Simone Weil (1909-1943) was one of the foremost French philosophers of the 20th century; a mystic, activist, and writer whose profound work continues to intrigue and inspire today. -/- Mirror of Obedience collects together Weil's poetry and autobiographical writings translated into English for the first time. It offers a rare glimpse into a more personal and introspective Weil than we usually encounter. She was writing and re-working her poems until the end of her life and in a letter from London (...) to her parents, dated 22 January 1943, she expressed the wish for her verses to appear together in print in chronological order, a wish which this volume honours. -/- Weil was a thinker who wrote with discipline and spareness and cherished the poetic form for its power to compress language and distill meaning. In these poems and literary writings, we see her own efforts to craft poems as essential expressions of thought, bringing into view another aspect of Weil's quest for beauty and truth. (shrink)
I discuss and defend two arguments against semantic theories which wish to avoid commitment to propositions. The first holds that on the most plausible semantics of a class of natural language sentences, the truth of sentences in that class requires the existence of propositions; and some sentences in that class are true. The second holds that, on the best understanding of the form of a semantic theory, the truth of a semantic theory itself entails the existence of propositions. Much of (...) the discussion engages Davidsonian alternatives to a propositionalist semantic theory. (shrink)
This paper focuses on a discussion in Abu Nasr al-Farabi’s Book of Letters (Kitāb al-Ḥurūf), which has to do with the importation of philosophical (including scientific) discourse from one language or nation (ummah) to another. The question of importing philosophical discourse from one language or nation to another touches on Farabi’s views on a number of important philosophical questions. It reveals something about his views on the nature of philosophical and scientific concepts and their relation to concepts in non-philosophical or (...) ‘popular’ discourse, as well as the means of grasping previously unencountered concepts. In this article, I will discuss these issues both to ascertain Farabi’s views as well as to shed some light on them in their own right. I will argue that Farabi thinks that the understanding of some novel philosophical or scientific concepts sometimes depends on the grasp of related concepts from ordinary discourse, and that experts rely on these everyday concepts in acquiring the more specialized concepts. If the same linguistic terms are used to denote both concepts, they will be ambiguous, but this can be considered a case of ‘productive ambiguity,’ since it aids in the acquisition of novel concepts. (shrink)
This paper provides an exposition of the structuralist approach to underdetermination, which aims to resolve the underdetermination of theories by identifying their common theoretical structure. Applications of the structuralist approach can be found in many areas of philosophy. I present a schema of the structuralist approach, which conceptually unifies such applications in different subject matters. It is argued that two classic arguments in the literature, Paul Benacerraf’s argument on natural numbers and W. V. O. Quine’s argument for the indeterminacy of (...) translation, can be analyzed as instances of the structuralist schema. These two applications illustrate different kinds of conclusions that can be drawn through the structuralist approach; Benacerraf’s argument shows that we can derive an ontological conclusion about the given subject matter, while Quine’s structuralist approach leads to a semantic conclusion about how to determine linguistic meanings given radical translation. Then, as a case study, I review a recent debate in metaphysics between Shamik Dasgupta, Jason Turner, and Catharine Diehl to consider the extent to which different instances of the structuralist schema are conceptually unified. Both sides of the debate can be interpreted as utilizing the structuralist approach; one side uses the structuralist approach for an ontological conclusion, while the other side relies on a semantic conclusion. I argue that this has a strong dialectical consequence, which sheds light on the conceptual unity of the structuralist approach. (shrink)
There are many different ways to talk about the world. Some ways of talking are more expressive than others—that is, they enable us to say more things about the world. But what exactly does this mean? When is one language able to express more about the world than another? In my dissertation, I systematically investigate different ways of answering this question and develop a formal theory of expressive power, translation, and notational variance. In doing so, I show how these investigations (...) help to clarify the role that expressive power plays within debates in metaphysics, logic, and the philosophy of language. (shrink)
Near the end of 'Naming the Colours', Lewis (1997) makes an interesting claim about the relationship between linguistic and mental content; we are typically unable to read the content of a belief off the content of a sentence used to express that belief or vice versa. I call this view autonomism. I motivate and defend autonomism and discuss its importance in the philosophy of mind and language. In a nutshell, I argue that the different theoretical roles that mental and linguistic (...) content play suggest these kinds of content should be understood as sensitive to different things. (shrink)
