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Quine essay

The difference between intuitionistic logic and classical logic is an important example here, as is the difference between the language of Newtonian mechanics and the language of relativistic mechanics. Within a given language, there may be only one correct theory on a given subject. But the choice of a language is in that respect unlike the choice of a theory. In deciding which theory is correct, we will appeal to observations but also to the rules of the language; no such appeal is possible when we are choosing a language, for in this case it is the rules themselves that we are choosing.

So Carnap holds that there is no one correct language. That there is such a difference is a point which Carnap never questions. The Principle of Tolerance requires the analytic-synthetic distinction. It requires that we can, in all cases, distinguish between theoretical changes which involve a change of meaning, and hence, strictly speaking, a change of language, and those which do not. The former kind of change involves analytic sentences, and is a matter for Tolerance; the latter involves only synthetic sentences, and Tolerance does not apply.

The use of the Principle of Tolerance thus presupposes a clear distinction between the analytic sentences of the language and its synthetic sentences. At least as Quine sees the matter, the use of the Principle of Tolerance puts analytic sentences on an entirely different epistemological footing from synthetic sentences. Synthetic sentences are answerable to evidence; analytic sentences are a matter of the choice of language, which does not require theoretical justification.

Quine, however, rejects the idea that there is such an epistemological difference. Even if we can distinguish the analytic sentences from the synthetic sentences, we may still have reasons to reject an analytic sentence. And those reasons may be of the same kind that lead us to reject synthetic sentences.

See Putnam, A change of mind about an analytic sentence would be a change in the language. Still, we might have reasons to make such a change, reasons that are of the same sort that lead us to make revisions to synthetic sentences. In that case, we have no more reason to apply Tolerance in the one kind of case than in the other.

This is the view that Quine argues for. On the one hand, he emphasizes the point which Carnap largely accepts that choice of language is not theoretically neutral: some choices will make for a better theory than others. Hence, he claims, the two sorts of choice are on the same epistemological footing, and the Principle of Tolerance is unjustified.

This is the claim that most of our sentences do not have implications for experience when they are taken one-by-one, each in isolation from the others. What has experiential implication is, in most cases, not an individual sentence but a larger chunk of theory. Holism is not a very controversial doctrine. Carnap accepts it; see Carnap, , Quine claims that holism shows that most of our sentences are not justified by the relation of the individual sentence, considered in isolation, to experience.

Almost always, what matters is the relation to experience of some larger chunk of theory in principle, although perhaps never in practice, of the theory as a whole. This means that in principle the correctness of a given claim is almost never settled simply by looking at the empirical evidence for that claim alone. Other factors will play a role, in particular the way in which accepting the given claim would contribute to the efficacy and simplicity of the theory as a whole.

For elaboration, see Quine and ; for criticism of the sketchy account, see Sober If logic, mathematics, and other putatively a priori parts of our knowledge, are not to be explained by analyticity, how are they to be accounted for? It seems as if logic and mathematics have a special status because they are independent of experience. They appear to be necessary and not susceptible of refutation by what future experience brings; they appear to be a priori because we know them independent of experience.

Carnap sought to explain these appearances by appealing to the idea that accepting an analytic sentence of a given language goes with speaking that language, and to the Principle of Tolerance. Since choice of language is not justified by experience, the truth of the analytic sentences of a given language is not answerable to experience.

How is Quine to explain the apparent necessity and a priori status of some truths without appeal to the Principle of Tolerance? In almost all cases the relation is indirect: a given sentence is only answerable to experience if a body of theory is presupposed. When we say that a given observation confirms or refutes a given theoretical claim, we are tacitly presupposing other theoretical knowledge.

The reason to accept a sentence is its contribution to the success of theory as a whole as an efficient and simple method of dealing with and predicting experience; in principle, this means the success of our theory as a whole, the whole body of sentences that we accept, in dealing with experience as a whole. For many of our sentences, this strong statement of holism holds only in principle.

In practice, we may have a good idea what experiences would lead us to change our minds about a given sentence, and what further changes in theory would follow. Elementary arithmetic to take that as an example is different because it is involved in almost every part of systematic knowledge. Abandoning it would mean abandoning our whole system of knowledge, and replacing it with an alternative which we have not even begun to envisage. Nothing in principle rules out the possibility that the course of experience will be such that our present system of knowledge becomes wholly useless, and that in constructing a new one we find that arithmetic is of no use.

But this is a purely abstract possibility, certainly not something we can imagine in any detail. So the idea that we might reject arithmetic is likewise unimaginable; hence the truths of arithmetic appear to be necessary. For similar reasons, arithmetic appears to be a priori. Arithmetic is independent of any particular experience, or any easily specifiable portion of experience; hence it appears as a priori.

As we have just seen, even sentences which we cannot imagine rejecting might, in principle, be rejected. In the context of his debate with Carnap, however, it is not, by itself, at all surprising. For Carnap too, any sentence can be revised; he would insist, however, that in the case of some sentences, the analytic ones, a revision involves a change of language, and thus of the meaning of the words used in the sentence.

So the idea of meaning, and sameness of meaning, occupies a crucial role in the debate over analyticity. He explores various proposals and finds them wanting. See especially Quine Here too a crucial role is played by holism. One apparently clear conception of meaning is that the meaning of a sentence is given by the experiences which would confirm it; holism, however, implies that the idea of confirmation does not apply to individual sentences, considered in isolation from the theories of which they are parts.

For criticism see Fodor and Lepore ; for a counter to Fodor and Lepore see Heal ; for later Quine on holism see his We will mention two criticisms. First, what standards of clarity is he employing, when he says that the notion of analyticity is insufficiently clear? The answer, not explicit in Quine, , is that the standards are those indicated by our discussion in the previous section; Quine is asking for an explanation which is acceptable by his naturalistic standards see Lugg Such an explanation would not presuppose an idea of meaning, and would use such ideas as definition or convention only in ways which are justified by the literal sense of those terms.

See, for example, Grice and Strawson, If we think of meaningfulness as a matter of having a meaning then we may think that our words cannot be meaningful unless there are meanings. But such a way of thinking is, Quine claims, quite misleading. In Quine , he offers a rough and ready behavioural account of meaningfulness; it is clear from the way the account proceeds that the success of something along those lines would be of no help at all in defining synonymy or analyticity.

