Indeterminacy of Translation

In Ernest Lepore & Barry C. Smith (eds.), The Oxford Handbook to the Philosophy of Language. Oxford University Press (2006)
Authors
Alan Weir
University of Glasgow
Abstract
W.V. Quine's thesis of the indeterminacy of translation is the theory which launched a thousand doctorates. During the 1970s it sometimes seemed to be as firmly entrenched a dogma among North American philosophers as the existence of God was among medieval theologians. So what is the indeterminacy thesis? It is very tempting, of course, to apply a little reflexivity and deny that there is any determinate thesis of indeterminacy of translation; to charge Quine with championing a doctrine which has no clear meaning, or which is hopelessly ambiguous. Such a charge is, it is argued in this article, false. His meaning is fairly clear and there is widespread agreement on what the thesis amounts to. The second section of the article looks at Quine's ‘argument from below’ for indeterminacy, then the ‘argument from above’, with concluding remarks in the last section.
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Reprint years 2009
DOI 10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199552238.003.0011
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Quine: The Challenge of Naturalism.Gary Kemp - 2010 - European Journal of Philosophy 18 (2):283-295.

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