Re: [quickphilosophy] Re: Fodor on Concepts IV: Circularity

  • From: wittrsl@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • To: quickphilosophy@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Tue, 21 Sep 2010 16:07:33 -0700 (PDT)

Hi Budd:
Ah, thanks for the compliment, but I'm finding that Neil and Walt find your 
flattery very poorly placed! OK as well on your point about Searle taking the 
best out of Wittgenstein. What I like about Searle is his ability to dig up 
practical applications of philosophy, if that makes any sense: speech acts and 
the critique of strong AI, for example. Both contributions have been 
influential outside of philosophy. 
I'll tell a Searle anecdote. I was in his Phil of Language class at Berkeley 
years back, and we used his book Speech Acts, published by Cambridge Univ 
Press. The publisher had used glue that was too hot in fabricating the bindings 
on these paperbacks. As a result, the books slowly fell apart over the course 
of the quarter. (Berkeley was on a quarter system back then.) "We paid $7.95 
for this book, and look how it's fallen apart!" Well, even the professor's copy 
began to lose leaves as the weeks wore on until one lecture when he wanted to 
read something from it, he just pulled the page out of the book--it released 
from the brittle binding quite readily--tossed the book onto the table, read 
from the page, and then dropped the page back onto the pile of book pages on 
the desk. It was quite a laugh. I still have my copy of that book; it's held 
together by rubber bands on my bookshelf.

--- On Mon, 9/20/10, gabuddabout <gabuddabout@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:

From: gabuddabout <gabuddabout@xxxxxxxxx>
Subject: [quickphilosophy] Re: Fodor on Concepts IV: Circularity
To: quickphilosophy@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Date: Monday, September 20, 2010, 4:54 PM


That was fairly brilliant Ron! I see where Walter is coming from--he's not 
going to make any of this easy! But great reference to my pal Searle, not that 
I know him personally.


--- In quickphilosophy@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx, Ron Allen <wavelets@...> wrote:
> Hi Budd & Walt:
> I'm not sure what Budd means by "global" indeterminacy of translation, or, 
> for that matter, whether there is a "local" indeterminacy. But, I don't think 
> that the notion itself is incoherent; it is, however, unsubstantiated.
> 1. Quine gives no examples of translation indeterminacy.
> 2. If I can't ever understand what "gavagai" or "dieseldown" means, from a 
> native speaker of the languages that contain those words, then I also can't 
> ever understand what "rabbit", for example, means from a speaker of English. 
> Without a criterion for telling a priori what words are deterministically 
> translatable from those that are not, it follows that I don't understand any 
> words in my own language.
> 3. The only language I could be speaking, assuming now that I actually speak 
> a language, is my own private language. Of course, Wittgenstein 
> would take one whiff and send this nasty plate back to the kitchen.
> 4. Suppose X is trying to translate Y's word y. X thinks that it means x1. Q, 
> however, is monitoring X's effort, and says, no she's wrong. X now suggests 
> it means x2. But Q says no. X continues to guess and Q continues to point out 
> that the meaning of Y's word y differs in some sense from the guesses x1, x2, 
> x3, ... made by X. This seems possible. But, how can Q be justified in 
> denying all the time that X misses the semantic mark? It could only be that Q 
> understands the meaning of y and Q understands the meaning of x1, x2, ..., 
> and Q knows that none of x's carries the same semantic content as y. There 
> could be word in X's language that semantically matches y, or there could be 
> no word in X's idiom that correspends. Q still has to know one or the other 
> of these things to be justified in denying all matches. In other words, there 
> is someone who can translate from Y's language into X's language. So, if we 
> suppose that there is someone who can plausibly
> deny determinacy of translation, then there is no indeterminacy of 
> translation. That is, Budd is correct to say that translation indeterminacy 
> is incoherent. If, on the other hand, we posit no such Q (and there isn't any 
> more; may he rest in peace), then translation indeterminacy may be possible. 
> We just haven't got any examples.
> (This is an elaboration of Searle's argument against Whorf.)
> Thanks!
> --Ron
> --- On Sun, 9/19/10, walto <calhorn@...> wrote:
> From: walto <calhorn@...>
> Subject: [quickphilosophy] Re: Fodor on Concepts IV: Circularity
> To: quickphilosophy@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
> Date: Sunday, September 19, 2010, 6:50 AM
> --- In quickphilosophy@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx, "gabuddabout" <gabuddabout@> wrote:
> >
> > 
> > 
> > In fact, there is a reason to reject a global indeterminacy of translation. 
> > It is incoherent. 
> Can you explain why you think that? Thanks.
> > Ever read Rorty's _Spinoza Lectures_ (just two of 'em I think)?
> Nope. 
> W

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