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Early on Kuhn drew a parallel with Quine's thesis of the indeterminacy of translation (1970a, 202; 1970c, 268). According to the latter, if we are translating one language into another, there are inevitably a multitude of ways of providing a translation that is adequate to the behaviour of the speakers. None of the translations is the uniquely correct one, and in Quine's view there is no such thing as the meaning of the words to be translated. It was nonetheless clear that Quine's thesis was rather far from Kuhn's thesis, indeed that they are incompatible. First, Kuhn thought that incommensurability was a matter of there being no fully adequate translation whereas Quine's thesis involved the availability of multiple translations. Secondly, Kuhn does believe that the translated expressions do have a meaning, whereas Quine denies this. Thirdly, Kuhn later went on to say that unlike Quine he does not think that reference is inscrutable—it is just very difficult to recover (1976, 191).

(source: Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, about Thomas Kuhn)

In which sense may we state the following (see the final part of the quote above)?

Kuhn does believe that the translated expressions do have a meaning, whereas Quine denies this.

Does Quine really deny that translated expressions have a meaning? In other terms, is this equivalent to argue that he admits that some expressions are meaningless?

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    Quine opposes the idea that meanings are things of some (abstract) kind. So, he wouldn’t say that e.g. ‘It rains’ and DEU ‘Es regnet’ have the same meaning, as in: there is this thing, a meaning, and both ‘It rains’ and ‘Es regnet’ have it. But of course Quine recognises that these sentences aren’t meaningless: they aren’t gibberish. Quine invokes the concept of stimulus meaning to capture this. Very roughly, ‘It rains’ means that it rains, in that native speakers assent to the sentence when it rains. – Needless to say that Quine’s view has been heavily criticised. – MarkOxford Aug 17 '18 at 14:30
  • thank you @MarkOxford. I therefore feel that the quote above (in my Question) is inaccurate; should we better rephrase it by adding "the same" [meaning]? -> "Kuhn does believe that the translated expressions do have THE SAME meaning, whereas Quine denies this." – franz1 Aug 17 '18 at 14:58
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    @robertalrp: My first thought was that the "a" before meaning should have been emphasised or, even better, "single" added as well. Sometimes the small things make a huge difference - here between a radical pragmatist and a rather realist position on language. Still, the question is a good one and I am looking forward to the answers given. – Philip Klöcking Aug 17 '18 at 15:07
  • Well, that does make more sense, thank you very much @PhilipKlöcking – franz1 Aug 17 '18 at 15:15
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    I can’t comment on Kuhn, but Quine not only denies that ‘It rains’ and ‘Es regnet’ have the same meaning; he would already deny that ‘It rains’ has a meaning. But again, one mustn’t confuse this with the claim that the sentence is meaningless. (E.g. Davidson also doesn’t really believe in reified meanings, but still proposes a theory that explains how expressions mean what they mean.) To put it as a (somewhat inaccurate) slogan: For Quine and Davidson, meaning isn’t something that an expression has, but something it does. – MarkOxford Aug 17 '18 at 18:48

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