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Semantic Holism in Scientific Language

Andreas, Holger (2010) Semantic Holism in Scientific Language. Philosophy of Science, 77. pp. 524-543.


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Whether or not meaning is compositional has been a major issue in linguistics and formal philosophy of language for the last two decades. Semantic holism is widely and plausibly considered as an objection to the principle of semantic compositionality therein. It comes as a surprise that the holistic peculiarities of scientific language have been rarely addressed in formal accounts so far, given that semantic holism has its roots in the philosophy of science. For this reason, a model-theoretic approach to semantic holism in the language of science is presented here. This approach preserves compositionality to a large extent.

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Item Type: Published Article or Volume
Keywords: Semantic holism, theoretical terms, compositionality, Quine.
Subjects: General Issues > Logical Positivism/Logical Empiricism
Depositing User: Dr. Holger Andreas
Date Deposited: 20 Feb 2013 13:42
Last Modified: 20 Feb 2013 13:42
Item ID: 9583
Journal or Publication Title: Philosophy of Science
Official URL:
DOI or Unique Handle:
Subjects: General Issues > Logical Positivism/Logical Empiricism
Date: October 2010
Page Range: pp. 524-543
Volume: 77

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