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Re: [jboske] Opacity and belief



And Rosta scripsit:

> Agnosticism isn't possible with synonymy. Either you believe two
> words have the same sense, or you don't. In this instance, they 
> didn't. But I do.

I'm not sure whether "you don't" means "you believe they have different
senses" or merely "you ~ believe they have the same sense".

> That's right. (it so happens that one of the few things I know about
> these two words is that they denote the same thing.) You can conclude
> that for you they are synonymous, unless there is strong evidence 
> from the rest of usage that they aren't generally recognized as
> such, in which case you may create a superconcept that covers
> them both, but continue to think of a woodchuck as a M. monax that
> would chuck wood and of a groundhog as a M. monax that appears on my
> birthday to foretell the coming weather.

So synonymy is really a 3-place relationship between two terms and a
believer, x1 is synonymous with x2 in the usage of x3?

> As you recognize, cases like "square of 2" and, if it is understood
> compositionally, "H2O" are not candidates for synonymy because they
> have a compositional meaning. And it is clearly possible to believe
> that 4 is not the square of 2.

How is this fundamentally different from believing that furze is not gorse,
or that "not" is not a mark of negation?

> * Synonymy exists: we can have the knowledge "word X and word Y have
> the same sense (whatever the sense is)".

But this seems to be true iff we believe it, or more operationally, terms
are synonymous for me iff I use them interchangeably. This makes hash of
the distinction between de dicto and de re belief.

-- 
Deshil Holles eamus. Deshil Holles eamus. Deshil Holles eamus.
Send us, bright one, light one, Horhorn, quickening, and wombfruit. (3x)
Hoopsa, boyaboy, hoopsa! Hoopsa, boyaboy, hoopsa! Hoopsa, boyaboy, hoopsa!
-- Joyce, _Ulysses_, "Oxen of the Sun" jcowan@reutershealth.com