According to the school of thought of target-oriented translation, it is necessary to focus on the accuracy of the remarks at the expense of style, when necessary. Most freelance translators, telling that they are specialized in just about everything, contradict the term of specialization. It is obvious that their behavior is looking for maximum translation work. A well-known difficulty for translators, but there is little awareness outside of them, is the fact that the text to be translated is often already (...) a translation, not necessarily true, and it must, to the extent possible, to try passing it back to the original. For a “smart”, sensible translation, you should forget not the knowledge acquired at school or university, but the corrective standards. Some people want a translation with the touch of the source version, while another people feel that in a successful version, we should not be able to guess the original language. (shrink)
Discuțiile despre teoria şi practica traducerii vin din antichitate şi expun continuităţi remarcabile. Grecii antici disting între metafrază (traducere literală) şi parafrază. Această distincţie a fost adoptată de către poetul şi traducătorul de limba engleză John Dryden (1631-1700), care a descris traducerea ca amestecul judicios a acestor două moduri de frazare atunci când se selectează, în limba ţintă, "omologul", sau echivalenţa, pentru expresiile folosite în limba sursă. Rolul traducătorului ca o punte pentru "translatarea" valorilor între culturi a fost discutat încă (...) de pe vremea lui Terence, adaptorul roman din secolul II î.e.n. a comediilor greceşti. Rolul traducătorului nu este, cu toate acestea, în niciun caz unul pasiv, mecanic, astfel încât el a fost comparat cu cel al unui artist. (shrink)
According to Millianism about proper names, what a proper name semantically contributes to the sentence in which it figures is simply its referent; therefore, co-referring proper names are intercheangable salva veritate and salva significatione. In their 2019 paper published in Topoi, Felappi and Santambrogio formulate a thought-provoking argument against Millianism. Their argument aims at establishing that our normal practice of translation shows that Millianism cannot be correct. I argue that Millians can successfully reply. I will address in turn two versions (...) of Felappi and Santambrogio’s argument, focusing especially on the second one, which apparently raises a more challenging problem for Millianism. Finally, I will consider two objections against my own strategy, and I will reply to them. (shrink)
Despite the importance of linguistic disclosure for philosophical hermeneutics there has been a conspicuous lack of attention to the question of how linguistic disclosure actually works. I examine the mechanics of disclosure by drawing on Gadamer’s philosophical hermeneutics as well as Ricoeur’s concept of translation and his theory of metaphor. My claim is that the background horizon of the unsaid that differs between languages enables each to disclose different things. This situation underscores the importance of engaging in East-West comparative philosophy, (...) of philosophizing across what Ricoeur calls the radical “fold” (pli) in what can be thought and experienced. (shrink)
"Translation, as with any practice, is something to return to again and again. Opening this issue, curator and poet Srajana Kaikini’s multi-layered article, ‘The Return of the Translator’ underlines the relevance of translation as a critical process, available to anyone, in any field. Bringing in references to philosopher Sundar Sarukkai, poet Gangadhar Chittal, and Buddhist philosophical principles, she locates the place of translation. Kaikini looks closely at the ways “language and the world are in strange relation with each other,” to (...) borrow her words. Translation as a method, she main- tains, is a matter of intention, creation, and experience." from the Editorial, Marianna Maruyama. (shrink)
The idea of conceptual schemes is one of the most influential and widely used notions in contemporary philosophy. Within the analytic tradition the idea occupies a fundamental position in positivist views as well as in replacing them post-positivist conceptions. Outside the analytic tradition a similar idea is of key importance in structuralist and post-structuralist theories. Despite the broad applicability of the notion of a conceptual scheme, its precise sense is far from being evident in the context of various philosophical trends. (...) Moreover, the well-known American philosopher Donald Davidson's position is that any clear, non-metaphorical meaning cannot be as - cribed to that notion at all – the statement which he tried to substantiate in his famous paper On the Very Idea of a Conceptual Scheme published in 1974.The present paper is aimed, firstly, at outlining the historico-philosophical evolution of the idea of conceptual scheme, concentrating on its development in logical positivism and post-positivist theories of such philosophers as Quine, Sellars, Kuhn, et al., and, secondly, at examining Davidson's criticism of both the idea and the position of conceptual relativism which was raised on its ground, revealing the assumptions which that criticism relies on and which concern relations between language and thought, truth and translation, as well as the role of the scheme-content dualism for empiricism and the place of extensionalism in semantics, etc. Our purpose, on the one hand, is to evaluate the historico-philosophical significance of Davidson's criticism; on the other hand, it is to show that his critical arguments remain to be actual since they shed a new light on the idea of conceptual schemes and allow us to determine their place in tackling the fundamental philosophical question of a relation between reality, thought and language. (shrink)
Warum hat sich die deutsche Philosophie so sehr und so langanhaltend an Autoritäten und Texte gebunden gefühlt, fast als ob man – wie die alten Iatrophilologen – Wissen aus bloßen Worten herauspressen wollte? Warum haben sich in Deutschland so häufig philosophische Sprachstile entwickelt, die ein Hindernis fur das Verständnis der entsprechenden Texte sind?