One might read Quine and get the impression that he is not merely casting doubt but wholly rejecting these ideas. In later works, however, he himself suggests a definition of analyticity. It is analytic without qualification if it is analytic for all native speakers. Along with this, he comes to accept that certain revisions of belief do involve a change of meaning, presumably in a sufficiently clear sense of meaning Quine, , Now it might seem as if Quine completely withdraws his earlier criticism of the analytic-synthetic distinction and thus, presumably, of Logical Empiricism as a whole.

But in fact this is not so. One consideration here is the scope of Quinean analyticity. The idea will perhaps as Quine says include first-order logic, but it will not include mathematics; on this count alone, it is clear that it will not do what Carnap requires of the idea of analyticity. Some changes of doctrine involve changes of meaning, others do not. To the contrary: as we saw in 3. His acceptance of a limited conception of analyticity does not change this picture.

Quine sees all our cognitive endeavours, whether they involve formulating a new language or making a small-scale theoretical change, as having the same very general aim of enabling us to deal with the world better; all such endeavours have the same very general kind of justification, namely, as contributing to that end. Philosophy, as Quine sees it, has no special vantage point, no special method, no special access to truth. As we saw in section 2, Quine takes the fundamental epistemological problem to be that of showing how we come to have knowledge of the world.

He seeks an account which is naturalistic in his austere sense, and thus starts with the idea that we know about the world only from impacts of various forms of energy on our sensory nerves see 2. How do we get from such impacts to something recognizable as knowledge of the world? An answer would show that that world-view can accommodate an account of human knowledge. If no answer is available, that world-view is cast in doubt. For these purposes it is perhaps enough if Quine can sketch an account, compatible with his naturalistic view, of how we might acquire the knowledge which we take ourselves to have, whether or not it is correct in detail.

See Quine c, Quine treats knowledge as embodied in language. Apart from other considerations, language-use is observable and thus subject to scientific inquiry. It is these epistemological concerns, and not my incidental interest in linguistics, that motivate my speculations. This genetic project may seem to be a long way from the traditional concerns of epistemology. For much of our knowledge, the relation is quite indirect.

This is one way of expressing holism; see 3. Most sentences are not accepted because of a direct relation between the given sentence and stimulations of nerve endings; the connection goes via other sentences, and may be quite indirect and remote. But then there must presumably be some sentences which are directly related to stimulations. Acts of uttering such sentences, or of assenting to them when they are uttered by others, are shared responses to stimulation.

We shall enter some qualifications at the end of this sub-section. They are also the sentences which are evidentially basic. What fits them to play both roles is that they are largely independent of other parts of our language. Hence they can largely be mastered by a child otherwise without linguistic competence, and known without presupposing other parts of our theory.

The reason for the qualification will become apparent at the end of this sub-section. Many philosophers are content to take for granted the idea of an evidentially basic sentence. The first step is to show that we can give a purely naturalistic account of how some linguistic utterances can be directly tied to the occurrence of stimulations of the sensory nervesan account of observation sentences, more or less.

Quine expends enormous labour on this point. Quine considers acts of assenting to sentences or dissenting; but we shall mostly leave that as understood. He focuses, in particular, on our dispositions to assent to sentences.

We will briefly consider the idea of a disposition in the next section. To be an observation sentence, a sentence must fulfill two criteria, one individualistic and one social. The individualistic criterion is that a sentence is an observation sentence for a given person if he or she is disposed to assent to it when, and only when, he or she is undergoing appropriate sensory stimulations, regardless of her internal state e.

The social criterion is that the individualistic criterion should hold across the linguistic community as a whole. To specify this more precisely is tricky, and we shall postpone the matter for a few paragraphs. Even the individualistic criterion raises considerable complications and difficulties.

We speak of a disposition to assent or dissent in response to a pattern of stimulation but this is not quite accurate. Such a pattern, a complete list of which sensory nerves are firing, and in which order, will hardly ever repeat itself. So what we need is, rather, the idea of a correlation of a response with a type of stimulation pattern. The physical resemblance of two stimulation patterns, what Quine calls receptual similarity , is not enough to make them constitute events of the same type, in the relevant sense; two such patterns may resemble each other very closely yet lead to quite different responses.

Two occasions on which I am driving a car may be almost identical in terms of my stimulation patterns, except that on one occasion I see a red light and on the other I see a green light. As far as my response goes, that small difference outweighs all the similarities.

What is wanted is a more complex notion which Quine calls perceptual similarity. Very roughly, two stimulation patterns count as similar for an animal, at a time if they tend to lead to the same response. With the account of perceptual similarity in place, we can say what it is for a sentence to be observational for me: if I am disposed to assent to it on one occasion on which I have a certain neural intake, then I will also be disposed to assent to it on any other occasion on which I have neural intake which is sufficiently perceptually similar for me at that time.

It is worth emphasizing the fact that the definition of the key notion of perceptual similarity is behavioural. It avoids any idea of experience, of awareness, of what strikes the person or other animal as more similar to what. It is simply a matter of responses, and thus of behaviour. Assent is also treated as behavior, as sound-making propensities; see c pp. One consequence of it is that the notion cannot be invoked to explain behaviour.

Quine is under no illusions on this score. See c, 87, where the point is explicit. The behavioural account does not explain our understanding of observation sentences; explanation, if possible at all, comes at the neuro-physiological level. What the behavioural account does is to make clear exactly what behaviour constitutes that understanding and, hence, what the neuro-physiological account would have to explain. It also shows that there is indeed something to be explained.

So far we have only an account of what it is for a sentence to be an observation sentence for a particular person. But our language is shared, as it must be if it is to enable us to communicate with one another. So we need to generalize the criterion across the linguistic community. One might at first think that the social criterion would be: if one person is disposed to assent to the sentence on any occasion on which he or she has a certain neural intake, then any other person having the same neural intake will also be disposed to assent to it.

Quine gives essentially this account in Quine returned to this problem on and off over the next thirty-five years. His eventual solution is that a sentence only counts as an observation sentence if an occasion which leads to my having neural intake which disposes me to assent to it also leads to your having neural intake which disposes you to assent to it. Here there is no cross-person identification of neural intake or cross-person standards of perceptual similarity.

On this account, however, there can only be observation sentences if our standards of perceptual similarity line up in the right way. Two occasions which produce in me neural intakes which are perceptually similar by my standards must also often enough produce in you neural intakes which are perceptually similar by your standards.

