Wie Schiffer sind wir, die ihr Schiff auf offener See umbauen müssen, ohne es jemals in einem Dock zerlegen und aus besten Bestandteilen neu errichten zu können. — Otto Neurath
Ontology recapitulates philology. — James Grier Miller
To Rudolf Carnap / Teacher and Friend
Language is a social art. In acquiring it we have to depend entirely on intersubjectively available cues as to what to say and when.
True, no experiment may be expected to settle an ontological issue; but this is only because such issues are connected with surface irritations in such multifarious ways, through such a maze of intervening theory.
Language consists of dispositions, socially instilled, to respond observably to socially observable stimuli. Such is the point of view from which a noted philosopher and logician examines the notion of meaning and the linguistic mechanisms of objective reference. In the course of the discussion, Professor Quine pinpoints the difficulties involved in translation, brings to light the anomalies and conflicts implicit in our language's referential apparatus, clarifies semantic problems connected with the imputation of existence, and marshals reasons for admitting or repudiating each of various categories of supposed objects. He argues that the notion of a language-transcendent "sentence-meaning" must on the whole be rejected; meaningful studies in the semantics of reference can only be directed toward substantially the same language in which they are conducted.
(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:25:28 -0400)