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Direction of fit

By I. L. Humberstone


In her seminal presentation of the distinction between what have since come widely to be called two "directions of fit", Anscombe described a man going shopping with a shopping list while being tailed by a private detective listing the man's purchases, and asked what distinguishes the shopping list from the detec-tive's list. She answered the question thus: It is precisely this: if the list and the things that the man actually buys do not agree, and if this and this alone constitutes a mistake, then the mis-take is not in the list but in the man's performance (...) whereas if the detective's record and what the man actually buys do not agree, then the mistake is in the record. (Anscombe, 1957, p. 56) The "direction of fit " terminology actually antedates Anscombe's monograph, as we'll see in a moment, though not for marking quite the distinction to which she drew attention; for a nice example of its use in this capacity, we may quote fro

Year: 1992
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