The sociopolitical and cultural evolution as a result of the Reform and Opening up in 1978, facilitated not least by the inexorable juggernaut of globalization and technological advancement, has revolutionized the way China engages domestically and interacts with the outside world. The need for more proactive diplomacy and open engagement witnessed the institutionalization of the interpreter-mediated premier's press conferences. Such a discursive event provides a vital platform for China to articulate its discourse and rebrand its image in tandem with the (...) profound changes signaled by the Dengist reform. This chapter investigates critically how political press conference interpreting and interpreters' agency in China are impacted in relation to such dramatic transformations. It is revealed that, while interpreters are confronted with seemingly conflicting expectations, in actual practice they are often able to negotiate a way as highly competent interpreting professionals with the additional missions of advancing China's global engagement and safeguarding China's national interests. (shrink)
Works of philosophy written in English have spawned a massive secondary literature dealing with ideas, problems or arguments. But they have almost never given rise to works of ‘commentary’ in the strict sense, a genre which is however a dominant literary form not only in the Confucian, Vedantic, Islamic, Jewish and Scholastic traditions, but also in relation to more recent German-language philosophy. Yet Anglo-Saxon philosophers have themselves embraced the commentary form when dealing with Greek or Latin philosophers outside their own (...) tradition. The paper seeks to establish the reasons for this peculiar asymmetry by examining those factors which might be conducive to the growth of a commentary literature in a given culture. (shrink)
RÉSUMÉ : Même s’il formule à diverses reprises sa thèse controversée de l’indétermination de la traduction, Quine n’a jamais examiné de près le lien entre l’indétermination et la conception de la signification qu’il aurait développée à partir des travaux de Peirce et de Duhem. Cet article esquisse le plan d’une telle conception de la signification dans sa relation à la thèse de l’indétermination et évalue les avantages et les implications de cette conception dans le contexte du programme philosophique de Quine (...) lui-même, ainsi que selon l’approche très différente de la signification et de la compréhension élaborée dans l’œuvre de Gadamer. (shrink)
I present a formally explicit statement of Church's celebrated argument against Carnap's analysis of belief and defend it against well-known objections by W.V.O. Quine, R.M. Martin, and Michael Dummett.
The first part of this paper discusses Quine’s views on underdetermination of theory by evidence, and the indeterminacy of translation, or meaning, in relation to certain physical theories. The underdetermination thesis says different theories can be supported by the same evidence, and the indeterminacy thesis says the same component of a theory that is underdetermined by evidence is also meaning indeterminate. A few examples of underdetermination and meaning indeterminacy are given in the text. In the second part of the paper, (...) Quine’s scientific realism is discussed briefly, along with some of the difficulties encountered when considering the ‘truth’ of different empirically equivalent theories. It is concluded that the difference between underdetermination and indeterminacy, while significant, is not as great as Quine claims. It just means that after we have chosen a framework theory, from a number of empirically equivalent ones, we still have further choices along two different dimensions. (shrink)
Werning applies a theorem by Hodges in order to put forward an argument against Quine's thesis of the indeterminacy of translation and in favour of what Werning calls 'semantic realism'. We show that the argument rests on two critical premises both of which are false. The reasons for these failures are explained and the actual place of this application of Hodges' theorem within Quine's philosophy of language is outlined.
