|Gavagai: fantasy word from a thought experiment of W.V.O. Quine. An expression (or fragment) of a completely foreign language is not unambiguously translatable into a known language, because it is not determined, whereupon the expression of the foreign language relates. Even pointing to an object does not create unambiguity. E.g. only a part or a property of the object can be referred to. See also translation, indeterminacy, translation manual, analytical hypothesis, uncertainty, reference, meaning.|
|Quine, Willard Van Orman
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Gavagai: the totality of the sentences can be permuted so that verbal behavior remains, but correlation disappears - translation manuals can be internally consistent and mutually incompatible.
I stimulus 67: Gavagai: stimulus, not rabbits - (> forgery) - review by society.
GavagaiVs description myth.
Reference/Gavagai/Quine: problem: we do not know whether the child who agrees to "red" also referred to red - Red: can be general term for set of red surfaces - or general term for any visible color spot - but not for parts of color spots - this does not allow abstraction - no problem: to realize that the reference is made to the mere presence of red - different translation manuals lead to different translations.
Gavagai/Quine: the translation vagueness in particular should not be shown with that, because the translation with "Look, a rabbit" is well secured - what it was about was that the reference is not determined by the translation. - Because "Gavagai" is a whole sentence, there was no compensation possibility - Reference/explanation: reference is explained by quote eradication "rabbit" refers to rabbit.
Gavagai/Quine: must neglect differences such as "There is a rabbit" and "Look, a rabbit" - no single term can be attributed, but only an entire sentence in which "rabbit" appears - do not assume objectification - even if the presence of rabbits is an expression condition, they might still be temporal stages or rabbit parts - not sufficient: to ask whether "an X is present" - solution: "the same x" - expression conditions not sufficient to know whether the stranger refers to an object - Solution: A-u-B at least acknowledgment for whole sentences.
Gavagai/Quine: Problem: a whole rabbit is given iff a non-severed part or a temporal stage is given.
Gavagai/color/color word/generic term/mass term/Quine: the big difference between "Rabbit" and "Sepia" is that "Sepia" is a mass term like "water" - "Rabbit" on the other hand, is a term of crushed reference. Therefore it cannot be dominated without individuation principle. One must know where one rabbit ends and another one begins - that does not work by pointing (ostension) - where does a Gavagai end and where does another one begin? - inextricably - ((s) Because Gavagai is not a mass term, that is important.) - Important argument: if you take the part of the universe, which consists of rabbits, it is identical to the part, which consists of un-severed rabbit parts and with the one that consists of temporal stages of rabbits - only difference: how to split it - ostension cannot teach that - pointing to a whole is always also pointing to its parts and vice versa.
Translation Manual: no solution: Problem: stage/part/rabbit: perhaps we always ask in a foreign language "Do they belong together?" instead of "Is it the same?" without knowing it.
Gavagai/Quine: behaviorist criterion: a stable, relatively homogeneous object against a background will probably be denoted by a relatively short term - but merely imposed on the foreign language - (yet reasonable hypothesis).
Gavagai/native tongue/part/whole/time stage/Quine: within our own language, we can distinguish between whole rabbits, rabbit parts and rabbit stages, because the apparatus of individuation (plural, pronoun, identity, quantification, etc.) is determined - when translating from another language, this itself is subject to indeterminacy.
Gavagai/Japanese/classifier/Quine: 1) numeral "5" 2) animal classifier 3) "Ox" - Explanation A: declined numeral of the genus "animal" (ox: individuative term, here for all cattle) - B: 3rd word here mass term "lifestock" (e.g. here only cattle) - Japanese: in both cases "five cattle" - German: both equally good translations - both fit into language behavior - reference (extension): different.
Wort und Gegenstand Stuttgart 1980
Theorien und Dinge Frankfurt 1985
Grundzüge der Logik Frankfurt 1978
Mengenlehre und ihre Logik Wiesbaden 1967
Die Wurzeln der Referenz Frankfurt 1989
Unterwegs zur Wahrheit Paderborn 1995
From a logical point of view Cambridge, Mass. 1953
Bezeichnung und Referenz
Zur Philosophie der idealen Sprache, J. Sinnreich (Hg), München 1982
Philosophie der Logik Bamberg 2005
Ontologische Relativität Frankfurt 2003