Semantic Holism in Scientific Language*

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Philosophy of Science, ISSN: 0031-8248, Vol: 77, Issue: 4, Page: 524-543

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Andreas, Holger
University of Chicago Press
Arts and Humanities
article description
Whether meaning is compositional has been a major issue in linguistics and formal philosophy of language for the last 2 decades. Semantic holism is widely and plausibly considered as an objection to the principle of semantic compositionality therein. It comes as a surprise that the holistic peculiarities of scientific language have been rarely addressed in formal accounts so far, given that semantic holism has its roots in the philosophy of science. For this reason, a model-theoretic approach to semantic holism in the language of science is presented here. This approach preserves compositionality to a large extent. Copyright 2010 by the Philosophy of Science Association. All rights reserved.