Re: [quickphilosophy] Re: Quinean Indeterminacy

  • From: wittrsl@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • To: quickphilosophy@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Tue, 21 Sep 2010 15:24:36 +0100

Isn't the situation even less precisely defined than that?  Maybe you 
intend it to be so, and I am not adding anything!

"Understanding", like so many other things, is a matter of degree, and 
people who understand each other to an adequate extent do not 
necessarily understand exactly the same thing.  Very often, they 
probably don't.  Perhaps they never do.  Life is a business of 

When it comes to languages in which one is less than fluent, an 
"adequate" understanding may be a very crude rendering of what has been 
said, but still sufficient to get by in everyday life.

Many other qualifying adjectives of varying degree can be applied in 
relation to understanding.

On 21/09/10 14:43, walto wrote:

> What your response suggests to me is that you and Quine aren't using
> "understand" and "indeterminacy" in quite the same ways--that is,
> there's a bit of indeterminacy happening right here. Quine doesn't deny
> that English speakers understand each other--or that languages may be
> usefully translated. He agrees with you that they often do an can; but
> these activities take place, in his view, in spite of indeterminacy.
> OTOH, you seem to be saying that if there is indeterminacy, there can be
> no understanding, which, as I mentioned in my last post, suggests that
> you take grasping synonymys to be part and parcel of understanding. For
> Quine there is no such thing as synonymy, but there is often
> understanding, so the latter couldn't require the former.
> W

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