Inscrutability of reference  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

The inscrutability or indeterminacy of reference (also: indeterminacy of reference, or referential inscrutability) is a thesis propounded by 20th century analytic philosopher Willard Van Orman Quine in his book Word and Object. The main claim of this theory is that, if one is to find out the referential object of any word from any language there are always multiple possible systems of hypotheses, which are equally correct. The referential relation is inscrutable, because it is subject to the background language and ontological commitments of the speaker.



Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Inscrutability of reference" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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