Read e-book online Conventionalism: From Poincare to Quine PDF

By Yemima Ben-Menahem

ISBN-10: 0521826195

ISBN-13: 9780521826198

The bold concept that conference - human choice - lies on the root either one of useful truths and lots more and plenty of empirical technological know-how reverberates via twentieth-century philosophy, constituting a revolution corresponding to Kant's Copernican revolution. this can be the 1st entire examine of Conventionalism. Drawing a contrast among conventionalist theses, the under-determination of technological know-how via empirical truth, and the linguistic account of necessity, Yemima Ben-Menahem strains the evolution of either rules to their origins in Poincar?'s geometric conventionalism. She argues that the novel extrapolations of Poincar?'s principles by means of later thinkers, together with Wittgenstein, Quine, and Carnap, finally resulted in the decline of conventionalism. This publication presents a brand new viewpoint on twentieth-century philosophy. a number of the significant subject matters of latest philosophy emerge during this booklet as coming up from engagement with the problem of conventionalism.

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By pressing from below I mean pressing whatever arguments for indeterminacy of translation can be based on the inscrutability of terms. (Quine 1970a, p. 183) In the history of philosophy, such irony is perhaps one way in which arguments that have been dismissed get a second hearing. The 1930s were years of transition for Wittgenstein. Rethinking the account of logical truth he had put forward in the Tractatus and becoming immersed in (what he called) grammar, Wittgenstein, I contend, was strongly drawn to conventionalism.

Ii. poincar e´ on convention Let me begin my analysis of Poincar´e’s views by raising a few questions about the structure and logic of his arguments. Though of relevance to his conventionalism in general, these questions apply, in particular, to Science and Hypothesis (Poincar´e [1902] 1952), which will be carefully examined after they have been posed. Chapters III to V of Science and Hypothesis contain three very different arguments for the conventionality of geometry. The first question, therefore, is how these arguments are related to one another.

Both Quine and Wittgenstein, then, associate realism with the grammar of ‘true’ (and related expressions), not with a theory that purports to account for this grammar. Attempting to provide an account of the realist grammar of our language would be metaphysically extravagant, but discarding it in favor of some nonrealist alternative would sin against another basic tenet of Wittgenstein’s philosophy, his nonrevisionism, that is, his conviction that natural language is perfectly in order. I opened this overview with the assertion that the history of conventionalism is a history of a failed theory, yet one that is edifying nonetheless.

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Conventionalism: From Poincare to Quine by Yemima Ben-Menahem


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