Philosophical Alternatives 6/2018

Issue editor: Doroteya Angelova
CONTENTS & Abstracts &Keywords

Sergey Gerdzhikov – Indeterminacy of Translation and Linguistic Anthropology (Part 1)
: Quine's thesis regarding indeterminacy (linked to relativity) of translation passes into the thesis regarding the inscrutability of reference, developed within the framework of a philosophical project in which natural science is seen as the only form of empirical knowledge (naturalism). Following the tradition of analytic philosophy, Quine uses speculative ("thought") experiments, such as that of the radical translator (a linguist interpreter in a foreign culture and lacking a mediator). If we accept Quine's approach and naturalism project, and his theses about reference and translation, we can check the extent to which his experiments and analyses have meaning and validity in linguistic anthropology and to what extent linguists themselves use and criticize them. Developed as a speculative experiment and debate regarding natural language, Quine's thesis makes sense in the framework of analytic philosophy, but, like other purely philosophical theses, is fictional and poorly referred to the empirical situations of translation in linguistic anthropology. I apply here some relevant conclusions regarding indeterminacy, which are drawn from my Philosophy of Relativity (Gerdjikov 2008).
Keywords: translation; Quine; indeterminacy; language; science; conceptual scheme; linguistics; anthropology; analytical philosophy

Lilia Gyurova – Quine on Dispositional Explanations as a Mark of Immature Science and an Alternative Point of View
: Dispositions play a key role in Quine's philosophy of language as well as in his explanations of behavior. At the same time, Quine argues that the use of dispositional explanations is a mark of immaturity in the scientific disciplines that rely on such explanations. The aim of this paper is to show why Quine's verdict on dispositional explanations is untenable. First, it is argued that Quine does not attach importance to the fact that even the most mature theories in contemporary physics and biology quite often define their objects through the dispositional properties that these objects supposedly possess. An alternative analysis of dispositional explanations is then proposed, in terms of the inferences that these explanations allow for. The author's analysis reveals that the inferential content which a dispositional explanation adds is often larger than the inferential content of the rival explanation that replaces the explanatory disposition with underlying structures or mechanisms. This result justifies the assertion that, at least in some cases, dispositional explanations do a better job and should therefore not be treated as a mark of scientific immaturity.
Keywords : Quine; Quine on dispositions; dispositional explanations; explanation and understanding; inferential analysis of explanations; inferential content.

Konstantin Yanakiev
– Six Variations on Quinean Holism
: 1) The adaptation of our system of knowledge to “recalcitrant experience” can be postponed, even indefinitely. 2) This also holds true for the elimination of contradictions internal to the system. 3) Hence, the system does not automatically obey the laws of logic and the logical relations between statements are never definite. 4) There is not only one system of knowledge comprising all sentences, ranging “from the most casual matters of geography and history to the profoundest laws of atomic physics or even of pure mathematics and logic”; there are numerous such systems. 5) Since logic is no less answerable to the “tribunal of sense experience” than are the natural sciences, their laws can also be regarded as rules of inference. 6) The system's function (and the stimulus to its continuous reconstruction) is not merely to predict future sense perceptions, but also to actively create phenomena.
Keywords: holism; Quine; experience; prediction; production; logic; natural sciences

Hristo Valchev – Some Reflections on Quine's Criticism of Logical Positivism
: Quine criticizes two of the main theses of logical positivism: reductionism and the view that there is a distinction between analytic and synthetic statements. In the present inquiry, I present the main line of this critique and consider a possible defense of the view that there is a distinction between analytic and synthetic statements. I argue that this view can be defended by distinguishing between two senses of the word "meaning" – one in which it refers to a mental entity, and another in which it refers to a certain property of behavior. Here it must be assumed that, when we refer to "meaning" in relation to the concepts of analytic and synthetic, we use the word in the latter sense. We have reasons to believe that Quine himself would have accepted this way of defense.
Keywords : Quine; logical positivism; reductionism; analyticity; meaning; synonymy.

