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Kaplan’s Counterexample to Quine’s Theorem

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In his article “Opacity” (1986), David Kaplan propounded a counterexample to the thesis, defended by Quine and known as Quine’s Theorem, that establishes the illegitimacy of quantifying from outside into a position not open to substitution. He ingeniously built his counterexample using Quine’s own philosophical material and novel devices, arc quotes and $entences. The present article offers detailed analysis and critical discussion of Kaplan’s counterexample and proposes a reasonable reformulation of Quine’s Theorem that bypasses both this counterexample and another, in the author’s opinion, more persuasive counterexample, also discussed in this paper and somehow implicit in “Opacity”, which involves Russellian propositions instead of the Quinean apparatus.

Affiliations: 1: Université de Genève & University of California,


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