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Author Lindahl, James Carl
Title Anthropological approaches to the philosophy of translation
book jacket
Descript 314 p
Note Source: Dissertation Abstracts International, Volume: 60-09, Section: A, page: 3396
Adviser: M. Alison Wylie
Thesis (Ph.D.)--The University of Western Ontario (Canada), 1999
Philosophical thinking about the rationality of foreign beliefs depends, fundamentally, on assumptions concerning how we understand and represent other belief systems. Systematic approaches to belief analysis must confront the issue of cross-cultural meaning transfer or "translation theory." Despite the theoretical centrality of the issue of translation, there remains a great deal of disagreement, not only over the possibility of isomorphic semantic transfer between languages, but, more importantly, on just what the project of translating the beliefs of the Other amounts to. A careful reading of the translation procedure implicit in contemporary anthropological work makes it clear that abstract philosophical theories of translation are at odds with the cross-linguistic interpretive procedure implicit in anthropological practice
In chapters one--three, I explicate the model of translation presupposed by many of the contributors to the "rationality debates" and re-consider issues central to cross-cultural interpretation. This account is grounded in an analysis of Evans-Pritchard's often cited, Witchcraft, Oracles and Magic among the Azande. A careful reading of that work as well as a new interpretation of the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis of linguistic relativity reveal the promise of re-characterizing the issue of cross-cultural understanding as the problem of translation
In chapters four--five, I extend this anthropological analysis to provide a critical contrast to the influential translation theories of Quine and Davidson. While they find good reason to question the idea that translation involves simple "meaning" transfer, addressing recent linguistic anthropology, I call into question the appropriateness of the widely endorsed "principle of charity" in translation theory
In chapters six--eight, I draw lessons from recent anthropological critiques of representation and apply them to philosophical theories of translation. Although I argue that anthropological analysis provides grounds for rejecting the strictly epistemological/rationalist formulations of translation theory, I propose that recent anthropological work provides a strategy for re-grounding cross-linguistic interpretation on ethical/political considerations. The reconstrual I propose broadens the focus of translation theory from an exclusive preoccupation with word, sentence, and text, and further takes account of the politics of the academic communities that make use of these texts
School code: 0784
Host Item Dissertation Abstracts International 60-09A
Subject Anthropology, Cultural
Language, General
Alt Author The University of Western Ontario (Canada)
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