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Relativism, commensurability and translatability


Glock, Hans Johann (2007). Relativism, commensurability and translatability. Ratio, 20(4):377-402.

Abstract

This paper discusses conceptual relativism. The main focus is on the contrasting ideas of Wittgenstein and Davidson, with Quine, Kuhn, Feyerabend and Hacker in supporting roles. I distinguish conceptual from alethic and ontological relativism, defend a distinction between conceptual scheme and empirical content, and reject the Davidsonian argument against the possibility of alternative
conceptual schemes: there can be conceptual diversity without failure of translation, and failure of translation is not necessarily incompatible with recognizing a practice as linguistic. Conceptual relativism may be untenable, but not for the hermeneutic reasons espoused by Davidson.

Abstract

This paper discusses conceptual relativism. The main focus is on the contrasting ideas of Wittgenstein and Davidson, with Quine, Kuhn, Feyerabend and Hacker in supporting roles. I distinguish conceptual from alethic and ontological relativism, defend a distinction between conceptual scheme and empirical content, and reject the Davidsonian argument against the possibility of alternative
conceptual schemes: there can be conceptual diversity without failure of translation, and failure of translation is not necessarily incompatible with recognizing a practice as linguistic. Conceptual relativism may be untenable, but not for the hermeneutic reasons espoused by Davidson.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Philosophy
Dewey Decimal Classification:100 Philosophy
Language:English
Date:2007
Deposited On:14 May 2012 14:34
Last Modified:22 Nov 2017 06:02
Publisher:Wiley-Blackwell
ISSN:0034-0006
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9329.2007.00374.x

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