Dictionary of Arguments

Philosophical and Scientific Issues in Dispute

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Disputed term/author/ism Author
Syntax Quine VII (a) 15
Syntax/Quine: their rules are meaningful in contrast to their notation.
VI 69
Syntax/Translation/Uncertainty/Quine: many of my readers have mistakenly assumed that uncertainty also extends to syntax. There was a subtle reason for this: in word and object (107, 129 136) it says:
VI 70
that also the specific apparatus of reification and object reference, which we make use of, is subject to uncertainty. To this apparatus belong the pronomina, the "=", (equal sign) the plural endings and whatever performs the tasks of the logical quantifiers. But it is wrong to assume that these mechanisms belonged to syntax!
VI 97
Spelling/Quine: resolves the syntax and lexicon of each content sentence and merges it with the interpreter's language. It then has no more complicated syntax than the addition sign.
VII (a) 15
Syntax/Quine/Goodman: their rules are meaningful as opposed to the notation itself.
XI 114
Language/Syntax/Lauener: Language cannot be regarded purely syntactically as the set of all correctly formed expressions, because an uninterpreted system is a mere formalism. ((s) This is not truthful).
XI 116
Lauener: it is a mistake to think that the language contributes the syntax but the theory contributes the empirical content. Therefore, one cannot say that an absolute theory can be formulated in different languages, or vice versa, that different (even contradictory) theories can be expressed in one language.
XI 136
Mathematics/QuineVsHilbert/Lauener: Mathematics is more than just syntax. Quine reluctantly professes Platonism.
XII 58
The problem of the inscrutability of the reference reaches much deeper than that of the indeterminacy of the translation: e.g. protosyntax. Protosyntax/Uncertainty/Quine: the language here is a formalized system of proof theory of the first level, whose subject area consists only of expressions, i.e. of character strings of a certain alphabet.
Expressions: are types here, not tokens! (no occurrences).
Each expression is the set of all its occurrences. (Summarized due to similarity of inscriptions).
For example, the concatenation x^y is the set of all inscriptions that consist of two parts. These parts are tokens of x and y.
Problem: it can happen that x^y is the empty set ((s) the combination does not occur) although both x and y are not empty.
XII 59
The probability of this problem increases with increasing length of x and y! N.B.: this violates a law of protosyntax that says:
x = z, if x^y = z^y.
Solution: then you will not understand the objects as sets of inscriptions.
But then you can still consider its atoms, the single characters as a set of inscriptions. Then there is no danger that the set is empty. ((s) because the atoms have to be there, even if not every combination).
N.B.: instead of interpreting the strings as sets of inscriptions, they can be regarded as a (mathematical) sequence (of characters).
Character String/Expression: is then a finite set of pairs of a sign and a number.
Vs: this is very artificial and complicated.
Simpler: Goedel numbers themselves (the characters disappear).
Problem: Question: How clear is it here that we have just started to talk about numbers instead of expressions?

The only thing that is reasonably clear is that we want to fulfill laws with artificial models that are supposed to fulfill expressions in a non-explicit sense.

