[quickphilosophy] Re: Fodor on Concepts IV: Circularity

  • From: wittrsl@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • To: quickphilosophy@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Fri, 24 Sep 2010 01:02:36 -0000


--- In quickphilosophy@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx, "iro3isdx" <xznwrjnk-evca@...> wrote:
>
> 
> --- In quickphilosophy@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx, Ron Allen <wavelets@> wrote:
> 
> 
> > responding to message 263
> 
> 
> > Ron:
> > The whole matter hinged on whether "vertebrate" was part of the
> > definition of mammal or not.
> 
> I was careful to pick technical terms that are mainly used in their 
> technical sense.  In that technical use, the meaning is determined  by
> the scientific conventions.  I think Quine would not have had a  problem
> with that, though he might have pointed out that scientists  change
> their conventions from time to time.
> 
> 
> > Ron:
> > If a woody plant does not grow so that its trunk is over one inch
> > in diameter, can it properly be called a tree? or must it be called
> > a shrub?
> 
> Now you get to ordinary, non-technical language, which is not  required
> to conform to conventions.  And in that case, meaning is  a mess.
> 
> 
> > Ron:
> > And again, Quine thinks there can be no disagreement on the meaning
> > of logical connectives, AND, OR, IF, THEN, IFF, THERE_EXISTS,
> > FOR_ALL.
> 
> Logic is technical, and the use of technical terminology is 
> conventional.
> 
> The strict requirements of logic constrain its users to stay within  the
> conventions.  There are no comparable constrants on the use of  ordinary
> language.
> 
> Regards,
> Neil
>


Right.  Again, the logical constants are defined by their truth tables and 
Quine doesn't hold that, e.g., ">" must match up perfectly with "if-then" 
expressions in ordinary language, or that . perfectly works for "and".  He 
discusses this at great length in various works. " If A then A" and "If A and B 
then A" don't require determinacy of translation--they're true in virtue of 
their form alone.

W

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