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The Limits of Realism$
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Tim Button

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199672172

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199672172.001.0001

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Attempts to constrain reference

Attempts to constrain reference

(p.20) 3 Attempts to constrain reference
The Limits of Realism

Tim Button

Oxford University Press

The model-theoretic arguments show that the external realist cannot pin down a single correspondence relation just by producing her favourite theory. On these grounds, one might try to conclude that nothing can fix correspondence. But that would be too quick. This chapter sketches four attempts to constrain reference and correspondence. The Causal Constraint holds that an intended interpretation must respect all appropriate causal connections between words and objects. The Eliteness Constraint holds that an intended interpretation of each predicate is (typically) an elite (or, quite elite) property or relation. The Fullness Constraint holds that an intended interpretation of a second-order theory must be a full interpretation. The Modality Constraint holds that an intended interpretation must supply us with truth conditions and must respect the fact that certain designators are rigid. Each constraint has limitations, but each might draw some of the sting of Putnam’s model-theoretic arguments.

Keywords:   interpretative constraint, causal constraint, eliteness constraint, fullness constraint, modality constraint, permutation argument, full second-order logic, external realism, putnam’s model-theoretic arguments

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