Comparative philosophy between two disparate cultural-philosophic traditions, such as Western and Chinese philosophy, has become a new trend of philosophical fashion in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. Having learned from the past, contemporary comparative philosophers cautiously safeguard their comparative studies against two potential pitfalls, namely cultural universalism and cultural relativism. The Orientalism that assumed the superiority of the Occidental has become a memory of the past. The historical pendulum has apparently swung to the other extreme. The more recent (...) "reverse Orientalism" has started to reclaim the superiority of the Oriental. We have even been told that the twenty-first... (shrink)
Kuhn's alleged taxonomic interpretation of incommensurability is grounded on an ill defined notion of untranslatability and is hence radically incomplete. To supplement it, I reconstruct Kuhn's taxonomic interpretation on the basis of a logical-semantic theory of taxonomy, a semantic theory of truth-value, and a truth-value conditional theory of cross-language communication. According to the reconstruction, two scientific languages are incommensurable when core sentences of one language, which have truth values when considered within its own context, lack truth values when considered within (...) the context of the other due to the unmatchable taxonomic structures underlying them. So constructed, Kuhn's mature interpretation of incommensurability does not depend upon the notion of truth-preserving translatability, but rather depends on the notion of truth-value-status-preserving cross-language communication. The reconstruction makes Kuhn's notion of incommensurability a well grounded, tenable and integrated notion.Author Keywords: Incommensurability; Thomas Kuhn; Taxonomic structures; Lexicons; Truth-value; Untranslatability; Cross-language communication. (shrink)
Despite Donald Davidson's influential criticism of the very notion of conceptual schemes, the notion continues enjoying its popularity in contemporary philosophy and, accordingly, conceptual relativism is still very much alive. There is one major reason responsible for Davidson's failure which has not been widely recognized: What Davidson attacks fiercely is not the very notion, but a notion of conceptual schemes, namely, the Quinean notion of conceptual schemes and its underlying Kantian scheme-content dualism. However, such a notion simply cannot carry the (...) weight of conceptual relativism for it does not catch the essences of conceptual relativism. Consequently, I argue that the very notion of conceptual schemes and conceptual relativism have survived Davidson's attack. Therefore, the failure of the Quinean notion of conceptual schemes and Kantian scheme-content dualism, even if Davidson can claim victory, does not mark the end of the very notion of conceptual schemes.[ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]. (shrink)
According to the received translational interpretation of incommensurability, incommensurability is viewed as untranslatability due to radical variance of meaning or reference of the terms in two competing scientific languages. The author argues that the translational approach to incommensurability does not effectively clarify the concept of incommensurability. Since it cannot provide us with tenable, integrated concept of incommensurability, it should be rejected.
Against the received translation-failure interpretation, this book presents a presuppositional interpretation of incommensurability, that is, the thesis of incommensurability as cross-language communication breakdown due to the incompatible metaphysical presuppositions underlying two competing presuppositional languages, such as scientific languages. This semantically sound, epistemologically well-established, and metaphysically profound interpretation not only affirms the tenability of the notion of incommensurability and confirms the reality of the phenomenon of incommensurability, but also makes some significant contributions to the discussion of many related issues, such as (...) the notion of conceptual schemes, the notion of truth-value status and truth-value conditions, and the issue of cross-language understanding and communication. (shrink)
Why is mutual understanding between two substantially different comprehensive language communities often problematic and even unattainable? To answer this question, the author first introduces a notion of presuppositional languages. Based on the semantic structure of a presuppositional language, the author identifies a significant condition necessary for effective understanding of a language: the interpreter is able to effectively understand a language only if he/she is able to recognize and comprehend its metaphysical presuppositions. The essential role of the knowledge of metaphysical presuppositions (...) in understanding is further strengthened by developing a truth-value conditional theory of understanding. It is concluded that if the interpreter approaches an incompatible alien language from the standpoint of the interpreter's own language by projecting the metaphysical presuppositions of his/her own language upon the alien language, then the mutual understanding between the two language communities is doomed to failure. (shrink)
It is a common wisdom that linguistic communication is different from linguistic understanding. However, the distinction between communication and understanding is not as clear as it seems to be. It is argued that the relationship between linguistic communication and understanding depends upon the notions of understanding and communication involved. Thinking along the line of propositional understanding and informative communication, communication can be reduced to mutual understanding. In contrast, operating along the line of hermeneutic understanding and dialogical communication, the process of (...) understanding is in essence a process of communication. However, dialogical communication should not be confused with propositional understanding. Conversely, hermeneutic understanding should not be confused with informative communication either. The former is dialogical in nature while the latter is monological. (shrink)
