Skip to main content

Publication Details

Inscrutability of Reference, and Persistence

(Original title: Neurčitosť referencie a pretrvávanie v čase)
Filozofia, 71 (2016), 8, 656-668.
Type of work: Papers
Publication language: Slovak

According to the inscrutability of reference principle, there are source language sentences that have exact counterparts in the target language, yet some of their sentence-parts may refer to different things. One word sentence “Gavagai“ means “There is a rabbit“ though ‘rabbit’ may have different referents, among them the temporal stage of four-dimensional rabbit, or three-dimensional rabbit as a whole. It follows that ‘rab- bit’ reference may be bound to either three- or four-dimensional ontologies yet the sentence where it occurs doesn’t shift its stimulus meaning. However, there are re- cent proposals in metaontology that consider the dispute between three- and four- dimensional views of particulars verbal. If that is the case, then one of the Quine’s principal examples of inscrutability of reference (and ontological relativity as well) fails. The aim of the paper is to demonstrate that the difference between the rival theories of particulars is not verbal and becomes evident mainly in the context of possible worlds.


Endurantism, Inscrutability of reference, Perdurantism, Possible worlds, W. V. Quine

File to download: PDF