Published online by Cambridge University Press: 01 January 2020
This paper explores the relationships between Davidson's indeterminacy of interpretation thesis and two semantic properties of sentences that have come to be recognized recently, namely semantic incompleteness and semantic indecision. More specifically, I will examine what the indeterminacy thesis entails for sentences of the form ‘By sentence S (or word w), agent A means that m’ and ‘Agent A believes that p.’ My primary goal is to shed light on the indeterminacy thesis and its consequences. I will distinguish two kinds of indeterminacy that have very different sources and very different consequences. But this does not purport to be an exhaustive study: there may well be other forms of indeterminacy that this paper does not address.
I will first explain the phenomena of semantic incompleteness and semantic indecision, and then explore their relationships with the indeterminacy thesis.