The current discussions of conceptual schemes and related topics are misguided; for they are based on a tacit assumption that the difference between two schemes consists in the different distributions in truth-values. I argue that what should concern us, in the discussions of conceptual schemes and related issues, is not truth-values of assertions, but rather the truth-value-status of the sentences used to make the assertions. This is because the genuine conceptual innovation between alternative theories or languages does not lie in (...) differences in determining truth-values of their sentences, but turns on whether these sentences have truth-values when considered within the context of a competing one. This new interpretation of the notion of conceptual schemes, which I refer to as presuppositional languages, is not only good in itself—for establishing the intelligibility and tenability of the notion—but quite beneficial in its effect on other related issues. (shrink)
What the authors attempt to address in this paper is a Kantian question: not whether, but how is cross -cultural understanding possible? And specifically, what is a more effective approach for cross -cultural understanding? The answer lies in an analysis of two different models of cross -cultural understanding, that is, propositional and hermeneutic understanding. To begin with, the author presents a linguistic interpretation of culture, i.e., a culture as a linguistically formulated and transmitted symbolic system with its conceptual core as (...) a scheme of basic cultural presuppositions, which it referred to as a cultural language. After exploring the essential role of cultural presuppositions in cross -cultural understanding, the author discusses the traditional model of cross -cultural understanding, namely, the propositional model. Through critically examining the two popular versions of the propositional model, i.e., the projective approach and the adoptive approach to cross -cultural understanding, it is found that cross -cultural propositional understanding is doomed to failure. To move us beyond the absolutism -relativism trap embedded within propositional understanding, the author first introduces and discusses Hans-Georg Gadamer’s hermeneutic understanding, and then applies Hans-Georg Gadamer’s hermeneutic model of understanding to cross -cultural understanding. It is finally concluded that cross -cultural understanding is essentially hermeneutic—including the case of cultural learning, not propositional. Therefore, cross -cultural understanding is hermeneutically possible. (shrink)
摘要：通常所接受对库恩有关不可通约性的分类学解释的理解建立在不可译性概念之上，因而是相当不完善的。为了弥补此不足，本文在分类之逻辑语义理论 (a logical-semantic theory of taxonomy)、真值语义理论 (a semantic theory of truth-value)，以及跨语言交流的真值条件理论 (a truth-value conditional theory of cross-language communication) 之基础上，对库恩有关不可通约性的分类学解释进行了重建。根据这种重建，如果两个科学语言具有不相匹配的分类结构，则当一科学语言的核心语句在其所属语境中具有真值、而在另一科学语言之语境中考虑缺乏真值时，这两 种科学语言乃不可通约。通过这种重建，库恩对于不可通约性的成熟解释并非基于保真 (truth-preserving) 可译性或不可译性的概念，而是基于保留真值状态 (truth-value-preserving) 的跨语言交流概念之上。这种重建使得库恩有关不可通约性的解释更具坚实的理论基础、也在概念上更加完整。.
The current discussions of conceptual schemes and related topics are misguided; for they have been focused too much on the truth-conditional notions of meaning/concepts and translation/interpretation in Tarski's style. It is exactly due to such a Quinean interpretation of the notion of conceptual schemes that the very notion of conceptual schemes falls prey to Davidson's attack. We argue that what should concern us in the discussions of conceptual schemes and related issues, following the initiatives of I. Hacking, T. Kuhn, and (...) N. Rescher, is not the truth-values of assertions, but rather the truthvalue-status of the sentences used to make the assertions. This is because the genuine conceptual innovation between alternative theories/languages does not lie in differences in determining the truth-values of their sentences, but turns on whether these sentences have truth-values when considered within the context of a competing one. The core of conceptual relativism does not consist in the claim that different conceptual schemes may yield incommensurable truth claims, but rather that different conceptual schemes may yield incompatible truth-value-status and therefore lead to distinct perceptions of reality. Conceptual schemes are no longer seen as sentential languages consisting of a set of sentences accepted as true, but rather seen as metaphysical presuppositions of presuppositional languages.[ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]. (shrink)
内容提要：本文综合评述当代认识论的现状以及主干近10 年来主要发展趋势和最新理论贡献。它首先介绍一些必要的理论背景：盖梯尔难题，闭合原则，内在论与外在论之争(第2节)，然后分6 节集中讨论、评述：(i) 温和基础主义的兴起及发展(第3 节) ； (ii) 对认知怀疑论的最新表述及回应(第4 节) ； (iii) 认知无限辨明论(第5 节) ；(iv) 认知语境主义的兴起，其理论贡献，以及存在的问题；(v) 德性认识论的二个模型，它们的优点,和现有的问题。最后简单讨论当代认识论面临的危机与机遇。 -/- Abstract: This article surveys the current state of affairs and some important new developments of epistemology in the past 10 years. It first introduces some necessary theoretical background (the Gettier problem, the closure principle, and internalism vs. externalism), and then focuses on (i) the rise and development of modest forms of foundationalism, (ii) recent debates on epistemic skepticism, (iii) epistemic infinitism, (iv) epistemic contextualism (...) and its contributions and problems, (v) two models of virtue epistemology, its merits and existing issues. It ends with a brief review of the theoretical crisis faced with contemporary epistemology and its opportunities. (shrink)
