Are Quine’s Two Indeterminacy Theses Compatible?

Acta Analytica 14 (23.):89-99. (1999)
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The paper seeks to show that Quine’s theses concerning the underdetermination of scientific theories by experience and the indeterminacy of reference cannot be reconciled if some of Quine’s central assumptions are accepted. The argument is this. Quine holds that the thesis about reference is not just a special case of the other thesis. In order to make sense of this comment we must distinguish between factual and epistemic indeterminacy. Something is factual indeterminate if it is not determined by the facts. Epistemic indeterminacy, on the other hand, is due to the lack of evidence. Quine’s claim about the relationship between the two theses is best understood as saying that reference is factually indeterminate, whereas the underdetermination of scientific theories is merely epistemic. But the latter cannot be sustained in light of Quine’s verificationism, holism and naturalism.
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