Talk:Indeterminacy of translation

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
WikiProject Philosophy (Rated Start-class, Low-importance)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject Philosophy, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of content related to philosophy on Wikipedia. If you would like to support the project, please visit the project page, where you can get more details on how you can help, and where you can join the general discussion about philosophy content on Wikipedia.
Start-Class article Start  This article has been rated as Start-Class on the project's quality scale.
 Low  This article has been rated as Low-importance on the project's importance scale.
 
WikiProject Linguistics  
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject Linguistics, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of Linguistics on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
 ???  This article has not yet received a rating on the project's quality scale.
 ???  This article has not yet received a rating on the project's importance scale.
Taskforce icon
This article is supported by the Philosophy of language task force.
 

Please Consider Supporting the Following Claim[edit]

"This does not lead to skepticism about meaning – either that meaning is hidden and unknowable, or that words are meaningless" Um... Indeterminacy is a skeptical position... Joseane (talk) 20:32, 22 January 2010 (UTC)

Copy Paste[edit]

This is just a copy and paste of the section in the Willard Van Orman Quine essay, which links to it. Either someone should expand this, or someone should cut the original section, to which I've added a 'main article' link. Any thoughts? Thomas Ash 20:24, 8 December 2005 (UTC)

On reflection, I think we should definitely go for expanding and improving this - it's not so good, and this important and difficult topic deserves a good (and lengthy!) exposition. I'll try my hand at this when I get time, but please, if you know much about this pitch in! Thomas Ash 23:14, 12 December 2005 (UTC)
Yeah. The article should mention that it's essentially a reductio on meaning as an entity. "No entity without identity", so synonomy is an equivalence relationship, so must uphold transitivity: if A is synonomous with B, and B synonomous with C, then A is synonomous with B. The argument aims to show that there can exist two translation dictionaries from Home to Native (T1 and T2, say) that both function adiquately to explain the Natives behaviour but lead to a violation of transitivity. ie A under T1 gives B in Native, and B back into Home via T2 gives statement C, but C isn't synonymous with A.

Merge proposal from Epistemological problem of the indeterminacy of data to theory[edit]

The article Epistemological problem of the indeterminacy of data to theory neds to have something done with it - I am just not sure what. I have attched to merge proposals to it, but maye it should be deleted? Anarchia (talk) 21:12, 11 December 2007 (UTC) I think the other page should just be deleted, as there are already pages like Underdetermination and this is deserving of its own page. --Theswampman (talk) 04:39, 25 December 2008 (UTC) I oppose merging Epistemological problem of the indeterminacy of data to theory into this page, as it isn't the same problem at all. Why not just merge it into the article on Epistemology, and/or create a list of epistemological problems. --RichardVeryard (talk) 03:03, 25 June 2009 (UTC)

Mute point. The article is gone! Merged? — John Harvey, Wizened Web Wizard Wannabe, Talk to me! 12:25, 3 March 2012 (UTC)

Unsupported removal of sourced material[edit]

In these edits excessive, there might be a case for a one or two sentence summary but not all that, covered elsewhere a reference is enough please stop recycling the same material onto multiple articles, I wish you would stop using this form of citation - ah well, tidy up using the associated italicized in-line comments, User:Snowded removed entire subsections regarding (i) the importance of Quine's proposals about the indeterminacy of translation, (ii) the relation to the analytic-synthetic distinction and (iii) the associated sources supporting these subsections.

Regarding the first: Reception, the assessment of Crispin Wright presented in his overview article The indeterminacy of translation was removed along with Hilary Putnam's assessment. These two philosophers are very well known and their opinions are valuable to the reader in determining Quine's status. Snowded has suggested summarization: he should propose a summary on this Talk page.

Regarding the second: Analytic-synthetic distinction the relevance to this debate is indisputably the primary importance of this work, and omission of this connection is unacceptable. Snowded's distaste of the entire sub-field of meta-ontology, expressed at great length on Talk:Meta-ontology, is not sufficient reason to delete this section. The assertion that this is recycled material from elsewhere on WP is incorrect.