Quine (1960, Word and object. Cambridge, Mass.:MIT Press, ch. 2) claims that there are a variety of equally good schemes for translating or interpreting ordinary talk. ‘Rabbit’ might be taken to divide its reference over rabbits, over temporal slices of rabbits, or undetached parts of rabbits, without significantly affecting which sentences get classified as true and which as false. This is the basis of his famous ‘argument from below’ to the conclusion that there can be no fact of the matter (...) as to how reference is to be divided. Putative counterexamples to Quine’s claim have been put forward in the past (see especially Evans 1975; 1975, Journal of Philosophy, LXXII(13), 343–362. Reprinted in McDowell (Ed.), Gareth Evans: Collected papers. Oxford: Clarendon Press.), and various patches have been suggested (e.g. Wright (1997, The indeterminacy of translation. In C. Wright & B. Hale (Eds.), A companion to the philosophy of language (pp. 397–426). Oxford: Blackwell)). One lacuna in this literature is that one does not find any detailed presentation of what exactly these interpretations are supposed to be. Drawing on contemporary literature on persistence, the present paper sets out detailed semantic treatments for fragments of English, whereby predicates such as ‘rabbit’ divide their reference over four-dimensional continuants (Quine’s rabbits), instantaneous temporal slices of those continuants (Quine’s rabbit-slices) and the simple elements which compose those slices (undetached rabbit parts) respectively. Once we have the systematic interpretations on the table, we can get to work evaluating them. (shrink)
Willard Van Orman Quine's work revolutionized the fields of epistemology, semantics and ontology. At the heart of his philosophy are several interconnected doctrines: his rejection of conventionalism and of the linguistic doctrine of logical and mathematical truth, his rejection of the analytic/synthetic distinction, his thesis of the indeterminacy of translation and his thesis of the inscrutability of reference. In this book Edward Becker sets out to interpret and explain these doctrines. He offers detailed analyses of the relevant texts, discusses Quine's (...) views on meaning, reference and knowledge, and shows how Quine's views developed over the years. He also proposes a new version of the linguistic doctrine of logical truth, and a new way of rehabilitating analyticity. His rich exploration of Quine's thought will interest all those seeking to understand and evaluate the work of one of the most important philosophers of the second half of the twentieth century. (shrink)
Translation has always been a central concern of the philosophy of language. However, it has received more attention over the last decades, as witnessed by the significant development of translation studies and the interest shown in that topic by a range of first-rank philosophers such as Quine, Davidson, Kuhn, Michel Serres, etc. Quine’s work suggests that, although usually understood as a linguistic process, translation is also a process of an epistemological nature. This paper will focus on some epistemological issues of (...) Quine’s thesis of the indeterminacy of translation. First I will stress that Quine’s use of radical translation is aimed at putting into question the theory of meaning on which empiricism up to him used to hinge. As I will show, resorting to translation provides Quine with a strong criticism of a notion underlying the epistemology of traditional empiricism, that is the notion of ‘‘meaning’’ as an objective entity. Secondly, I will point out that this criticism leads to an empiricism of the sort that is not committed to the traditional theory of meaning. I will show how Quine can hold on to an empiricist point of view while doing without the notion of ‘‘meaning’’ by giving a key role to the notions of ‘‘observation sentence’’ and ‘‘stimulus-meaning’’. Finally, I will emphasize the link between Quine’s translation thesis and two other indeterminacy theses . All these theses, I will argue, share a common structure which is based on Quine’s translation model. In the conclusion, I will show how the translating process can be applied to theories with the help of what Quine calls a proxy function. (shrink)
This dissertation intends to contribute to the discussion about the asymmetry W. V. Quine sees between indeterminacy of translation and underdetermination of theory. Quine often formulates the asymmetry by saying that there is a fact of the matter to physics but none to translation. The first chapters of the dissertation constitute an attempt of clarification of that notion of fact of the matter. They contain an analysis of the relations between Quine's notion of fact of the matter, his physicalism, and (...) his conception of truth. The main conclusion of those chapters is that the notion of fact of the matter is physicalistic, which means that it is what, according to Quine, embodied the nature of extralinguistic reality that determines truth. The next chapters contain an analysis of Quine's indeterminacy of translation thesis and underdetermination of theory. The main conclusions of those chapters are the following: indeterminacy of translation is an ontological thesis, and its content has not changed through Quine's writings, although the formulations of the thesis have varied; Quine's definitive arguments for indeterminacy of translation are not to be found in his physicalism, but in his behaviorism; underdetermination of theory is a methodological doctrine, for it concerns the evidential link between observation and theory; there is an asymmetry between indeterminacy of translation and underdetermination of theory. The remaining chapters of the dissertation constitute a review of the main texts by other authors addressing Quine's claim that there is an asymmetry between indeterminacy of translation and underdetermination of theory. The positions of Noam Chomsky, Richard Rorty, and Micheal Friedman are analyzed and criticized. The positions of Dagfinn Follesdal and Roger Gibson have appeared to our lights as the ones that should be taken most seriously. Follesdal is the one who seems to have accomplished the last progresses in the discussion over the asymmetry between underdetermination of theory and indeterminacy of translation by distinguishing clearly Quine's epistemological arguments for indeterminacy of translation thesis from the ontological content of that thesis. (shrink)