Wittgenstein and Quine by Robert Arrington, Hans-Johann Glock

By Robert Arrington, Hans-Johann Glock

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And in practice we end the regress of background languages, in discussions of reference by acquiescing in our mother tongue and taking its words at face value’ (OR 49). But understanding is not the same as translating or interpreting. e. he took it (understood it) to mean). Nor can Quine licitly argue that all understanding involves translating or interpreting. Translating is a matter of rendering the utterances of one language in another. Interpreting is a matter of clarifying utterances by means of more perspicuous paraphrases, especially in cases where an utterance admits of divergent readings (legal statutes, poetry)—it is this interpretation as opposed to that one.

231), and ‘Logic is in principle no less open to revision than quantum mechanics or the theory of relativity…. If revisions are seldom proposed that cut so deep as to touch logic, there is clear enough reason for that: the maxim of minimum mutilation’ (PL 100). His invocation of the principle of minimum mutilation is wholly pragmatic, and does not rest on any discernment of a difference in function of mathematical and logical truths from any other truths (‘truth is truth’). Castigating Carnap for putting grammar and logic on the same footing (qua analogues of formation and transformation rules in a formal deductive system), Quine wrote: We do better to abandon this analogy and think in terms rather of how a child actually acquires his language and all those truths and beliefs, of whatever kind, that he acquires along with it.

PL 101) Wittgenstein agreed that we can envisage a language without the law of double negation. q’, are renounceable only at the cost of renouncing all thought and reasoning. For these tautologies are internally related to inference rules which are constitutive of what we call ‘reasoning’, ‘arguing’, ‘thinking’. And he takes propositions of mathematics as conceptforming rules, characteristically licensing inferences among empirical propositions. e. certain propositions of the Weltbild, can be revised or rejected.

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