Deletion of entire topics carefully assembled with supporting sources with no Talk-page suggestions is both lacking in Wikiquette and unhelpful in trying to improve these subsections. I have restored this material, Snowded, and instead of beginning an edit war by again removing this material without Talk-page comment, suggest you open a discussion here about alternative formulations. Brews ohare (talk) 19:37, 14 May 2013 (UTC)

I left a fair amount of the additions but I have concerns about choosing two philosophers (of the many) and highlighting their views. Like many other articles you are finding links and just adding material based on which philosophers you find interesting or relevant. The analytic-synthetic distinction is covered in another article and can be referenced, replicating material already used or proposed elsewhere (I think you have tried to add it to four articles now) does not add value. We could really do with a source which has reviewed the field rather than cherry picking two. I wish you would stop making statements about by view which are simply false. I have no distaste for the field of meta-ontology. Please stop personalising this, some of us are trying to reflect third party sources rather than engage in discussing the subject. All of that said I more open to the additions in some form IF other editors support you ----Snowded TALK 20:44, 14 May 2013 (UTC)
  • I think at least Putnam's critique is quite well known, and Putnam was one of Quine's main philosophical interlocutors I believe.·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 21:25, 14 May 2013 (UTC)
Which might justify a simple reference to "the most fascinating and the most discussed philosophical argument since Kant’s Transcendental Deduction of the Categories" but not all the other stuff. That said I am not sure what it really adds ----Snowded TALK 21:34, 14 May 2013 (UTC)
Snowded: As you suggested but apparently failed to note, the sub-section on Analytic-synthetic distinction uses the Main template to point to the WP article Analytic-synthetic distinction that has much more about this topic. That is why the treatment here is reduced to explaining Quine's position as stated by Quine, and does not go into the back and forth on this topic, which is very extensive. This brief paragraph has the function of alerting the reader to this aspect of Quine's stand on translation, and of guiding the reader to the more extensive treatment on WP. Your reasons for deleting this paragraph seem to say that you want more, not less, in this short paragraph. However, an attempt to assess Quine's position and present some of the huge literature about it is best left to the Main article Analytic-synthetic distinction. The Main template makes clear to the reader that such a balanced treatment putting Quine into perspective is undertaken elsewhere.
There is nothing controversial about Quine's role in stimulating discussion in this area. The sub-section Reception quotes the overview by Crispin Wright to the effect that Quine's work was influential and ditto for Putnam. A reader probably has some interest in knowing how Quine has been received. I don't suppose that you suggest Wright and Putnam are blowing Quine's horn in some exaggerated show of enthusiasm, so why are you objecting that only two of 200 authors have been singled out to state the obvious?
Why not make a counter-proposal instead of removing solidly sourced material of importance with somewhat infuriating remarks about how I do things, and suggesting that I need to "get agreement before changing things", while you apparently are exempt? Brews ohare (talk) 22:27, 14 May 2013 (UTC)
Change requires agreement Brews, onus is on the one adding material per WP:BRD. I've moved the reception to the lede in a summarised form and got rid of another quotation. Hopefully that is OK as a compromise. It could still do with some third party sources and the style os obscurantist (the whole article you are just following on). But I will leave that to others. ----Snowded TALK 22:46, 14 May 2013 (UTC)

Reference to meta-ontology[edit]

With the in-line comment "Sorry, you cannot draw that conclusion about the origin of "meta-data' its clear original research and tangential to the article" Snowded has removed the following material from the sub-section Analytic-synthetic distinction:

Quine's views on indeterminacy of translation led to extended debate over Carnap's analytic/synthetic distinction, and to Inwagen's coining of the word meta-ontology to designate the resulting (and continuing) debate about the purpose and importance of ontology itself.[1][2]
[1] Peter Van Inwagen (1998). "Meta-ontology". Erkenntnis 48: 233–250. 
[2] Matti Eklund (2013). "Carnap's Metaontology". Noûs 47 (2): 229–249. doi:10.1111/j.1468-0068.2011.00830.x. The contemporary metaontological debate mainly concerns the question of whether ontology questions, questions about what there is, are genuine questions deep enough to be worthy of philosophical attention... 

Probably Snowded's reference to meta-data is a typo and he means meta-ontology. Now the article meta-ontology discusses at length the Carnap-Quine debate about the analytic-synthetic distinction, so it is not possible that drawing the reader's attention to meta-ontology is "tangential to the article" here, Indeterminacy of translation, and its sub-section Analytic-synthetic distinction.

Also it is mystifying why Snowded calls this material "original research". There is absolutely no doubt at all that Inwagen coined the term 'meta-ontology' in connection with the Quine-Carnap debates, and his paper is reference [1] above.

