Salmon’s Translation Argument

Southwest Philosophy Review 32 (2):163-182 (2016)
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Abstract

In this paper I take a careful look at Nathan Salmon’s translation argument from his paper “The Very Possibility of Language: A Sermon on Missing Church” to see if it proves as much as Salmon claims. In particular, should we consider the translation argument conclusive evidence that belief ascriptions must be relations between individuals and propositions and that a sentential account is completely inadequate? I don’t think so. Salmon is too quick to dismiss the sentential account on the basis of the translation argument. I will argue that for Salmon to truly give a convincing argument, he needs to give a more complete defense of his intuitions concerning translation and quotation. I aim to accomplish this by re-examining the work of Steven Leeds and Tyler Burge, whose arguments Salmon writes off without adequate grounds.

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David Sackris
Arapahoe Community College

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