THE INDETERMINACY THESIS, ONTOLOGICAL AND LINGUISTIC RELATIVITY
This paper argues that ontological relativity does not follow from inscrutability of reference. It is possible to argue that ontological relativity may be defined on some ground other than indeterminacy of translation. It argues that ontological relativity is true because linguistic relativity is true. It presents a Putnamian realist account of reference, and suggests how ontological relativity is not as compelling as Quine’s account of radical translation suggests. To avoid a possible misunderstanding: the paper does not argue that the realist account of reference is right because ontological relativism is, in some clear way, defective. From the stand-point of logic alone, realism and ontological relativity may be both wrong, even if one of them is right. Throughout, the paper assumes that to undermine the defensibility of ontological relativity, we need good objections to relativity and good arguments for realism.