Quine is happy enough with this assumption of mutual attunement and suggests that it can be explained along evolutionary lines see , f. We have been explaining the idea of our having shared responses to stimulation. For the most part, Quine assumes that assent to an observation sentence simply is such a response.

This assumption, however, cannot be quite correct. It may look for all the world as if there were a rabbit in front of me, even though there is not. So my disposition to assent does not, after all, depend solely on my sensory stimulations at the time. It depends also on my internal state, whether I know that in this case the rabbit-like appearance is misleading. If a sentence is corrigible then there will be circumstances in which it is false, even though those circumstances produce stimulation patterns which would generally lead observers to assent to it.

But then some observers may know that the circumstances are of this deceptive kind and not be disposed to assent, while others have no such knowledge and are disposed to assent. Quine does not seem to have fully appreciated this point, though some of his later discussions come close to doing so see, in particular, Quine It is not fatal to his general account; it complicates the story rather than requiring a radical change.

There may be no sentences—at least none that satisfy the social criterion for observationality—which can be wholly mastered simply by acquiring appropriate dispositions to assent and dissent in response to current stimulations.

For some sentences, however, acquiring such dispositions comes close to mastering their use, because those sentences are almost always true in those cases where observers receive sensory stimulations which dispose them to assent. Clearly this will be a matter of degree. So the acquisition of the relevant dispositions, and partial mastery of the sentence, can be used as a basis on which the child can learn more of the language, and more about the world.

This further learning in turn allows the child to modify her or his original disposition to assent and dissent merely in response to current stimulation. In part this may be because he holds that it is most important to understand the very first step into cognitive language, how such language is possible at all.

It may also be that the difficulty of getting a satisfactory account of observation sentences impeded him. Beyond these points, however, there is, from a Quinean perspective, a limit to how detailed an account we should expect to have of the acquisition of sophisticated cognitive language. Mastery of an observation sentence corresponds more or less to a relatively straightforward disposition: to assent when receiving a stimulation pattern within a certain range.

For most sentences, however, this is not the case. No doubt the disposition to assent in response to evidence is required, but what counts as evidence is almost unmanageably diffuse. A relatively clear-cut account, of the sort that Quine gives of observation sentences, is simply not available.

So Quine does not offer any sort of detailed account of the acquisition cognitive language beyond the observation sentences. Instead, he considers stages on the way, forms of language which one might suppose could be easily acquired by a child who has mastered observation sentences and which might provide steps leading to yet more advanced language.

Observation sentences are what Quine calls occasion sentences, true on some occasions and false on others, whereas observation categoricals are eternal sentences, true or false once for all. Quine suggests that we can think of observation categoricals as a plausible first step towards a general mastery of eternal sentences, which make up our serious theoretical knowledge. Assuming the child has learnt each term as an observation sentence, the sight of the dog will dispose him to assent to each.

Such sentences have a particular importance for Quine in connection with the idea of reference. Merely to be able to use a name, to be able to name Fido upon seeing him, for example, is not yet to refer; one might simply be using the term as a response to the sight of the dog, hence as an observation sentence. Reference, as Quine sees the matter, requires the capacity to reidentify the object over time and changing circumstances: if a dog is barking then it—that very same dog—is hungry; hence the importance of pronouns.

Quine also has things to say on more familiar epistemological themes. In some cases he indicates how they can be integrated into his approach; thus he suggests that we can albeit unrealistically schematize the testing of a scientific theory by thinking of ourselves as deriving observation categoricals which can then be directly tested against observation sentences.

In other cases he is content to adopt more or less unchanged the account given by earlier authors, as in his list of the virtues of a theory see a, Our account above has stressed the most novel parts of his epistemology. Some commentators have claimed that it is not, and that this is a serious defect see Kim, Others claim that naturalized epistemology is normative see Gregory, Naturalized epistemology is thus certainly normative in this sense: it tells us that in drawing up scientific theories we should rely on the evidence of the senses rather than on soothsayers; that we should aim at simple theories, and so on.

In telling us these things, however, it relies on what we already know: it deploys some parts of our science to guide attempts in other areas. It does not take a normative attitude towards science as a whole, criticizing or justifying it by wholly external, non-scientific standards. Quine , The rejection of any such idea is one way of phrasing the naturalism he advocates. It follows from this idea, as he construes it, that our best scientific theory of the world tells us as much as we know about reality.

Our best theory at given time tells us as much as we know at that time; no doubt our views will progress. So setting out the broad outlines of that theory is the Quinean version or analogue of metaphysics, though he does not much use the word. Some points are familiar from our discussion in section 2.

First, we do not resort to any special kind of philosophical insight. Second, what matters is ordinary knowledge as refined and improved upon: science. We rely upon ordinary usage where no better is to hand, but accept changes that are improvements see , 3. A further point is that in striving for the clarity and simplicity of our theory we must consider the whole theory; local gains may be offset by global losses. Strawson, , Introduction. One part of the answer is that just as science is in the same line of business as ordinary knowledge, but does it better, so regimented language is in the same business as ordinary language, but does it better.

Regimentation, that is to say, is not the imposition of a wholly foreign language; it is the adoption of a language that maximizes scientific virtues already partially present in ordinary speech—logical structure, reference, the ready amenability to algorithmic methods. Ontological concern is not a correction of a lay thought and practice; it is foreign to the lay culture, though an outgrowth of it.

Such paraphrase greatly clarifies and simplifies our theory. Inferences which are a matter of logic will be revealed as such; where additional assumptions are required it will be explicit just what is needed. The logic which Quine takes as the structure of regimented theory is classical bivalent first-order logic with identity.

Bivalence is justified on the grounds of simplicity. It is not that we have some independent insight into the nature of the world which shows us that every sentence of regimented theory is either true or false. It is, rather, that the simplicity that we gain from making this assumption, justifies our using a bivalent language; the metaphysical claim follows along.

This reversal of direction should remind us of Carnap. The difference is that Quine does not accept the Principle of Tolerance; see section 3, above. One reason he gives for the decision is that every formalization of second-order logic unlike first-order logic is incomplete, relative to the standard semantics.

A further reason is that one purpose of the canonical framework is to enable us to assess the ontology of a theory. From this point of view it is an advantage that first-order logic has no ontological presuppositions of its own. By adopting that logic we do commit ourselves to there being some object or other, but not to the existence of any particular entity.

Here again there is a clear contrast with second-order logic, which does have ontological presuppositions. Exactly what those presuppositions are is unclear, and has been debated; for Quine, this unclarity is a further reason to avoid the subject entirely.

