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2017/04/17 An Assumption That Has Been Taken For Granted Among Japanese Philosophers.

A great philosophical work often sheds light on those assumptions which are taken for granted and throws them into doubt. For example, as far as I understand, Kant brought into doubt the assumption that metaphysics is feasible and reason is unconditionally reliable and he made an unprecedented contribution to philosophy.

I think I encountered a premise that has been long taken for granted especially in Japan: Japanese philosophers are able to read English. I am reading now a Japanese translation of an English philosophical work which was published last year. I seldom read a section without finding an error. The translator doesn't seem to know there is a helpful tool called dictionary, for he misinterprets words like register, anticipate and so on, which have in fact more meanings than he might have learned in high school. For example, the sixth edition of Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary says that the verb anticipate has the following meaning:

to do sth before it can be done by sb else:[VN] When Scott reached the South Pole he found that Amundsen had anticipated him.

The word is used in this sense in the original. Nevertheless, he translated it into the Japanese word 「予見する」in spite of the fact that this translation makes no sense considering the context in which the word is used.

SO, what should I do? I have a resolution now that I will be sensitive enough to consult a dictionary whenever I met a word that is unfamiliar or cannot be properly translated drawing on the knowledge that I have of it, no matter how long it will take me to do so. There may well be people who contend that we don't have to care about such minute details. "After all, what counts is the gist." However, I am not quite sure how to distinguish the gist from what they call minute details when they don't understand them.