The Opacity of Definition

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This paper is concerned with logical attributes of (real) definition. In particular, I argue that substitution principles give rise to reflexive definitions: cases in which something is directly and exclusively defined in terms of itself. Many maintain that definition is both substitutable and irreflexive, so these standard commitments are at odds. As a corollary, I demonstrate that the claims in ‘Real Definition’ Rosen (2015) are logically inconsistent. I close with a brief discussion of the implications this has for the opacity of definition and for philosophical methodology more generally.
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First archival date: 2019-01-13
Latest version: 2 (2019-06-15)
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