Paraphrasing a theory into classical logic imposes extensionality on it: a predicate may be replaced by a co-extensive predicate without change of truth-value of the containing sentence; likewise an embedded sentence by a sentence of the same truth-value. It requires, for example, that attributions of belief, and other propositional attitudes, be regimented into a form quite different from that which they may appear to have. So one might suppose that Quine accepts extensionality reluctantly, as the price to be paid for the advantages of the use of logic in regimenting theory.

Such is not his attitude, however. The extra-logical vocabulary consists only of predicates. All metaphysical questions can thus be boiled down to two: What objects do the variables range over? To the first of these questions Quine offers a straightforward answer: his ontology consists of physical objects and sets. He briefly entertains the idea that we could manage without postulating matter at all, simply using sets of space-time points, where these are understood as sets of quadruples of real numbers, relative to some co-ordinate systemthat is, an ontology of abstract objects only.

He seems to see no knock-down argument against this but abandons it, perhaps because the gain is too small to justify the magnitude of the departure from our ordinary views. That he is willing to consider such a view, and take it seriously, shows something about his general attitude. Regimented theory contains no abstract objects other than sets. Many abstracta , however, can be defined in terms of sets: numbers, functions, and other mathematical entities being the most obvious.

Quine excludes other alleged abstracta , such as properties, propositions as distinct from sentences , and merely possible entities. The chief reason for this is that he finds the identity-criteria for such entities unclear. He holds, quite generally, that we should not postulate entities without having clear identity-criteria for them. Doing so would threaten the clarity and definiteness which the notion of identity brings to theory; local gains from postulating, say, propositions are not worth this global loss.

For a contrary view about properties, see Armstrong Regimented theory also has no place for mental entities, most obviously minds, if those are taken to be distinct from physical entities. The qualification is important. Many mental entities can be admitted as special cases of physical objects.

The things that we might want to say about my act of thinking that it was inspired, or stupid, or what have you can simply be reconstrued as predicates true or false of physical objects. I may think of the theorem at many times, over the years, and on each occasion that act is identified with the physical state that I am in at the time.

Token-token identity theory does not claim that these physical states have anything in particular in common, still less that all acts of thinking about the theorem have something in common. There is no claim that each act of thinking about the theorem can be identified with, e. Note that this view excludes disembodied minds and mental entities. Quine thinks that is no loss at all. Note also that it can be construed either as eliminating mental entities or simply as identifying them with physical objects.

Quine prefers the latter phrasing but thinks there is no real difference here; cf. A difficulty in making sense of this is that the idea of a physical fact is not definitively specifiable. To tie the idea too closely to current physics would rule out fundamental changes in that subject; to leave it floating free might seem to allow anything at all to qualify. He has in mind a subject continuous with our physics, alike or superior in its coherence and in its explanatory power.

The most controversial application of this view is to mental phenomena. Within that realm, Quine focuses on attributions of propositional attitudes, statements that so-and-so believes that such-and-such, or hopes that, or fears that, etc.

One reason for this focus may be that his interest is primarily in human knowledge; another that some other mental states, such as pain, can perhaps be accounted for by identifying them with certain types of neurophysiological events.

Propositional attitudes also raise a different kind of issue. Attributions of such attitudes violate extensionality. Quine escapes this sort of problem by taking an attribution of belief to express a relation between the believer and a sentence , understood to be, in the usual case, in the language of the ascriber not the language of the believer, where the languages differ.

It is worth noting the idea of another sense of belief-ascription which would not be vulnerable even prima facie problems of extensionality: so-called de re belief, as distinct from de dicto belief. In the s Quine argued that there must be such a sense. In the late s, however, he abandoned the idea, for lack of clear standards of when it is correct to ascribe a de re belief to someone. See Quine, for a statement of the distinction, and Quine, for retraction.

Other philosophers, however, continue to hold the idea. See, for example, Kaplan , Kripke Construing attributions of belief as statements of attitudes towards sentences gives them a syntax and an ontology that Quine can accept. The matter is complicated. Quine certainly accepts that most uses of this idiom are factual. The relevant facts are neurophysiological states of the person concerned, and those states are causally connected with actions which the person performs, or would perform under certain circumstances, and which we would count as manifestations of the belief, or lack of belief.

Assenting or dissenting when asked is one such action, but only one among a myriad. In cases where we have evidence for or against the ascription of a belief to someone, the evidence consists in behaviour and there are presumably neurophysiological states which explain the behaviour. Phenomenology of Spirit. Trevor Pearce. Philo, Vol. I Loeb Classical Library, No. Cheryl Misak. Philo: On Flight and Finding. On the Change of Names. On Dreams. Loeb Classical Library No.

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Please try again later. Verified Purchase. It is manifestly obvious that Prof. Gibson has a knack for appreciating what Quine is up to in Quine's beautiful if somewhat enigmatic prose. Gibson's essay "Translation, Physics and Facts of the Matter" from the Schillp volume dedicated to Quine demonstrates that Gibson appreciates Quine's fundamental committment to the best physical science of the day. This helps to distinguish the indeterminacy of translation from the more general underdetermination of empirical theory, a distinction that apparently eluded Chomsky for an extended period of exchanges between himself and Prof.

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This further learning in turn allows the child to modify her or his original disposition to assent and dissent merely in response to current stimulation. In part this may be because he holds that it is most important to understand the very first step into cognitive language, how such language is possible at all. It may also be that the difficulty of getting a satisfactory account of observation sentences impeded him.

Beyond these points, however, there is, from a Quinean perspective, a limit to how detailed an account we should expect to have of the acquisition of sophisticated cognitive language. Mastery of an observation sentence corresponds more or less to a relatively straightforward disposition: to assent when receiving a stimulation pattern within a certain range. For most sentences, however, this is not the case. No doubt the disposition to assent in response to evidence is required, but what counts as evidence is almost unmanageably diffuse.

A relatively clear-cut account, of the sort that Quine gives of observation sentences, is simply not available. So Quine does not offer any sort of detailed account of the acquisition cognitive language beyond the observation sentences. Instead, he considers stages on the way, forms of language which one might suppose could be easily acquired by a child who has mastered observation sentences and which might provide steps leading to yet more advanced language.

