The Putnam-Goodman-Kripke Paradox

Acta Analytica 37 (4):575-594 (2022)
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The extensions of Goodman’s ‘grue’ predicate and Kripke’s ‘quus’ are constructed from the extensions of more familiar terms via a reinterpretation that permutes assignments of reference. Since this manoeuvre is at the heart of Putnam’s model-theoretic and permutation arguments against metaphysical realism (‘Putnam’s Paradox’), both Goodman’s New Riddle of Induction and the paradox about meaning that Kripke attributes to Wittgenstein are instances of Putnam’s. Evidence cannot selectively confirm the green-hypothesis and disconfirm the grue-hypothesis, because the theory of which the green-hypothesis is a part has an unintended model in which the grue-hypothesis is equally confirmed; and there are no meaning-facts that determine reference, because the objects referred to by the referring terms of any language or set of intentional mental states are permutable in a way that is consistent with the truth-values of all other sentences in that language or beliefs in that set. The upshot is that the three paradoxes need to be solved in a unified way.

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Robert Kowalenko
University of Witwatersrand

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