V. Technology - V. Philosophy and Technology This is a grab...

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V. Philosophy and Technology This is a “grab bag” section Issues here don’t correspond to the main categories in philosophy 1. Universal translator and the philosophy of language Can we program a computer to translate any language into our own? ANS: Can’t do it today But is this merely a technological barrier? Seems plausible, but there are lots of things that seem plausible in science fiction 2. Advanced, labor saving technology and human development Q: How does technology shape society? Think in terms of history—big breakthroughs No longer an agrarian society Philosopher J.P. Moreland: people who lived 150 years ago had more in common with Abraham than with us Before the industrial and computer revolutions Before cars and airplanes Before telephones Just think about cars Couldn’t have real suburbs without cars Fastest growing region of country: southwest Why now? ANS (in part): air conditioning What about how we spend our leisure time? ANS: TV What different has that made? Family dynamics Clearly, technology changes society What we want to consider is how much; how far can it go?
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A. Star Trek NG , “Darmok” Q: How is the universal translator supposed to work? Is this plausible? Why or why not? Big problem: No shared ostension Could you learn French by listening to enough French radio? No, not even in principle No way to bridge gap: no translator and no ostension Q: How do the Children of Darmok come to learn their own language? It would seem that one would first have to understand the myths that the language is based on before one could employ the images therein E.g., if I say describe an SVSU football game as “Superman in the presence of kryptonite”, you know that we lost But you could only know that if you understood non-metaphorical English and were familiar with Superman Translation is important concept in philosophy of language W.V. Quine and the radical translator Say explorers discovered a hidden people group unknown language send you in to construct a translation manual no bilinguals native points off in distance and says “gavagai” you look over and see a rabbit over by some bushes what do you do? ANS: probably guess that gavagai means rabbit Would you have to say that? Flies around the rabbit might mean “field spirit” Native belief that this variety of rabbit is often possessed by benign spirit beings 1. like elves might mean “one”, since there’s only one rabbit some of these could be ruled out in time But could you ever get to the point where you had The Right Manual? Quine: no
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V. Technology - V. Philosophy and Technology This is a grab...

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