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Several days ago, I read this comic. And its explanation:

A big project of 20th century analytic philosophers, such as Frege, Carnap and Russell, was to either ground language in logic, or to create a more exact language that would have no ambiguities, which would used for science and philosophy. Later Continental philosophers like Derrida found this sort of thing to be impossible (as did many later analytic philosophers). Derrida claimed that each sign (or word) got in meaning by existing in a network of signs. For example, the word "marriage" gets its meaning by opposing "single", and by relating to other words like "bachelor", "spouse", "divorce", etc. In addition the term has a history, with different connotations throughout time that come into play for how we understand it (such as that divorce was sin, or its historical role in raising children). At each moment in history it also gets its meaning from the network of words at that time as well, and each term that it relates to (such as "divorce") also gets its meaning from a network of current and historical meanings. This makes the meaning of any given term constantly shifting, and infinitely complex. So any kind of rigorous, exact language is impossible.

Suppose you have two theories: T₁,T₂. Each one has a proposition that makes the other become contradictory.

Question 1: Is it always possible to find a theory T₃ which conciliates both theory, that is: "removes the contradiction"?

Question 2: Supposing the answer to the first question is affirmative, does it imply that we can prove anything to be true?

I know the answer with logic, this will depend on the axioms and rules of inference of the logic you are using. But how they face this problem with Derrida's conception of languange?

  • What do you mean by "conciliating" T₁ and T₂? Obviously, we can not keep all of their propositions without contradiction, on the other hand if we are allowed to throw out some at will there will be plenty of T₃-s available. And having theories has little to do with "proving" something to be true, so I do not see how Q2 relates to Q1 or why it is a problem for Derrida. – Conifold Nov 30 '16 at 21:57
  • @Conifold That means that the two theories can be integrated in a way that is no longer contradictory. – Billy Rubina Nov 30 '16 at 22:34
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    "Integrated" is no better than "conciliated", without restrictions on how it can be done the answer is vacuously affirmative, just throw out one of the theories and keep the other. And Derrida is a postmodernist, he is not concerned with proving anything "true", to him “true” and “false” are spurious distinctions promoted by corrupt power structure bethinking.org/truth/… – Conifold Nov 30 '16 at 22:58
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    For all you ask of "conciliating" throwing one theory away is a particular case of "conciliating". As long as the two theories agree on something it will even "preserve" some of both. You'll have to be a lot more specific for your questions to become meaningful. And, as I said, Derrida is out of place here no matter how you specify "conciliating". You may want to look at Quine's "web of belief" which is similar in spirit but does not take the "truth" out of the picture like Derrida. – Conifold Dec 1 '16 at 1:10
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