Philosophical aspects of translation in lebniz

  • Matteo Favaretti Camposampiero Ca’ Foscary Unversity of Venice
Keywords: translation, juridical hermeneutics, proposition, compositionality, speaker’s meaning


This paper investigates some semantic and pragmatic issues in Leibniz’s theory of translation. Section 1 considers the relationship between translation and paraphrase and the role of periphrasis as a substitute for verbatim translation. Section 2 ascribes to Leibniz an embryonic distinction between the propositional content of a sentence (what every language has the means to translate) and its expressive force or emphasis (what gets lost in translation). Section 3 reconstructs Leibniz’s reflection on non-compositional structures like idioms and argues that translatability also depends on compositionality. Finally, Section 4 explores Leibniz’s way of distinguishing between what the text says and what its author means to say.