If ‘translating’ is ‘replacing’, what are the criteria of correct replacement? According to Wittgenstein’s Brown Book, translations can be justified in the context of a more general comparison between the two forms of life involved (§ 1). In this sense, natural languages are always comparable. However, philosophers could be tempted to draw skeptical consequences from the insight into the plurality and variety of natural languages (§ 2). The problems they have to deal with resemble ‘composite portraitures’, to which different languages each contribute their own myths, myths which are peculiar to their particular languages and yet related at the same time (§ 3). The question of the comparability of languages also arises in discussions about translating Wittgenstein’s own texts into languages that are remote from the source language. How is this translation possible? Is it because both ‘depth grammar’ and philosophical problems are universal? Wittgenstein may assume that forms of life are somehow comparable and that such a comparison allows us to justify translations. However, he does not commit himself to any theory about the universality (or particularity) of ‘depth grammar’ (§ 4).
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