Translating Evaluative Discourse: the Semantics of Thick and Thin Concepts

Dissertation, York University (2007)
Abstract
According to the philosophical tradition, translation is successful when one has substituted words and sentences from one language with those from another by cross-linguistic synonymy. Moreover, according to the orthodox view, the meaning of expressions and sentences of languages are determined by their basic or systematic role in a language. This makes translating normative and evaluative discourse puzzling for two reasons. First, as languages are syntactically and semantically different because of their peculiar cultural and historical influences, and as values and norms differ across cultures, it is unlikely that languages will have synonymous evaluative and normative expressions. If translation is only successful by cross-linguistic synonymy, it would seem that we will not be able to translate the value theoretic claims of persons from radically different cultures. But it is with such persons that dialogue on evaluative matters is imperative, to resolve ethical and axiological differences that could be the root of conflict. Second, as the orthodox account of meaning renders it linguistically relative, it is unlikely that expressions across languages will be cross-linguistically synonymous. Thus, on the Orthodox account of translation, translation is indeterminate (as W.V.O. Quine has argued) or impossible (as Jacques Derrida has argued). In this dissertation I argue for a novel theory of meaning and translation based on innovations in the translation studies literature and my prior work in cross cultural research, which I call Text-Type Semantics or TTS. TTS explains how translation is successful while affirming radical cultural and linguistic diversity. It treats disciplinary concerns as the neutral criteria to calibrate translation. On the basis of TTS I argue that we need what I call the “Quasi-Indexical” account of thick and thin concepts (or QI) to translate normative and evaluative discourse. I argue that QI and TTS succeed where competing accounts in the moral semantics literature (such as Non-Analytic Naturalism and Expressivism) fail. The argument also shows that the relativization of truth (in philosophy and beyond) to languages and cultures is mistaken.
Keywords translation  semantics  indeterminacy  W.V.O. Quine  Donald Davidson  Jacques Derrida  Eugine Nida  Functionalism  moral semantics  relativism
Categories (categorize this paper)
Options
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history
Request removal from index
Download options
Our Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 25,651
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles
An Archimedean Point for Philosophy.Shyam Ranganathan - 2011 - Metaphilosophy 42 (4):479-519.
Thick Ethical Concepts.Pekka Väyrynen - 2016 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Thick Concepts and Underdetermination.Pekka Väyrynen - 2013 - In Simon Kirchin (ed.), Thick Concepts. Oxford University Press.
On Translation.John Sallis - 2002 - Indiana University Press.
Truth as Translation – Part A.Hannes Leitgeb - 2001 - Journal of Philosophical Logic 30 (4):281-307.
Thick Concepts.S. T. Kirchin (ed.) - 2013 - Oxford University Press UK.
Moral Explanations, Thick and Thin.Brendan Cline - 2015 - Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 9 (2):1-20.
Incommensurability and the Indeterminacy of Translation.Howard Sankey - 1991 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 69 (2):219 – 223.
Anthropological Approaches to the Philosophy of Translation.James Carl Lindahl - 1999 - Dissertation, The University of Western Ontario (Canada)

Monthly downloads

Added to index

2017-01-03

Total downloads

4 ( #624,924 of 2,143,475 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

4 ( #185,660 of 2,143,475 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature


Discussion
Order:
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.

Other forums