Indeterminacy of translation as a hermeneutic doctrine
Lorenzo Peña
Quine's Indeterminacy of Translation thesis is grounded in language-verificationism -- the claim that language contains no unverifiable relation. Quine's thesis issues in a hermeneutic doctrine to the effect that exegetical disputes are empty, any construal's correctness depending on the choice of a translation manual alone. Gadamer, on the other hand, maintains that a sense is bestowed upon a text by the interpreter's understanding horizon, the comprehension thus secured amounting to a merging of horizons. Translation, according to Gadamer, is to be conceived as a recreation (Nachbildung). While there are differences between Quine's and Gadamer' s views, I emphasize their deep agreements. They both are in the end committed to embrace sense-relativism and so to regard clashing interpretations as correct upon adequate choices. That relativism is found fault with; for it entails that philosophical deliberation is futile, insomuch as a philosophical system can be construed in such a way as to be equivalent to another, when what was going on was pondering on which of them, if any, was true. The paper concludes by rejecting the assumptions Quine's and Gadamer's hermeneutic doctrines of sense-indeterminacy are based on.
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