Actually Ruby, that's pretty well spot on.ruby sparks;674995 wrote:It's a bit like Wittgenstein's superprivacy. Start by investigating something which is impossible and then cleverly rule it out.plebian;674994 wrote:Hmm. That puts the word "possible" in a tricky situation. It's also possible for every non impared human to perform a difficult surgery or to see the Eiffel tower. There is a purpose here that eludes me.subsymbolic;674993 wrote:You are talking about situations in which it is a contingent fact that no translation is possible. That's cool, but it isn't a new conceptual scheme. Merely the same conceptual scheme in which there isn't efficient distribution. Davidson's problem is with claims that wander between contingent and necessary. He merely points out that a genuinely new conceptual scheme would be one for which it was a necessary fact that no translation was possible.
Except of course the something to be investigated you mention comes from other people. That's why both Davidson and Wittgenstein spend some time identifying the targets who are guilty of assuming the impossible possible. Only then do they point out the error they are making.
That's why I called it ground clearing. Ffs, Davidson runs through an extended list of people, like Kuhn, Quine and Whorf who have been hugely influential but who rely on walking an impossible tightrope. Wittgenstein even starts with Augustin's classical empiricist model of language acquisition...
Clearing away other people's fuckups is a common task in philosophy.[/QUOTE]
I don't see it as necessarily a fuckup to say that one conceptual scheme is untranslatable to another. I think that still stands up. I think Davidson merely highlighted that perfect translation (or at least the knowing for sure that it's a perfect translation) is either impossible, or unintelligible. That's why I think that the alchemistic hunt for PerfectionTM (be it about conceptual schemes, private languages or peanut butter sandwiches) is a bit like strapping an already dead duck to the business end of your gun muzzle before going duck-hunting and if we have ruled out anything at all, it is something that could not have been the case in the first place. And I am a wee bit sceptical that for example Kuhn could or would ever have said or meant 'perfectly and wholly untranslatable', or that if he did say that, that he meant it to apply in all situations where there are conceptual differences, or different paradigms.
For example, surely we could never know that two people saying the same thing in two different languages meant exactly the same thing, or even, come to that, if they meant the same thing if they were saying them in the same language (at the same time, in the same culture and context). And even down at the level of one short word, it has surely long been accepted that when you say 'red' and I say 'red' at the same time, in the presence of the same postbox, we might not (arguably cannot) be expressing exactly the same thing.
So if it's only perfection that's been ruled out, what fool ever thought it was ruled in?