XIII 199
Syntax/Quine: "glamour" and "grammar" were originally one and the same word.
XIII 200
Later, the meaning also included magic. Grammar: (in the narrower sense) said which chains of words or phonemes were coherent and which were not. Always related to a particular language.
Grammar: (wider sense): "The art of speaking" (in relation to the established use).
Syntax/Quine: for the narrower sense we do not really need the word "grammar", but "syntax". It is about which character strings belong to the language and which do not.
Problem: this is indefinite in two ways:
1. How the individuals are specified (formally, by components or phonemes) and
2. What qualifies them for the specification
XIII 201
Recognizability is too indeterminate (liberal). Problem: ungrammatical forms are used by many people and are not incomprehensible. A language that excludes these forms would be the dialect of a very small elite.
Problem: merely possible utterances in imaginable but not actual situations that are not themselves linguistic in nature.
Def ungrammatic/William Haas/Quine: a form that would not make sense in any imaginable fictitious situation.
Rules/Syntax/syntactic rules/Quine: are abstractions of the syntactic from long practice. They are the fulfillment of the first task (see above) to recognize which chains are grammatical.
XIII 202
Solution: this is mainly done by recursion, similar to family trees. It starts with words that are the simplest chains and then moves on to more complex constructions. It divides the growing repertoire into categories. Parts of Speach/Quine: there are eight: Nouns, pronouns, verb, adjective, adverb, preposition, conjunction, sentence.
Further subdivisions: transitive/intransitive, gender, etc. But this is hardly a beginning.
Nomina: even abstract ones like cognizance (of) and exception (to) are syntactically quite different, they stand with different prepositions.
Recursion/Syntax/Quine: if we wanted to win the whole syntax by recursion, it would have to be so narrow that two chains would never be counted as belonging to the same speech part, unless they could be replaced in all contexts salva congruitate.
Def Replaceability salva congruitate/Geach/Quine: preserves grammaticality, never returns ungrammatical forms.
VsRecursion/Problem: if speech parts were so narrowly defined, e.g. Nomina, which stand with different prepositions, they would then have to be counted among different kinds of speech parts. And these prepositions e.g. of and to, should not fall into the same category either! Then there would be too many kinds of speech parts, perhaps hundreds. Of which some would also be singletons ((s) categories with only one element).
Solution: to give up recursion after having the roughest divisions.

Quine I
W.V.O. Quine
Word and Object, Cambridge/MA 1960
German Edition:
Wort und Gegenstand Stuttgart 1980

Quine II
W.V.O. Quine
Theories and Things, Cambridge/MA 1986
German Edition:
Theorien und Dinge Frankfurt 1985

Quine III
W.V.O. Quine
Methods of Logic, 4th edition Cambridge/MA 1982
German Edition:
Grundzüge der Logik Frankfurt 1978

Quine V
W.V.O. Quine
The Roots of Reference, La Salle/Illinois 1974
German Edition:
Die Wurzeln der Referenz Frankfurt 1989

Quine VI
W.V.O. Quine
Pursuit of Truth, Cambridge/MA 1992
German Edition:
Unterwegs zur Wahrheit Paderborn 1995

Quine VII
W.V.O. Quine
From a logical point of view Cambridge, Mass. 1953

Quine VII (a)
W. V. A. Quine
On what there is
From a Logical Point of View, Cambridge, MA 1953

Quine VII (b)
W. V. A. Quine
Two dogmas of empiricism
From a Logical Point of View, Cambridge, MA 1953

Quine VII (c)
W. V. A. Quine
The problem of meaning in linguistics
From a Logical Point of View, Cambridge, MA 1953

Quine VII (d)
W. V. A. Quine
Identity, ostension and hypostasis
From a Logical Point of View, Cambridge, MA 1953

Quine VII (e)
W. V. A. Quine
New foundations for mathematical logic
From a Logical Point of View, Cambridge, MA 1953

Quine VII (f)
W. V. A. Quine
Logic and the reification of universals
From a Logical Point of View, Cambridge, MA 1953

Quine VII (g)
W. V. A. Quine
Notes on the theory of reference
From a Logical Point of View, Cambridge, MA 1953

Quine VII (h)
W. V. A. Quine
Reference and modality
From a Logical Point of View, Cambridge, MA 1953

Quine VII (i)
W. V. A. Quine
Meaning and existential inference
From a Logical Point of View, Cambridge, MA 1953

Quine VIII
W.V.O. Quine
Designation and Existence, in: The Journal of Philosophy 36 (1939)
German Edition:
Bezeichnung und Referenz
Zur Philosophie der idealen Sprache, J. Sinnreich (Hg) München 1982

Quine IX
W.V.O. Quine
Set Theory and its Logic, Cambridge/MA 1963
German Edition:
Mengenlehre und ihre Logik Wiesbaden 1967

Quine X
W.V.O. Quine
The Philosophy of Logic, Cambridge/MA 1970, 1986
German Edition:
Philosophie der Logik Bamberg 2005

Quine XII
W.V.O. Quine
Ontological Relativity and Other Essays, New York 1969
German Edition:
Ontologische Relativität Frankfurt 2003

Quine XIII
Willard Van Orman Quine
Quiddities Cambridge/London 1987