(This post has almost nothing to do with feminist philosophy, but rather records an announcement that bears on various philosophical arguments. It’s a product of my surprised recognition.)
The Independent tells us that scientists are worried that the standard kilogram does not weigh what it used to. In fact, that is old news; the new news is that they are going to “redefine the kilogram”.
This metal block, known as the International Prototype Kilogram, has been used since it was first registered with the International Bureau of Weights and Measures (BIPM) in 1889 as the definitive unit of mass against which all other kilograms are measured. .. However, scientists now believe it is time to redefine the kilogram because there is evidence that the precise mass of the international prototype in Sèvres is not as constant as it should be.
And that’s enough to raise the question: In Quine v. Wittgenstein, Who wins? Does one of them lose?
On the left (?) is Quine, Two Dogmas:
Any statement can be held true come what may, if we make drastic enough adjustments elsewhere in the system. Even a statement very close to the periphery can be held true in the face of recalcitrant experience by pleading hallucination or by amending certain statements of the kind called logical laws. Conversely, by the same token, no statement is immune to revision.
While on the right is Wittgenstein, PI 50:
There is one thing of which one can say neither that it is one meter long, nor that it is not one meter long, and that is the standard meter in Paris. But this is of course, not to ascribe any extraodinary property to it, but only to mark its peculiar role in the language-game of measuring with a meter-rule.
What do you think?
(There are a number of differing interpretaters of Wittgenstein’s remark, among them Cora Diamond, Heather Gert, and Saul Kripke. )