Perhaps Snowded could attempt to present on this Talk page a coherent explanation for his objections to this material, as his summary one-line edit appears to be completely off-target? Brews ohare (talk) 14:05, 15 May 2013 (UTC)

Show me a third party source which supports the assertion on origin. And there is no need to replicate the material here cluttering up the talk page. Editors are more than capable of checking the diff. Meta-ontology covers a multitude of sins, a reference is enough you do not need to replicate material here ----Snowded TALK 22:40, 15 May 2013 (UTC)
I've reworded this paragraph to avoid suggesting Inwagen coined the term meta-ontology, and instead simply point out that Inwagen's paper Meta-Ontology has become a classic about the Carnap-Quine debate, and included a source pointing out that his paper is a classic. That obviates the need for a source crediting Inwagen with coining the term. Brews ohare (talk) 16:00, 16 May 2013 (UTC)
But then its not really notable enough/ And one author calling a paper classic is not enough anyway ----Snowded TALK 06:05, 17 May 2013 (UTC)
Snowded: The issue of 'notability' as outlined in WP:Notability "is a test used by editors to decide whether a topic can have its own article". It continues to say WP:NNC: "Notability guidelines do not limit content within an article". So you might re-express your reservation using some appropriate WP policy. Perhaps you have some other objection?
As there is presently no pertinent objection, I have replaced my formulation with that found in the introduction to meta-ontology, which you have vetted during the construction of that article, and presumably will have no objection to. Brews ohare (talk) 09:44, 17 May 2013 (UTC)
Well to put it another way it's not relevant to this article unless a third party source makes it so. Even the latest formulation is based on your interpretation of primary sources. Otherwise the English language is rich and not bound by special uses within wikipedia. If I am referencing a policy from now on I will do so with a link in order to help you out. ----Snowded TALK 17:13, 17 May 2013 (UTC)
Snowded: You have a different take on things when you suggest that a connection to Carnap's work, where the concept of analytic/synthetic addressed by Quine is introduced, is irrelevant to Quine's criticism of that formulation by Carnap. You might notice that Quine refers directly to Carnap in his critique, as do most authors that discuss this controversy, Thomasson, Eklund, among others. It is difficult to take seriously a superficial rejection of plain fact. Brews ohare (talk) 19:10, 17 May 2013 (UTC)
And its difficult to take seriously an editor who thinks he is not subject to proving third party sourcing for edits he wants to make----Snowded TALK 21:25, 17 May 2013 (UTC)
There is no need for sourcing here other than that provided to published philosophers on the subject. Your 'third-party' request is not based on any WP policy, and is unclear besides. I have asked you repeatedly to supply the source for this claim you make, and you have never provided the name of a WP policy, nevermind explaining any policy's relevance to this situation. Perhaps you might make such an attempt here, rather than your usual patter about it's all well known and you've said it all before and you don't need to repeat it all again, and all that blather which serves only your purpose of hiding that your claims are suppoorted by nothing, nothing at all. Brews ohare (talk) 05:48, 18 May 2013 (UTC)
WP:RS is very clear that secondary or tertiary references should be used. You've also had this explained to you on meta-ontology by another editor where you have tried to insert similar material and you have been both topic banned and blocked for the manner of your interaction with other editors. ----Snowded TALK 07:11, 18 May 2013 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Snowded: You have identified the governing policy as WP:RS. Among other matters, this policy states "Material such as an article, book, monograph, or research paper that has been vetted by the scholarly community is regarded as reliable." Now, in a matter where there is a difference of opinion among such sources, it is understandable that all sides should be presented, or perhaps a review by a non-participating party. However, is the present material controversial in any way? Here again for your consideration is a version of the material you find so partisan:

In Quine's view, the indeterminacy of translation leads to the inability to separate analytic statements whose validity lies in the usage of language from synthetic statements, those which assert facts about the world. This terminology is used in Carnap's extension of Kant's analytic–synthetic distinction, a distinction between internal and external questions, respectively.[1] Inwagen used aspects of the resulting Quine-Carnap debate over this matter to exemplify the field known as meta-ontology.[2][3]
[1] Carnap, Rudolf (1950.). Empiricism, Semantics, and Ontology. Bobbs-Merrill.  Check date values in: |date= (help) Reprinted as a chapter in Carnap, Rudolf (1991). "Chapter 4: Empiricism, Semantics, and Ontology". In R. Boyd, Philip Gasper, J. D. Trout, eds. The Philosophy of Science (3rd ed.). MIT Press. pp. 85 ff. ISBN 0262521563.  See also this on-line version.
[2] Peter Van Inwagen (1998). "Meta-ontology". Erkenntnis 48: 233–250. 
[3] Francesco Berto (2012). Existence as a real property: the ontology. Springer. p. 31. ISBN 9400742061. For Inwagen, the question of the meaning of existence...needs to be addressed at a meta-ontological level. This is the main idea of Meta-Ontology, an essay by van Inwagen that has quickly become a classic. 

