Preserving Ambiguity in Translation
I'm studying Plato's Parmenides
in a graduate seminar this semester. It is rather a baffling text, and there is a wealth of secondary literature which contains little consensus on anything. Today, as I was reading Constance Meinwald's guidebook to the dialog, I came across an issue in the translation of the text which I think is relevant to a number of discussion about Bible translation that I've had on-blog, and thought I would share. The issue is one of preserving a (probably intentional) ambiguity in the original in translation, and thus with the degree of interpretation done by translators, and the degree left up to readers of the translation.
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Descartes, Berkeley, and Moore on the Existence of the Spiritual and the Physical
I have been thinking recently about Moore's argument for the existence of the physical world.
For those who may not be familiar, Moore's argument looks something like this:
- Here is one hand; here is another
- If there are two hands here, then two hands exist.
- Hands are physical objects
- Therefore, physical objects exist
This simple argument seems to be part of the reason why many contemporary analytic philosophers do not consider idealism a live issue (something that I intend to make it my business to change). However, it seems to me to have two enormous and equally simple defects:
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- It isn't actually an objection to Berkeley's theory, since Berkeley accepts all of the premises and the conclusion.
- Most people who make this argument are physicalists but if you accept the argument then, by parity of reasoning, you must allow Descartes to prove the existence of the soul.