Observation sentences are what Quine calls occasion sentences, true on some occasions and false on others, whereas observation categoricals are eternal sentences, true or false once for all. Quine suggests that we can think of observation categoricals as a plausible first step towards a general mastery of eternal sentences, which make up our serious theoretical knowledge. Assuming the child has learnt each term as an observation sentence, the sight of the dog will dispose him to assent to each.

Such sentences have a particular importance for Quine in connection with the idea of reference. Merely to be able to use a name, to be able to name Fido upon seeing him, for example, is not yet to refer; one might simply be using the term as a response to the sight of the dog, hence as an observation sentence. Reference, as Quine sees the matter, requires the capacity to reidentify the object over time and changing circumstances: if a dog is barking then it—that very same dog—is hungry; hence the importance of pronouns.

Quine also has things to say on more familiar epistemological themes. In some cases he indicates how they can be integrated into his approach; thus he suggests that we can albeit unrealistically schematize the testing of a scientific theory by thinking of ourselves as deriving observation categoricals which can then be directly tested against observation sentences.

In other cases he is content to adopt more or less unchanged the account given by earlier authors, as in his list of the virtues of a theory see a, Our account above has stressed the most novel parts of his epistemology. Some commentators have claimed that it is not, and that this is a serious defect see Kim, Others claim that naturalized epistemology is normative see Gregory, Naturalized epistemology is thus certainly normative in this sense: it tells us that in drawing up scientific theories we should rely on the evidence of the senses rather than on soothsayers; that we should aim at simple theories, and so on.

In telling us these things, however, it relies on what we already know: it deploys some parts of our science to guide attempts in other areas. It does not take a normative attitude towards science as a whole, criticizing or justifying it by wholly external, non-scientific standards.

Quine , The rejection of any such idea is one way of phrasing the naturalism he advocates. It follows from this idea, as he construes it, that our best scientific theory of the world tells us as much as we know about reality. Our best theory at given time tells us as much as we know at that time; no doubt our views will progress. So setting out the broad outlines of that theory is the Quinean version or analogue of metaphysics, though he does not much use the word. Some points are familiar from our discussion in section 2.

First, we do not resort to any special kind of philosophical insight. Second, what matters is ordinary knowledge as refined and improved upon: science. We rely upon ordinary usage where no better is to hand, but accept changes that are improvements see , 3. A further point is that in striving for the clarity and simplicity of our theory we must consider the whole theory; local gains may be offset by global losses. Strawson, , Introduction. One part of the answer is that just as science is in the same line of business as ordinary knowledge, but does it better, so regimented language is in the same business as ordinary language, but does it better.

Regimentation, that is to say, is not the imposition of a wholly foreign language; it is the adoption of a language that maximizes scientific virtues already partially present in ordinary speech—logical structure, reference, the ready amenability to algorithmic methods. Ontological concern is not a correction of a lay thought and practice; it is foreign to the lay culture, though an outgrowth of it.

Such paraphrase greatly clarifies and simplifies our theory. Inferences which are a matter of logic will be revealed as such; where additional assumptions are required it will be explicit just what is needed. The logic which Quine takes as the structure of regimented theory is classical bivalent first-order logic with identity.

Bivalence is justified on the grounds of simplicity. It is not that we have some independent insight into the nature of the world which shows us that every sentence of regimented theory is either true or false. It is, rather, that the simplicity that we gain from making this assumption, justifies our using a bivalent language; the metaphysical claim follows along.

This reversal of direction should remind us of Carnap. The difference is that Quine does not accept the Principle of Tolerance; see section 3, above. One reason he gives for the decision is that every formalization of second-order logic unlike first-order logic is incomplete, relative to the standard semantics. A further reason is that one purpose of the canonical framework is to enable us to assess the ontology of a theory.

From this point of view it is an advantage that first-order logic has no ontological presuppositions of its own. By adopting that logic we do commit ourselves to there being some object or other, but not to the existence of any particular entity. Here again there is a clear contrast with second-order logic, which does have ontological presuppositions. Exactly what those presuppositions are is unclear, and has been debated; for Quine, this unclarity is a further reason to avoid the subject entirely.

Paraphrasing a theory into classical logic imposes extensionality on it: a predicate may be replaced by a co-extensive predicate without change of truth-value of the containing sentence; likewise an embedded sentence by a sentence of the same truth-value.

It requires, for example, that attributions of belief, and other propositional attitudes, be regimented into a form quite different from that which they may appear to have. So one might suppose that Quine accepts extensionality reluctantly, as the price to be paid for the advantages of the use of logic in regimenting theory.

Such is not his attitude, however. The extra-logical vocabulary consists only of predicates. All metaphysical questions can thus be boiled down to two: What objects do the variables range over? To the first of these questions Quine offers a straightforward answer: his ontology consists of physical objects and sets. He briefly entertains the idea that we could manage without postulating matter at all, simply using sets of space-time points, where these are understood as sets of quadruples of real numbers, relative to some co-ordinate systemthat is, an ontology of abstract objects only.

He seems to see no knock-down argument against this but abandons it, perhaps because the gain is too small to justify the magnitude of the departure from our ordinary views. That he is willing to consider such a view, and take it seriously, shows something about his general attitude. Regimented theory contains no abstract objects other than sets. Many abstracta , however, can be defined in terms of sets: numbers, functions, and other mathematical entities being the most obvious.

Quine excludes other alleged abstracta , such as properties, propositions as distinct from sentences , and merely possible entities. The chief reason for this is that he finds the identity-criteria for such entities unclear. He holds, quite generally, that we should not postulate entities without having clear identity-criteria for them.

Doing so would threaten the clarity and definiteness which the notion of identity brings to theory; local gains from postulating, say, propositions are not worth this global loss. For a contrary view about properties, see Armstrong Regimented theory also has no place for mental entities, most obviously minds, if those are taken to be distinct from physical entities. The qualification is important. Many mental entities can be admitted as special cases of physical objects.

The things that we might want to say about my act of thinking that it was inspired, or stupid, or what have you can simply be reconstrued as predicates true or false of physical objects. I may think of the theorem at many times, over the years, and on each occasion that act is identified with the physical state that I am in at the time.

Token-token identity theory does not claim that these physical states have anything in particular in common, still less that all acts of thinking about the theorem have something in common. There is no claim that each act of thinking about the theorem can be identified with, e. Note that this view excludes disembodied minds and mental entities. Quine thinks that is no loss at all. Note also that it can be construed either as eliminating mental entities or simply as identifying them with physical objects.