The lead sentence already is there. The second sentence is beyond any dispute. That leaves the third sentence for discussion.

The material subsequent to this proposed addition (already present) describes Quine's views in more detail.

Now, we are not talking in the abstract here about generalities of policy. We are talking about this addition to the subsection Analytic-synthetic distinction. The first sentence already is there. The added text comes from the introduction to meta-ontology with very minor rewording, an article you have actively engaged with.

What exactly is there here that requires further sourcing according to WP:RS, and why? And if there are such reservations in your mind, could not some change in wording of this material fix matters more effectively than hazy argument over WP policy in the abstract? Brews ohare (talk) 14:55, 18 May 2013 (UTC)

I've made my position clear Brews and you have similar advice on another article rom another editor. as ever your restatement of my position is a strawman. We disagree live with it ----Snowded TALK 17:22, 18 May 2013 (UTC)
Snowded: Your response is pure evasion. Nothing of substance. Nothing to support vague statements with little content. Brews ohare (talk) 20:36, 18 May 2013 (UTC)
I have added the sentence from the introduction to meta-ontology referring to Carnap. This inclusion is a requirement from the standpoint of WP:NPOV if not simply as matter of coverage of the topic. Brews ohare (talk) 20:47, 18 May 2013 (UTC)Cite error: There are <ref> tags on this page without content in them (see the help page).
you've added your owns views opinion using primary sources. I and others have explained this before. There is no requirement to have to constantly respond to your unwillingness to accept that ----Snowded TALK 21:46, 18 May 2013 (UTC)
No. What was added is the statement from the introduction to meta-ontology that states only that Carnap's paper uses these terms, the very paper critiqued by Quine. This formulation is due to MachineElf. Of course, it isn't "my own views" in meta-ontology, and of course is not at all my opinion, but an historical fact. If you read what I said here on the Talk page, you would understand this. Brews ohare (talk) 22:20, 18 May 2013 (UTC)
Snowded: You have reverted the simple sentence "This terminology is used in Carnap's extension of Kant's analytic–synthetic distinction, a distinction between internal and external questions, respectively.[1]
Carnap, Rudolf (1950.). Empiricism, Semantics, and Ontology. Bobbs-Merrill.  Check date values in: |date= (help) Reprinted as a chapter in Carnap, Rudolf (1991). "Chapter 4: Empiricism, Semantics, and Ontology". In R. Boyd, Philip Gasper, J. D. Trout, eds. The Philosophy of Science (3rd ed.). MIT Press. pp. 85 ff. ISBN 0262521563.  See also this on-line version.
Your in-line editorial reason is: "I read it, uses primary sources relevance not established" is crazy. If you like I'll set up an RfC over this matter, but it is very hard to understand the lack of relevance of the very paper that Quine is critiquing, especially as it is Carnap's terminology that Quine takes issue with in his critique. Perhaps you don't understand the context here? Brews ohare (talk) 22:31, 18 May 2013 (UTC)
Sorry Brews but I'm not sure it really adds to the article and even if it does then it need secondary or tertiary sourcing. Content should relate to the article there is no need to expand the content beyond the need to explain it. Reference can be made to other articles if needed----Snowded TALK 22:35, 18 May 2013 (UTC)

RfC regarding inclusion of a footnote to Carnap's paper in Quine's dispute of this paper.[edit]

The article Indeterminacy of translation includes a section Analytic-synthetic distinction that discusses Quine's critique of Carnap's use of this distinction. Omission of Carnap's statement of his position makes the treatment one-sided and might be a violation of WP:NPOV. It would seem that a sentence about Carnap's paper is pertinent to a critique of that same paper. A proposal is provided for inclusion in the article. Discussion is invited. Brews ohare (talk) 23:14, 18 May 2013 (UTC)

Background[edit]

