By James H. Fetzer (auth.), James H. Fetzer, David Shatz, George N. Schlesinger (eds.)
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Extra info for Definitions and Definability: Philosophical Perspectives
One in which certain statements which did not contain the term were inferable from other statements not containing it which were not previously inferable. [Dummett (1977), pp. 454-4551 These claims can of course make perfectly good sense if terms like "language", "inferable" and "meaning" have some meaning different than the one I give them. One possibility would be "language" as in "formalized language" (rather like "decoy duck") where a difference in axioms means a difference in language. But in the English language, people can dispute over any logical principle, such as noncontradiction, while speaking the same language.
But this is not essential to defining a language and should not be taken for granted. Here I recommend again this formula: a stipulative definition is always a factual claim. This is contrary to the idea that we couldn't be making a mistake in laying down a mere stipulation. The truth is that of course there is no falsity in succeeding in making a term express a certain property. But in attempting to do this, we may fail, or more importantly we may do something else which we misrepresent as stipulative defining.
Some philosophers have held that the difference between real and nominal definition is merely a matter of different styles of quotation, direct or indirect. The nominal definition, that the word "bachelor" expresses the property of being an unmarried male, would on this view differ from the real definition that the property of being a bachelor is the property of being an unmarried male, merely in that the first uses indirect quotation while the second dispenses with it. This view runs into conflict with the recognition that the real definition is necessary while the nominal definition is contingent.
Definitions and Definability: Philosophical Perspectives by James H. Fetzer (auth.), James H. Fetzer, David Shatz, George N. Schlesinger (eds.)