, invariantism, semantic relativity, sortalism, supercontextualism, superinvariantism, vagueness

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