  • The paper outlining Carnap's position is:
Carnap, Rudolf (1950.). Empiricism, Semantics, and Ontology. Bobbs-Merrill.  Check date values in: |date= (help) Reprinted as a chapter in Carnap, Rudolf (1991). "Chapter 4: Empiricism, Semantics, and Ontology". In R. Boyd, Philip Gasper, J. D. Trout, eds. The Philosophy of Science (3rd ed.). MIT Press. pp. 85 ff. ISBN 0262521563.  See also this on-line version.
Quine's response is:
Willard v O Quine (1980). "Chapter 2: W.V. Quine: Two dogmas of empiricism". In Harold Morick, ed. Challenges to empiricism. Hackett Publishing. ISBN 0915144905.  Published earlier in From a Logical Point of View, Harvard University Press (1953)
The situation is summarized in the book cited above Challenges to empiricism, by its editor Harold Morick, as follows:

"In Two Dogmas of Empiricism Quine argues that in Empiricism, Semantics, and Ontology and elsewhere Carnap fails to carry his pragmatism to its logical conclusion. The reason for this, Quine thinks, is that Carnap is unwilling to give up the empiricist synthetic-analytic dogma that some statements are about the world, whereas others are merely about language."

—Harold Morick, Challenges to Empiricism, p. 19
Morick goes on at some length to describe the difference of views between Carnap and Quine, and the two papers in question are reprinted in this volume of essays on the subject by various authors.

Proposal[edit]

A possible wording is as follows:

In Quine's view, the indeterminacy of translation leads to the inability to separate analytic statements whose validity lies in the usage of language from synthetic statements, those which assert facts about the world. This terminology is used in Carnap's extension of Kant's analytic–synthetic distinction, a distinction between internal and external questions, respectively.[1]
[1] Carnap, Rudolf (1950.). Empiricism, Semantics, and Ontology. Bobbs-Merrill.  Check date values in: |date= (help) Reprinted as a chapter in Carnap, Rudolf (1991). "Chapter 4: Empiricism, Semantics, and Ontology". In R. Boyd, Philip Gasper, J. D. Trout, eds. The Philosophy of Science (3rd ed.). MIT Press. pp. 85 ff. ISBN 0262521563.  See also this on-line version.

This wording does not present Carnap's viewpoint, but at least it lets the reader know that Carnap exists and links one of his major papers on the subject.

Comments[edit]

  • It is my opinion that Carnap's paper should be mentioned directly with a link for the reader to find this work. The reader of this discussion of Quine's papers should not be obliged to discover Carnap's papers for themselves. As it is, Carnap's point of view is not only not presented, his papers are not mentioned at all.
User:Snowded objects to including any discussion of Carnap on the basis that it is not relevant.
Brews ohare (talk) 23:14, 18 May 2013 (UTC)
  • The article already links to others which are little else but the Carnap-Quine debate. The focus of content in the article needs to be on the subject of the article. By way of context for any editor new to these debates. Brews is here (as elsewhere on Philosophy articles with three other RfCs to date) seeking to add his own researched material to many different articles. Most of this is by stringing together quotes with his own commentary from primary sources. The pattern elsewhere has to be include a paragraph or two like that proposed, then to add multiple material using primary sources that he thinks relevant. He has multiple blocks and an indefinate topic ban from Physics articles for near identical behaviour.----Snowded TALK 05:36, 19 May 2013 (UTC)
Despite this presentation of yours about my "seeking to add his own researched material" and "stringing together quotes with his own commentary", this artful presentation is (i) irrelevant here and (ii) entirely fallacious. Brews ohare (talk) 05:49, 19 May 2013 (UTC)
Persistent editing patterns over multiple philosophy articles and 'form' elsewhere are relevant and anyone can check your block history (the most recent this year) and the original arbcom resolution which was subsequently made indefinite as you would not respect it. ----Snowded TALK 06:01, 19 May 2013 (UTC)
Smowded: Stick to the request: to mention Carnap and his paper that is the subject of discussion by Quine. This stuff of yours goes nowhere. Brews ohare (talk) 13:12, 19 May 2013 (UTC)
I've already answered that. Third party source please and something to prove that it should be included here when other articles discuss it in depth ----Snowded TALK 16:30, 19 May 2013 (UTC)

Definition[edit]

I've added a {{technical}} tag to the article, for lack of a better option. As far as I can tell, the lead doesn't actually explain what the indeterminacy of translation is, other than that it has three aspects, but their relation to the whole is unclear. I think I have a general idea of the concept after reading the article, but I shouldn't have to do that. :-) Sunrise (talk) 03:38, 3 February 2015 (UTC)