Quine prefers the latter phrasing but thinks there is no real difference here; cf. A difficulty in making sense of this is that the idea of a physical fact is not definitively specifiable. To tie the idea too closely to current physics would rule out fundamental changes in that subject; to leave it floating free might seem to allow anything at all to qualify.

He has in mind a subject continuous with our physics, alike or superior in its coherence and in its explanatory power. The most controversial application of this view is to mental phenomena. Within that realm, Quine focuses on attributions of propositional attitudes, statements that so-and-so believes that such-and-such, or hopes that, or fears that, etc.

One reason for this focus may be that his interest is primarily in human knowledge; another that some other mental states, such as pain, can perhaps be accounted for by identifying them with certain types of neurophysiological events. Propositional attitudes also raise a different kind of issue. Attributions of such attitudes violate extensionality. Quine escapes this sort of problem by taking an attribution of belief to express a relation between the believer and a sentence , understood to be, in the usual case, in the language of the ascriber not the language of the believer, where the languages differ.

It is worth noting the idea of another sense of belief-ascription which would not be vulnerable even prima facie problems of extensionality: so-called de re belief, as distinct from de dicto belief. In the s Quine argued that there must be such a sense. In the late s, however, he abandoned the idea, for lack of clear standards of when it is correct to ascribe a de re belief to someone.

See Quine, for a statement of the distinction, and Quine, for retraction. Other philosophers, however, continue to hold the idea. See, for example, Kaplan , Kripke Construing attributions of belief as statements of attitudes towards sentences gives them a syntax and an ontology that Quine can accept.

The matter is complicated. Quine certainly accepts that most uses of this idiom are factual. The relevant facts are neurophysiological states of the person concerned, and those states are causally connected with actions which the person performs, or would perform under certain circumstances, and which we would count as manifestations of the belief, or lack of belief.

Assenting or dissenting when asked is one such action, but only one among a myriad. In cases where we have evidence for or against the ascription of a belief to someone, the evidence consists in behaviour and there are presumably neurophysiological states which explain the behaviour.

Those states are not in practice specifiable in neurophysiological terms. Even where there is no behaviour of the relevant kind, there may still be dispositions to behave in those ways under certain unrealized circumstances. The dispositions are the physical states in which the truth of the ascription consists.

So in most cases where we ascribe belief, there is a fact of the matter which makes the ascription true or false. More on dispositions a few paragraphs hence. The belief idiom, however, also lends itself to use in other cases, where there is no fact of the matter.

These are not merely cases in which we have no evidence. But most attributions or confessions of belief do make sense…. The states of belief, where real, are… states of nerves. Quine explicitly acknowledges that we could not in practice manage without idioms of propositional attitude, and that most uses of such idioms are entirely unobjectionable.

But such idioms allow the formation of sentences which do not correspond to facts of the matter. Quine would not agree; see e for closely related remarks about the idea of knowing who someone is. A somewhat similar point can be made about subjunctive or counterfactual conditionals. Some are factual, but the general counterfactual idiom allows for the formation of sentences which are not factual. Like propositional attitudes, counterfactual conditionals have an important role in our practical lives.

The connection is easily seen: to call an object fragile is to say that it would break if it were dropped onto a hard surface from a significant height. As in the case of belief, the unrestricted use of this idiom allows us to form sentences whose truth-conditions are, at best, unclear. In such cases, we have no reason to think that some physical fact is being claimed.

Many dispositions, however, are perfectly acceptable by Quinean standards. To call the glass fragile is to attribute to it a structure which would lead its breaking under certain circumstances; the structure is a physical state, even if we cannot in practice specify it in physical terms. Quine claims that the dispositions he relies on in his account of language are like the case of fragility rather than the case of Caesar.

The disposition to assent to an observation sentence when receiving certain stimulations is a physical state of the person concerned; in particular, presumably, of his or her brain. The claim that a given person has such a disposition is thus a claim about the state of a physical object. It is, moreover, a claim that we can test, at least under favourable conditions. There is no reason to exclude it from regimented theory. Another idiom which Quine famously excludes from regimented theory is that of modality, statements that such-and-such must be the case, or cannot be the case, and so on.

Such idioms have been the subject of much discussion on the part of Quine and especially his critics; the discussion here will be very brief. Technically, there are similarities with the case of belief. There is prima facie violation of extensionality which can, however, be avoided by taking necessity to apply to sentences; some philosophers have claimed that there is a de re sense of necessity which does not lead to even prima facie violations of extensionality.

What frames these critical points about necessity is that Quine holds that regimented theory, the best and most objective statement of our knowledge, simply has no need for that notion. The benefit of including such idioms in regimented theory is not worth the cost in unclarity that it would bring. In accord with his fundamental naturalism, he sees judgments of truth as made from within our theory of the world.

For this reason, he sympathizes with what is sometimes called disquotational theory of truth: to say that a sentence is true is, in effect, to assert the sentence. Two qualifications must be made. It enables us to eliminate the predicate from contexts in which it is applied to a finite number of specific sentences, but not from contexts where it is applied to infinitely many.

Contexts of the latter kind are of particular importance to logical theory. Unless, indeed, we ascend to a metalanguage and give a definition of truth for the object language that we are concerned with, following Tarski Second, calling an eternal sentence true is in one way unlike asserting it. Quine, however, sees this as simply a point of usage, with no particular philosophical implications. In this section we take up two ideas much discussed by commentators. See Ebbs, ; for a defense of the position taken here, see Hylton, The basic idea of underdetermination is that two or more rival theories might have all the same observational consequences, and thus be empirically equivalent.

Theory would thus be underdetermined by observation. This might be held to call realism into question as in van Frassen Quine finds underdetermination harder to make sense of than might appear and, in any case, does not see a threat to realism. These latter can, in turn, be tested by observing or contriving situations in which relevant observation sentences are true.

The case which most obviously poses a potential threat to realism is that of a final global theory, a perfected and completed version of our own. What if there are two or more such theories, equally simple, each of which implies all true observation categoricals? Note that the theory will not be implied by all the true observation categoricals; apart from other considerations, some sentences of the theory will essentially contain terms which do not occur in observation categoricals.

Quine is often thought to accept underdetermination. But in fact he holds that there is considerable difficulty in making non-trivial sense of the doctrine. He identifies theories with sets of sentences, not with sets of sentence-meanings propositions.

