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Translation and Philosophy


Edited By Lisa Foran

To what extent is philosophy reliant on translation and how does this practice impact on philosophy itself? How should philosophical texts be translated? Is translation inherently philosophical? Can philosophy be described as a ‘type of translation’? The essays in this collection seek to respond to these intriguing and provocative questions. Exploring a wide range of issues, from the complexities of translating ambiguous philosophical terms to the role of language in concepts of identity and society, each essay highlights the manner in which the two disciplines rely on (and intersect with) each other. Drawing the collection together is an understanding of both translation and philosophy as practices which seek for meaning in our complex relationship with language and the world.


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Introduction - What is the Relation between Translation and Philosophy? 1


Introduction What is the Relation between Translation and Philosophy? This collection of essays was borne of a conference of the same name held in Dublin at Newman House in March 2010. Working on a doctorate in philosophy which focuses on Jacques Derrida, translation and the Other; and having worked as a practising translator, I had for some time been questioning the nature of the relation between these two fields. It seemed to me that these two disciplines had been involved in a con- stant dialogue with one another, but on the surface at least, a dialogue that had in some senses been silenced, in any case and especially in the English speaking world. Coming from an English speaking academic background my own first experience of philosophy was through translation and though I was made familiar with non-English terms, the nuances of these terms were explored in English; a language usually other than the original. It struck me as strange that so little space in philosophy was given to explaining what takes place in any translation. At a time when English is becoming more and more the lingua franca of any international dialogue, it seemed that more attention needed to be paid to what it means to speak in translation. The paradox of the universality of English in our era is that on the one hand it permits more dialogue and communication; on the other hand, we must ask: what are the dangers of a homogenisation of a dialogue into one...

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