Single Idea 6341

[catalogued under 19. Language / F. Communication / 6. Interpreting Language / b. Indeterminate translation]

Full Idea

The right translation between words of two languages is the mapping that preserves basic patterns of usage - where usage is characterised non-semantically, in terms of circumstances of application, assertibility conditions and inferential role.

Gist of Idea

Right translation is a mapping of languages which preserves basic patterns of usage


Paul Horwich (Truth (2nd edn) [1990], Ch.6.32)

Book Reference

Horwich,Paul: 'Truth (2nd edn)' [OUP 1998], p.93

A Reaction

It still strikes me that if you ask why a piece of language is used in a certain way, you find yourself facing something deeper about meaning than mere usage. Horwich cites Wittgenstein and Quine in his support. Could a machine pass his test?