20140724【英译中】【独立博客】思考的方法:辨识无意义的字句(5)18句

冰绪 (冰绪) 路人甲
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发表于:2014-07-24 01:46 [只看楼主] [划词开启]




Related to the issue of meaninglessness are two others. First, some meaningful phrases fail to refer to anything because they assume something that is not so. An example is the present king of France. France does not have a king, so no matter what you say about the present king of France, it can't be true. (Nor, perhaps false. Some philosophers hold that it is not a statement at all.)

和无意义一说相关的还有两项。其一,一些有意义的短语无法指向指代任何事物,因为它假设了一个并不存在的前提。一个例子是“法国的前任国王”。法国并没有国王,所以,无论你如何述说法国的前任国王,都不可能为真。(也不是“可能为假”。一些哲学家甚至认为这根本就不是一个命题。)(thanks to @Daisy夭药



Second, some sentences are true by definition — they do not convey facts — they just say what they already assume. An example is, "All bachelors are unmarried." (Taking bachelor in the most common sense; I'm not referring to academic degrees here.) Such a sentence may give you information about the language, but it does not give you information about the world around you. By definition, if a man is married, we do not call him a bachelor. "All bachelors are unmarried" simply tells you how the word is used.

其二,有些句子符合“真”的定义——但它们并不包含事实——它们只是在重述它们事先预设的前提。一个例子是,“所有单身男子都未婚。”(这里指普遍意义上的单身男子;我并不是在说一种学术指标。)这样的语句有可能给你关于语言上的信息,但它不能提供给你周围世界的信息。在定义上,如果一个男人已婚,我们就不会称他为一个单身男子。“所有单身男子都未婚”只是说出了这个词如何使用罢了。(译注:这种逻辑错误一般称为“同义反复”。)







One of the main issues in philosophy for the past century has been that of identifying philosophical doctrines that are actually either meaningless or true by definition. Naturally, there are controversies about difficult cases. But "Everything happens according to the laws of nature" is an example of something that may be true by definition — whatever happens, we say that the "laws of nature" explain it in some way — the statement gives us no information.

过去一个世纪中,在上个世纪中,一个主要的哲学议题就是辨别究竟哪些哲学教条是没有意义的,而哪些又只是符合为真的定义。当然,其中存在各种各样的争议。“一切事物的发生都遵循自然法则”就是一个例子,它符合为真的定义,——无论发生什么,我们都能从某个方面解释“自然法则”——但这个命题并未提供给我们任何信息。



Now consider the old physical theory that all of space was full of a substance called "aether," invisible, massless, but serving as the medium of propagation of light and radio waves. It gradually became clear that statements about aether were meaningless because aether had no observable properties at all and there would be no way to distinguish between a universe that had aether and one that did not. The notion of aether was abandoned, but the name lives on in Ethernet, a type of computer network that uses radio waves inside a coaxial cable.

现在我们可以来想想一种古老的哲学假想物理学假说,它认为所有的空间都充斥着一种名为“以太”的物质,“以太”不可见,没有质量,但作为光与电磁波的传播介质存在着。人们逐渐意识到关于以太的命题是没有意义的,因为以太完全没有可供观察的特性,也没有任何方法能够区分一个充满以太的宇宙与一个不存在以太的宇宙。以太的概念被人们抛弃了,但它的名字留在了“以太网”中——一种通过同轴电缆传输无线电波的电脑网络。( thanks to @Daisy夭药 and @SiyaHN )



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最后编辑于:2014-07-29 00:08
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