Measuring the mental: an apology for the analogy

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Transliteration of original Title: 
Izmerenie mental'nogo: apologiya odnoy analogii
Author(s): 
Garris Rogonyan
National Research University Higher School of Economics (Saint Petersburg)
Issue number: 
No.4 (Vol.50)
Pages: 
168-186
Abstract: 

The article considers pros and cons for a theoretic-measurement analogy, proposed by some philosophers as an illustration of semantic indeterminacy. Within this analogy ascribing of meanings to a certain linguistic expressions is compared with attribution of numbers according to a certain theory of measurement. Donald Davidson used this analogy in order to extend W. V. O. Quine's thesis of indeterminacy of translation to the interpretation of all human behavior. In other words, not only linguistic meanings, but all mental states are considered as indeterminate. The article explains the failure of some counter-arguments put forward against Davidson’s use of this analogy and against the thesis of indeterminacy on the whole. Particularly, instrumentalist version of the analogy is rejected for there is no direct relation between indeterminacy and underdetermination of theories by empirical evidences. The article concludes that the semantic indeterminacy is largely based on indeterminacy of rationality.

Keywords: 
interpretation, reference, indeterminacy of meaning, underdetermination, theory of measurement
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DOI: 
10.5840/eps201650477
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