An Archimedean Point for Philosophy

Metaphilosophy 42 (4):479-519 (2011)
According to the orthodox account of meaning and translation in the literature, meaning is a property of expressions of a language, and translation is a matching of synonymous expressions across languages. This linguistic account of translation gives rise to well-known skeptical conclusions about translation, objectivity, meaning and truth, but it does not conform to our best translational practices. In contrast, I argue for a textual account of meaning based on the concept of a TEXT-TYPE that does conform to our best translational practices. With their semantic function in view, text-types are Archimedean points for their respective disciplines. The text-type of philosophy is no exception. Culture-transcendent conceptual analysis can proceed on firm footing without having to deny the reality of radical cultural and linguistic difference by treating components of text-types as the concepts to be analyzed. Analyses of central philosophical concepts are provided as a means of adjudicating philosophical controversy.
Keywords translation  indeterminacy of translation  objectivity  truth  meaning  culture  language  moral semantics  relativism  Quine
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DOI 10.1111/j.1467-9973.2011.01708.x
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John Rawls (1993). Political Liberalism. Columbia University Press.

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