So we can quite trivially obtain an empirically equivalent alternative to any theory: simply spell one of the theoretical terms differently at every occurrence. Strictly speaking, the result is a different set of sentences which implies all the same observation categoricals a, The difference from the original theory, however, is merely orthographic; this possibility is clearly not of any philosophical significance.

A closely related point can be made in terms of translation. Translation of observation categoricals is quite unproblematic in principle. So we can count two theories as empirically equivalent not merely if they imply the same observation categoricals but also if they imply intertranslateable observation categoricals. So classical physics as formulated in English say would, by this criterion, count as empirically equivalent to classical physics as formulated in German, yet the two formulations are, strictly speaking, different theories.

Quite generally, any theory is empirically equivalent to its translation into any other language. But this fact is also not of any great philosophical significance, and certainly poses no threat to realism. In order to threaten realism, a version of underdetermination would thus have to assert that our postulated complete global theory of the world has empirically equivalent alternatives and that no translation from one theory to the other is possible.

Since the predicates of the theory are its only non-logical vocabulary, this is equivalent to saying that we cannot obtain one from the other by reconstruing the predicates of the theory. If some version of underdetermination were true, how should we respond? The sectarian response is to say that we should not let the existence of the alternative in any way affect our attitude towards our own theory: we should continue to take it seriously, as uniquely telling us the truth about the world.

We are assuming that the two theories possess all theoretical virtues to equal degree; clearly Quine would say that if one theory were superior in some way then we would have reason to adopt it. The ecumenical response, by contrast, counts both theories as true. Quine can afford to vacillate because, in his view, nothing very much turns on the issue. In particular, he never holds that underdetermination, in any version, would threaten realism; at no time does he suggest that it casts doubt on the truth of our theory.

That is not what is in question between the sectarian and the ecumenical positions; all that is in question is whether the alternative theory should also be counted as true. Nor is this surprising. The terms in which underdetermination is stated, such as observation categoricals, are part of our theory, as would be the demonstration that another theory was empirically equivalent. The point here is the naturalism which we have emphasized throughout.

Nothing in our epistemology pronounces on the status of theory from an independent standpoint; to the contrary: it presupposes the truth of our theory. This central idea is not cast in doubt by underdetermination. See Severo ; for criticism, see Moore and for a rejoinder to Moore see Kemp The general claim of the indeterminacy of translation is that there might be different ways of translating a language which are equally correct but which are not mere stylistic variants.

Some philosophers hold that the idea of indeterminacy is absurd, or that it amounts to an extreme form of scepticism about whether we ever understand one another, or whether correct translation is possible at all. It is not hard to see how such opinions arise. One picture of communication is like this: you have an idea, a determinate meaning, in your mind and convey it to me by your utterance. To those who have that picture, indeterminacy threatens the whole idea of communication, for it suggests that the conveying is always vulnerable to drastic failure.

In the case of translation, the analogous view is that synonymy, or sameness of meaning, is the criterion of correct translation; in that case, indeterminacy may appear as a denial that translation is possible at all. From this point of view, talk of synonymy and of ideas in the mind is simply a theoretical gloss which is at best in need of justification.

Quine doubts that the gloss is justifiable; scepticism about the theorizing, however, is not scepticism about the data. Smooth communication certainly occurs, sometimes in cases where different languages are involved. Quine says nothing that casts doubt on the idea that successful translation by his criterion is possible; his claim, indeed, is that it may be possible in more than one way. At this point we need to distinguish two kinds of indeterminacy.

Quine introduces the general idea of indeterminacy, in Chapter Two of , without explicitly distinguishing the two, but subsequently comes to treat them quite differently. The first is indeterminacy of reference : some sentences can be translated in more than one way, and the various versions differ in the reference that they attribute to parts of the sentence, but not in the overall net import that they attribute to the sentence as a whole.

Some philosophers have sought to distinguish these doctrines, but in later work Quine makes it clear that he uses the terms simply as different names for the same thing. See Ricketts , Roth, , and Quine d. All that is needed is what Quine calls a proxy function, which maps each object onto another object and each predicate onto one which is true of a given proxy-object if and only if the original predicate is true of the original object.

For terms referring to physical objects, he suggests, we can take the proxy-function to map each object onto its space-time complement. The change to the translation of singular terms and the change to the translation of predicates cancel out, leaving the overall significance of the sentence unchanged.

Note that it will not help to ask the person we are translating whether she means to refer to the family dog or to its space-time complement: her answer is subject to the same indeterminacy. Indeterminacy of reference is akin to a view of theoretical entities put forward by Ramsey: that there is no more to such an entity than the role that it plays in the structure of the relevant theory see Ramsey, The second kind of indeterminacy, which Quine sometimes refers to as holophrastic indeterminacy , is another matter.

Here the claim is that there is more than one correct method of translating sentences where the two translations of a given sentence differ not merely in the meanings attributed to the sub-sentential parts of speech but also in the net import of the whole sentence. Hence the two translations would express different propositions, in the abstract sense, or different Fregean Gedanke ; Quine claims that undermining these ideas was part of his motivation in developing the doctrine; see d.

This claim involves the whole language, so there are no examples, except perhaps of an exceedingly artificial kind. At some earlier points, he seems to think that sufficiently clear-headed reflection on what goes into translation will suffice to make the idea at least plausible. All that can be required of a method of translation is that it enables us to get along with the speakers of the other language: why should there not be more than one way to do it?

Arguments have been offered for holophrastic indeterminacy based on the idea of underdetermination of theory by evidence by Quine himself in his Perhaps there is determinate translation of observation sentences, and thus of observation categoricals. Still, if each two distinct theories is compatible with all observational truths, surely we could plausibly attribute either theory to the speaker of the other language.

The weakness of this kind of argument is that translation must presumably preserve more than links between sentences and stimulations, as captured by observation sentences; it must also preserve links among sentences, links which make it more or less likely that a person who accepts a given sentence will also accept another. Could there be methods of translation which preserved both kinds of links but nevertheless yielded different results? He has other arguments on that score, as we saw.

His coming to speak of it as conjectural, while not questioning other parts of his philosophy, suggests that he would accept this. If we were sure that translation is determinate, we could perhaps use the idea to define a notion of synonymy. Agnosticism here favours the contrary position. And, as Quine has indicated, we could then define the meaning of an expression as the set of synonymous expressions. Such a notion of meaning might make some difference.

