Tags: Writing A Physician Assistant Personal StatementParts Of The Term PaperConclusion For Business PlanAssign Keyboard KeysHow To Write Good Research PaperMy Special Teacher EssayDr Faustus And Paradise Lost EssaysEssay Farewell Manzanar QuoteThe Second Shift Arlie Hochschild EssayMusician Business Plan
For, it is claimed, the indeterminacy extends not only to our knowledge of the native speakers meaning, but to that meaning itself and even to the state of mind of the native speaker which embodies it.Thus the view seems to be that when the native says gavagai, he means something having to do with rabbits, but no particular, determinate thing: his thought is somehow intrinsically indeterminate between the various alternatives. But the most crucial point is that while Quine develops his argument mainly in relation to the situation of radical translation, he makes it quite clear that its significance is not restricted to that rather unusual situation.I begin with Quines argument for the famous thesis of the indeterminacy of translation.
But Quines claim is that it will always be possible to adjust the translations of these other locutions in such a way as to preserve any of the alternative translations of gavagai [WO 51-4, 71-2].
(This example is probably misleading in one respect, in that it suggests a much narrower range of variation among acceptable translations than Quine actually seems elsewhere to advocate; but even this degree of variation is sufficiently problematic to raise the issues I want to consider here.)Quines argument for this conclusion concerning radical translation is complicated, obscure in important respects, and raises a number of difficult interpretive issues.
Putnams basic thesis is that metaphysical realism, in particular the claim that a global theory which is epistemically ideal might nonetheless be false, is itself not just false but indeed unintelligible.
From an intuitive standpoint, for such an epistemically ideal theory to be false would be for its terms (or their thought-analogues) to refer to or stand for pieces of an sich reality in such a way as to make false claims about that reality.
While I do not have time here to enter into a detailed discussion, I think that in the end the argument is best construed as a challenge to Quines opponents to show how determinate radical translation is possible, given only behavioral evidence, and I think it is fair to say that this challenge has not been met.
Thus I regard Quines initial thesis, the thesis of the indeterminacy of radical translation proper, as reasonably firmly established.
Though my own belief is that, when properly understood, metaphysical realism is both true and obvious, I can quite well understand some degree of sympathy for an argument which aims to refute it.
What I will claim to be absurd about Putnams argument, however, is not the denial of metaphysical realism per se, but rather the way in which this denial is defended and the view which is claimed to be the only alternative.
Quines claim, in brief, is that while such a radical translator can perhaps succeed, in principle at least, in translating (i) observation sentences and (ii) truth-functional connectives in a determinate, non-arbitrary way, the possibility of determinate, non-arbitrary translation does not extend to the rest of the unknown language.
While the sentences which fall outside these bounds can indeed be putatively translated in a way which will be consistent with all possible behavioral evidence, any such possible translation will, he argues, be only one of indefinitely many different alternatives, all of which are equally satisfactory from a behavioral standpoint and between which only an essentially arbitrary choice is possible.