Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Similar meanings and Husserl

It occurred to me that one of the reasons that philosophers have not tackled the problem of similarity of meaning may be this. Quine pretty thoroughly refuted one notion of synonymy. He proposed another, stimulus synonymy. I don't think that ever caught on. But, since the previous kind of synonymy was considered vanquished, it may have made philosophers shy away from looking at similarity of meaning. Similarity seems harder than identity. Would this even be a transitive relation? My inital answer is no.

On a different topic, there is an argument in one passage of Husserl's Ideas that seemed odd to me. He argues that the vey idea of possible worlds that are causally and spatio-temporally isolated from ours is incoherent due to considerations of perception. I will have to review the passage at a later date in order to do it full justice. It is Husserl offering phenomenological objections to David Lewis-style possible worlds metaphysics. It sesems like an original idea. I don't think David Lewis was fazed by this objection though. Dagfinn Follesdal said that he taught Lewis phenomenology but not much seemed to have stuck.

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