Quelling Quine's Qualms

Paul Horwich

in Meaning

Published in print December 1998 | ISBN: 9780198238249
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191597725 | DOI:
 Quelling Quine's Qualms

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This chapter scrutinizes Quine's three‐stage critique of meaning. It starts by considering how one might get from the existence of multiple adequate translations (his thesis of the ‘indeterminacy of translation’) to the non‐existence of meanings. Next it examines the main premise of this argument and shows how Quine derives it from his view of the conditions sufficient for adequate translations: that is, how he gets to the lemma that many non‐equivalent translation manuals will exist from his assumption that any good predictor of assent/dissent dispositions will be an adequate translation manual. Then it considers the basic stage in Quine's critique (which is the one that is most debatable): his derivation of the adequacy of any assertibility‐preserving manual from the pragmatic raison d’etre of translation. At the end of the chapter, the main defect in this reasoning is rectified and it is shown that proper standards of adequacy will leave us with unique translations and with a use theory of meaning.

Keywords: assent; indeterminacy; meaning; Quine; translation

Chapter.  6470 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Language

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