If a equals a (A=A) and a equals b (A=B), how come A=A ≠ A=B. What informs A through B which A doesn't inform itself?
Picked from: Conversations with History - John Perry on YouTube. (Link button does not work)
" I asked for a reference to the debate that you mentioned."
Here's the reference I thought was quite obvious though I obfuscateded it to see if you had read what you linked. Russell, which is pretty much always dead on, was dead wrong about concepts which are very Germanic. It makes it difficult to have deep thoughts on words which you can't fully understand.
From the very Wiki article you yourself served with the approriate underlining:
The distinction between Sinn and Bedeutung (usually but not always translated sense and reference, respectively) was an innovation of the German philosopher and mathematician Gottlob Frege in his 1892 paper Über Sinn und Bedeutung (On Sense and Reference),
There is no standard translation which fully explains the words. And philosophy is all about getting the meaning of words right. Language, especially if you don't speak it well, makes that more difficult to grasp concepts which is exactly what you founded your initial counterargument on - argument from ignorance about meaning of non-literal translation of words:
"I've never heard of that as a debate. (,but) Both words have a very literal translations into English, which should hold up in most contexts."
No they don't, and just because you haven't heard about it doesn't mean I'm claiming there's a teapot out there.
I read about Fregel's issue from different sources, but I didn't want to reference them because they relied on translations to English. I can't vouch for their veracity. I only glossed the wikipedia entry to see if it contained the gist of what was relevant; it was the most expedient link so that you could have a general reference and decide where to go from there. I just assumed that the limited reliability of wikipedia would be understood. I thought you might want to look up Fregel's words directly in a different language, possibly the original German (I don't know what your language preferences are). Notice how I referred to it as a 'launch point'? I was never suggesting that wikipedia should have been a principle reference, and I think it fairly implies that I wasn't using it that way myself.
I never claimed to have read all of the wikipedia entry. I didn't even imply it. I'm not personally interested in Betrand Russel's commentary. Why are you taking this side track? I have no difficulty admitting that I'm stubborn and will bite easily.
"There is no standard translation which fully explains the words. And philosophy is all about getting the meaning of words right."
Yes, I'm already well aware of the troubles with translating 'Sinn' and 'Bedeutung'. I never once asked you about this. I have been very clear. I am asking what the 'können/ denken debate' refers to. Only that. That only. Of all questions in all the universe that may be asked, this is the only question I am asking. Just. This. One.
"No they don't, and just because you haven't heard about it doesn't mean I'm claiming there's a teapot out there."
I never said that the debate doesn't exist. I've never implied it either. I asked you for a reference to it so that I can explore the issue myself. Why can't you get that through your skull?
As for direct translations, I am being directly literal with the words here in their common, typical meanings. For instance, "Können Tiere denken?" being translated into "Are animals able to think?" There is zero loss in meaning in that translation -- I even preserved the infinitives. There is no unique, untranslatable meaning in the German version. Unless I am mistaken, that is a very typical way to use those words. You've given me no other context by which to frame these words aside from an utterly meaningless statement that it's with regard to philosophy. So what? The ability of animals to think is also partially a matter of philosophy. Which philosophy are you talking about? What resource will define or display 'können' und 'denken' in their uniquely German philosophical context? Again, I don't care if it's in German. I will navigate my own way around that hurdle.
I am more than open to the possibility of other uses for the words such as atypical overtones, alternate definitions, specific contexts etc., but by and large the words will be rightly translated at 'can' (inf. to be able) and 'to think'. You won't even clarify is there is a specific context in which these words, other wise translatable, should not be taken at their literal meanings.
The statement I initially quoted is ambiguous and even grammatically incorrect to the point that it confounds meaning. For reference:
" Btw, it's reminds me about the whole können/denken debate which don't have good immediate translations into English."
You are abusing the idiom 'by the way'. I assume that "it's" was a typo. The biggest issue is that you have a subject-verb disagreement that makes it very difficult to clearly understand your specific meaning. Which part doesn't have good immediate translations? The words? The debate? What is the debate about? A point of philosophy described as 'können/denken"? The relationship of those words on a semantic level? Abstract concepts attributed to those words? The ability of the words to be translated? What?
'By the way' means that you are imparting further information, but functionally you have not done this and refuse to do this. If you say 'btw', I expect what follows to be more than trivial. Instead, you keep jumping to topics completely irrelevant to my inquiry. The fact that you are reminded of something that is functionally useless to me is trivial.
Btw, this whole exchange reminds me of something I won't clarify for you and refuse to even frame in a way that makes it in any way meaningful or relevant to this discourse.
Stole this one from the interwebz:
An eccentric philosophy professor gave a one question final exam after a semester dealing with a broad array of topics.
The class was already seated and ready to go when the professor picked up his chair, plopped it on his desk and wrote on the board, and said:
"Using everything we have learned this semester, prove that this chair does not exist ."
Fingers flew, erasers erased, notebooks were filled in furious fashion.
Some students wrote over 20 pages in one hour, attempting to refute the existence of the chair.
One member of the class however, was up and finished in less than a minute.
Weeks later, when the grades were posted, the rest of the group wondered how he could have gotten an "A" when he had barely written anything at all. Word soon spread when it was learned what his answer had been. His answer had consisted of only two words:
-- "What chair?"
"If a equals a (A=A) and a equals b (A=B), how come A=A ≠ A=B. What informs A through B which A doesn't inform itself?"
Doesn't this all simply depend upon how you define "equal?" I see no reason why, philosophically, one couldn't argue with equal validity A=A = A=B or A=A ≠ A=B.
Im having no difficulty understanding what you are saying.You said "I would have chosen Bertrand Russel as a better example of a philosopher who also did useful work". Why did you bother even saying this if you werent making a distinction between the two? Surely you dont mean to belittle the contributions Descartes has made to the world?
You are missing the point of philosophy. You think that philosophy is just saying 'I think therefore I am' for no reason. What you fail to realise is that these questions highlight issues which become important when thinking of more complex problems.
Its like the schoolboy who criticises matrices because he cannot see the point or the person who criticises theoretical mathematics/physics even though they may have great purpose in the future. Those astronomers who first looked up at the sky would have been considered as doing something pointless... but only now, thousands of years later are we starting to reach up into space.
Likewise, all these theories and philosophies which you see no point in can literally change the world and the way that you see it. Look at Communism or Neoliberal ideology.
Im not sure what your occupation is, but people live their lives outside of the laboratory and all their interactions, behaviours and beliefs are at the end of the day founded on philosophy.
I dont know what more I can say to make you a bit more open minded about the topic except to say that if all the great men of science throughout history have seen some importance in philosophy, then maybe it is you who cannot read. :p
"Astronomy is a *very* new science."
The field of Archaeoastronomy and Stonehenge disagrees: