Aspects of Semantic Relativity

Peter Unger

in Philosophical Relativity

Published in print November 2002 | ISBN: 9780195155532
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780199833818 | DOI:
Aspects of Semantic Relativity

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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

Chapter.  11946 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy

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