D. Davidson argues that the existence of alternative conceptual schemes presupposes the Kantian scheme-content dualism, which requires a scheme-neutral empirical content and a fixed, sharp schemecontent distinction. The dismantlement of such a Kantian scheme-content dualism, which Davidson calls “the third dogma of empiricism”, would render the notion of alternative conceptual schemes groundless. To counter Davidson’s attack on the notion of alternative conceptual schemes, I argue that alternative conceptual schemes neither entail nor presuppose the Kantian scheme-content dualism. On the contrary, it (...) is exactly the abandonment of the concept-neutral content and the denial of a fixed, absolute scheme-content distinction that turns the Kantian conceptualabsolutism upside down and thus makes alternative conceptual schemes possible. Proposing common-sense experience as the empirical content of alternative schemes, I construct and defend a non-Kantian scheme-content dualism based on a non-fixed, relative scheme-content distinction. The proposed non-Kantian scheme-content dualism is not only “innocent” enough to be immune from Davidson’s charge of the third dogma of empiricism, but also “solid” enough to be able to sustain alternative conceptual schemes. I conclude that in terms of our conceptual schemes, we are connected to the world as closely as possible; only through conceptual schemes can we be connected to the world. (shrink)
On the basis of the distinction between logical and factual probability, epistemic justification is distinguished from logical justification of induction. It is argued that, contrary to the accepted interpretation of Hume, Hume believes that inductive inferences are epistemically legitimate and justifiable. Hence the beliefs arrived at via (correct) inductive inferences are rational beliefs. According to this interpretation, Hume is not a radical skeptic about induction.
What is the ontological status of facts? Are facts linguistic or extra-linguistic entities? If facts are extra-linguistic entities, are they mind-independent or relative to languages, theories or conceptual schemes? Based on a minimal definition of facts, the author argues that what are specified by true statements are not identical to true propositions expressed, so facts are not linguistic entities. Furthermore, what are specified by true statements are not to which a true statement corresponds, so facts are not mind-independent, either as (...) concrete entities in the universe or as abstract entities in the world as it is. Last, the author presents an internal factual realist answer: although facts are neither in the world as it is, nor in a language, facts are real and exist in a world under consideration. A fact, as a non-linguistic correlate of a true statement of a language, exists in a world specified by the language. (shrink)
The Symbolic Logic Study Guide is designed to accompany the widely used symbolic logic textbook Language, Proof and Logic (LPL), by Jon Barwise and John Etchemendy (CSLI Publications 2003). The guide has two parts. The first part contains condensed, essential lecture notes, which streamline and systematize the first fourteen chapters of the book into seven teaching sections, and thus provide a clear, well-designed roadmap for the understanding of the text. The second part consists of twelve sample quizzes and solutions. The (...) Symbolic Logic Study Guide is essential for all instructors and students who use LPL in their symbolic logic classes. (shrink)
According to the accepted translation-failure interpretation, the problem of incommensurability involves the nature of the meaning-referential relation between scientific languages. The incommensurability thesis is that some competing scientific languages are mutually untranslatable due to the radical variance of meaning or/and reference of the terms they employ. I argue that this interpretation faces many difficulties and cannot give us a tenable, coherent, and integrated notion of incommensurability. It has to be rejected. ;On the basis of two case studies, I find that (...) the confrontations between many classical incommensurable languages are not confrontations between two untranslatable languages with different distribution of truth values, but rather the confrontations between incompatible fundamental presuppositions at the ontological level. We can always identify a truth-value gap between two incommensurable languages. Such a truth-value gap indicates a communication breakdown between the two language communities on the one hand, and is caused by the incompatible fundamental presuppositions underlying them on the other. ;I thereby identify the truth-value functional relationship between sentences, instead of the meaning-referential relationship between terms, as the dominant semantic relation between two incommensurable languages. According to my presuppositional interpretation of incommensurability, the real secret of incommensurability lies in the ontological setup of two competing presuppositional languages. When two presuppositional languages with incompatible factual commitments encounter with each other, the confrontation leads to a truth-value gap, and consequently a communication breakdown between them. Formally put, two scientific languages are incommensurable when core sentences of one language, which have truth values when considered within its own context, lack truth values when considered within the context of the other due to an ontological gap between them. ;The presuppositional interpretation makes many significant contributions to the discussion of the issue of incommensurability and the related metaphysical and epistemological issues: It confirms the existence of the phenomenon of incommensurability and makes it metaphysically and epistemologically significant. It establishes the tenability and integrity of the notion of incommensurability. It avoids many alleged unattractive epistemological and metaphysical consequences of the translation-failure interpretation. (shrink)