Denitsa Zhelyazkova – The Ontological Motivations оf the Theory of Denoting: Before and after Quine
. The problem of denoting has a long history in analytic philosophy. Its roots can be traced to its fathers, Frege and Russell. People often use names without knowing for sure whether the "objects" they name are actually denoting. Russell's method of analysis, introduced by him in the article On Denoting (1905), largely solves the problem. One of Russell's main reasons to apply the analysis is to enable us to meaningfully make statements about non-existent objects. Russell insists that only logically proper names denote, while descriptions and hidden descriptions must be eliminated. Quine proceeds from Russell's theory of single descriptions and expands it. Naming is not a criterion for ontological commitment because names can be converted (paraphrased) into descriptions and Russell's method of analysis in 1905 showed how descriptions could be eliminated. Hence, Quine's famous slogan in On What There Is (1948) states: "to be is to be the value of a bound variable" (Quine, 1948: 594). This article aims to elucidate two questions: 1) Do "related variables" bind us? 2) Is existence a property of objects or a property of a propositional function?
Keywords : denoting; proposition; variable; propositional function; Quine.
Kamen Lozev – The Linguistic Turn and the Emergence of Logical Analysis of Language: Gottlob Frege (1891–1895)
: The paper reveals the changes which took place in Frege's way of thinking in the years 1891-1895 with regard to some fundamental notions defended in his Begriffsschrift, 1879. The “judgeable content” was rethought in terms of its Sinn (meaning) and Bedeutung (sense or denotation). This change of mind helped Frege explain the epistemological and informative aspects of identity statements and prepared the ground for precise formulation of some of his important conclusions presented in the first volume of his Grundgesetze der Arithmetik, 1893. The paper traces the application of the notions of Sinn and Bedeutung to proper names of objects, concept words and sentences. The author emphasizes Frege's arguments as to why the Bedeutung of the sentence should be its truth-value.
Keywords : Sinn; Bedeutung; thought; empty concept; truth-value

Martina Mineva – Вertrand Russell and the Problem of Indexicality
: The article presents a critical analysis of the Russell-Strawson debate of the 1950s, focused both on the problem of definite descriptions; but the author also discusses the expressions currently defined as indexicals. The article presents a critical review of Russell's views on egocentric particulars (his term for indexicals) in his An Inquiry into Meaning and Truth (1940) and Human Knowledge: Its Scope and Limits (1948). Тhe article traces his theoretical insights, that can be thought of both in the spirit of the “wisdom” (criticized by Russell himself ) of Wittgenstein's later works, and as closely approaching Strawson's problematic of ordinary language. Among these insights are the notion of implicit egocentricity (1948) as well as of variable denotation, a notion introduced much earlier, in the manuscript of On Meaning and Denotation (1903), and that offers a possibility for rethinking the distinction between attributive and referential uses of definite descriptions that Keith Donnellan presents in Reference and Definite Descriptions (1966). In this context, the author emphasizes the productivity of the thesis suggested by Strawson regarding the direct link between the problem of indexicality and that of definite descriptions.
Keywords : egocentric particulars; indexicality; definite descriptions; implicit egocentricity; variable denotation; the praxeological turn in logic.

Kosta Benchev – Utilitarianism and Logic. On a Possible Application of the Latter to the Former
: The article attempts to apply a four-valued logic to Bentham's project for establishing a "felicific calculus", taking into account J. S. Mill's corrections made to Bentham. The article examines to what extent the criticisms made to Bentham, concerning the impossibility of quantifying human experience, can be avoided. Probabilistic assessments are briefly discussed and several different scenarios for many-valued estimations are proposed with regard to an individual and a group of individuals.
Keywords :Bentham; Mill; felicific calculus; pleasure; pain; circumstances; formula; many-valued logic; individuals; agent; equivalence; implication.
Lyuben Sivilov– The Bizarre Modifications of Consciousness
: Arguing with reference to magical techniques, the paper refutes the relational concept of consciousness.
Keywords :magical techniques; relational hypothesis.

Nikolay Pavlov – Towards an Ontological Critique of the Philosophy of Language in Heidegger's Later Writings
: Martin Heidegger's works present no systematic critique of the philosophy of language. Despite the large number of essays he devoted to language, it cannot be said Heidegger had a developed philosophy of language. The spirit of his thinking, however, provides a basis for a Heideggerian (ontological) critique of the foundations of the philosophy of language. This paper attempts to present Martin Heidegger's point of view on the philosophy of language, to clarify his objections to it and to briefly present his alternative approach to language.
Keywords : language; being; event; ontology; phenomenology; saying; enframing.

Arnold Gehlen – Philosophical Anthropology
The article investigates the concept of artifact.
Keywords: artifact, philosophy
Yulia Vasseva-Dikova – Philosophy of Medicine: On Some Aspects of the Concept of “Disease” :
: One of the central problems in the field of contemporary philosophy of medicine is the analysis of the concepts of health and disease. The article focuses on the discussions between normativists and naturalists regarding the role of values in the semantical analysis of the concepts of disease and health. The role of norm and anomaly is emphasized. The article specifically devotes attention to the different epistemological roles ascribed to norms and anomalies in contemporary medical science and theories. The article highlights the importance of nonclassical logic (fuzzy logic) for the philosophical analysis of “health” and “disease”.
Keywords : philosophy of medicine; concept of disease; normativist; naturalist; epistemology.
Tatyana Batuleva – Introduction to G. Gachev's Existential Theory of Culture
Lubomir Sirkov – 70 Years of Academic Philosophy in Bulgaria
Alexandra Traykova – Fourteenth National Ethics Conference
Svetlana Nancheva – Conference “Philosophy, Logic, Culture”
Diana Petrova – Geopolitics in the Black Sea Region
Svetlana Nancheva –„The Contributions of the Beron Family to Bulgarian Development“