ESSAY ON: Willard V. Quine’s “Indeterminacy of Translation” Theory

Number of Pages 15

This research paper: This is a 15 page paper discussing Quine’s theory of indeterminacy of translation. Willard V. Quine was a mathematician and philosopher who lived from 1908-2000. During the last half of the 20th century, Quine developed several theories, one of which was the theory of indeterminacy of translation, which challenged some of the former assumptions used in the fields of psychology, linguists and anthropology. Quine asserted that accurate translations between languages could not be made for a number of reasons. Firstly, linguists could not get basic terms of references, or starting elements, because from a holistic perspective, sentences are the basic form of meaning and all sentences are semantically linked by the native speaker. Secondly, “meaning” could not be considered as an absolute element. In addition to some of these basic changes in the construct of translations, Quine also discussed the idea that not only were correct translations into English not possible but also two translation manuals given the same observational stimuli could also not be interchangeable because of the assumptions and the linguist’s imposition of his own beliefs and patterns onto the native language. Obviously, Quine’s theories were criticized as linguists made the case that several translations were considered successful because smooth negotiation and conversation could take place between native speakers and foreign speakers. However Quine’s dissection of the linguist’s process into one of a mathematical and scientific process is considered one of the most significant within the last fifty years in linguistic philosophy. Bibliography lists 6 sources.


File: D0_TJQuine1.rtf


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