It is important to think of what prompts the native’s assent to ‘Gavagai?’ as stimulations and not rabbits.
Stimulation can remain the same though the rabbit be supplanted by a counterfeit.
conversely, stimulation can vary in its power to prompt assent to ‘Gavagai’ because of variations
in angle, lighting, and color contrast, though the rabbit remain the same. In experimentally equating
the uses of ‘Gavagai’ and ‘Rabbit’ it is simulations that must be made to match, not animals.
A visual stimulation is perhaps best identified, for present purposes, with the pattern
of chromatic irritation of the eye. To look deep into the subject’s head would be
inappropriate even if feasable, for we want to keep clear of his idiosyncratic neural routings
or private history of habit formation. We are after his socially inculcated language usage, hence
his responses subject to social assessment. Ocular irradiation is intersubjectively checked
to some degree by society and linguist alike, by making allowances for the
speaker’s orientation and the relative disposition of objects.
In taking the visual stimulations as irradiation patterns
we invest them with a fineness of detail beyond anything that our
linguists can be called upon to check for.
But this is all right. He can reasonably conjecture that the native
would be prompted to assent to ‘Gavagai’ by the microscopically same
irradiations that would prompt him, the linguist, to assent to ‘Rabbit’,
even though this conjecture rests wholly on samples
where the irradiations concerned
can at best be hazarded merely to be
PRETTY MUCH ALIKE.