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::: center home >> events >> lunchtime >> 2004-05 >> abstracts

Tuesday, 22 March 2005

Turning Point: Quine’s Indeterminacy of Translation at Middle Age

Richard Creath, Arizona State University, Philosophy

12:05 pm, 817R Cathedral of Learning


Abstract: Word and Object was an important turning point for Quine’s philosophy.  His earlier argument against analyticity had pushed him to suppose that empirical procedures in translation go radically wrong.  His argument for this in Word and Object, however, brought a whole cascade of changes in Quine’s views.  His focus shifted, and what he said about simplicity, analyticity, synonymy, and confirmation changed as well.  When taken together, the alterations are an enormous step in Carnap’s direction.


This argument in Word and Object depended crucially on issues in the philosophy of science.  The example tends to illustrate the power, philosophic centrality, and instability of Quine’s philosophy of science.  It also raises intriguing questions as to whether Carnap’s ideas were really refuted after all.

Revised 3/11/08 - Copyright 2006