It might, for example, provide a criterion of identity which enabled us to accept beliefs as entities. It would not, however, play the most important roles in which philosophers have cast the idea of meaning. In particular, it would not play a role in the explanation of how we understand our language, or of how communication between persons takes place. In the s and s, many scientifically-oriented philosophers tended to assume some form of Logical Empiricism.

Some of his criticisms are detailed and technical. His target, however, was not a technical detail but the fundamental idea of Logical Empiricism, that there is a distinction between analytic truths and synthetic truths which can account for a priori truth. This was a very major change among scientifically-oriented philosophers. First, he rejects the idea of a distinction between philosophy on the one hand and empirical science on the other hand.

To the contrary: he sees philosophy as essentially in the same line of work as science, but mostly concerned with more theoretical and abstract questions. This is an integral part of his naturalism. Second, his criticism of Carnap, and of the Principle of Tolerance in particular, opens the way for something that might be called metaphysics: for very general reflections on the nature of the world, based on the best scientific knowledge that we have and on claims about how that knowledge might be organized so as to maximize its objectivity and clarity.

Both of these Quinean views, his naturalism and his acceptance of something like metaphysics, correspond to very important developments within analytic philosophy over the past half-century. His influence has surely played a significant role here. For the most part, however, those Quinean doctrines have led to work to which Quine himself would be strongly opposed. In the case of naturalism, many philosophers have welcomed the idea that they are free to use concepts and results drawn from empirical science.

Fewer have accepted that philosophy should also be constrained by scientific standards of clarity, of evidence, and of explanatoriness. The case of metaphysics is similar but perhaps more extreme. Quine accepts that the philosopher is in a position to make very general claims about the world that there are sets but not properties, for example. In his hands, such claims are answerable to the idea of a total system of our scientific knowledge, regimented so as to maximize clarity and systematicity.

See Rosen On the other hand, much of the work directly or indirectly influenced by Quine is of a sort that he would have thought quite misguided. Quinean Epistemology 4. Metaphysics Naturalized 5. Underdetermination of Theory by Evidence; Indeterminacy of Translation 6. Navy, working chiefly in Naval intelligence. Thus Quine says: Our scientific theory can go wrong, and precisely in the familiar way: through failure of predicted observation. But what if… we have achieved a theory that is conformable to every possible observation, past and future?

In what sense could the world then be said to deviate from what the theory claims? Clearly in none …. He discusses the distorting effect which language is likely to have on our view of the world and comments: To some degree…the scientist can enhance objectivity and diminish the interference of language, by his very choice of language.

And we [meaning we philosophers, we scientists at the abstract and philosophical end of the spectrum], concerned to distill the essence of scientific discourse, can profitably purify the language of science beyond what might reasonably be urged upon the practicing scientist.

Underdetermination of Theory by Evidence; Indeterminacy of Translation In this section we take up two ideas much discussed by commentators. Press, Guttenplan ed. Quine , pp. Gibson Jr. Secondary Literature Alston, William P. Armstrong, D. Barrett, Robert and Roger Gibson eds. Zalta ed. Gettier, Edmund L. Gibson, Roger F. This distinction underlines the difference between objects and names of objects. Quine uses single quotation marks to denote a name. After completing his dissertation in , Quine was awarded a Sheldon Traveling Fellowship by Harvard.

This would prove to be a momentous trip; Carnap had a singular and lasting influence on Quine. As Quine understood it via Carnap , analytic truths are true as a result of their meaning. Rather, the truth of these statements turns on facts. He thinks not. But as we saw above, Quine had been brooding over the matter since at least Not only did his qualms about this distinction surface in his discussions and correspondence with Carnap but also in conversation with other prominent philosophers and logicians, for example, Alfred Tarski, Nelson Goodman, and Morton White Quine, Thus, for Quine there is a clear distinction between intensions and extensions, which reflects an equally clear distinction between meanings and references.

Quine then briefly explains the notion of what a word might mean, as opposed to what essential qualities an object denoted by that word might be said to have. To tackle the notion of analyticity, Quine makes a distinction between two kinds of analytic claims, those comprised of logical truths and those comprised of synonymous terms. Logical truths, Quine explains, are any statements that remain true no matter how we interpret the non-logical particles in the statement.

Logical particles are logical operators, for example, not, if then, or, all, no, some, and so forth. Quine suggests that one might, as is often done, appeal to definitions to explain the notion of synonymy. In fact, Quine writes, the only kind of definition that does not presuppose the notion of synonymy, is the act of ascribing an abbreviation purely conventionally.

However, this is problematic as well. However, Quine is not quite sure what cognitive synonymy entails. In particular, we had to assume the meanings of the two kinds of analyticity explained above, that is, analyticity qua logical axioms and analyticity qua synonymy. So, the question is, can we give an account of cognitive synonymy by appealing to interchangeability recall that this is the task at hand without presupposing any definition of analyticity?

However, Quine finds the same kind of circularity here that he has found elsewhere. To show why, Quine reconstructs a general Carnapian paradigm regarding artificial languages and semantical rules, that, broadly speaking, proceeds as follows:. Its semantical rules explicitly specify which statements are analytic in L 0. But, Quine asks, why the specific class K, and not some other arbitrary class, for example, L-Z? So I create a list of things that just so happen to be green.

But why did I pick just green things? Why not orange things, or things that had no particular color at all? But not all truths, just a certain set of truths. According to the main camp of metaphysicians, metaphysics, generally speaking, employs a method where deductive logical laws are applied to a set of axioms that are necessarily true. For the most part, these truths, the axioms that they are derived from, and the logical laws that are used to derive them, are thought to reflect the necessary and eternal nature of the universe.

However, if there are, as Quine claims, no such things as necessary truths, that is, analytic truths, then this main camp of metaphysics is essentially eviscerated. This attack on metaphysics by Quine has spawned new camps of metaphysics which do not rely in this way on deductive methods.

What method then, did Quine use? The empirical method. In this respect, Quine was a scientific philosopher, that is, what is often called a naturalistic philosopher. Like Hume, he believed that philosophical conclusions were not necessarily true—they did not reflect or capture the essential nature of humanity, let alone the nature of the universe. Rather, they were testable, and potentially could be rejected. Stefanie Rocknak Email: rocknaks hartwick. To show why, Quine reconstructs a general Carnapian paradigm regarding artificial languages and semantical rules, that, broadly speaking, proceeds as follows: [1] Assume there is an artificial language L 0.

References and Further Reading Carnap, R. Translated by R. The Logical Syntax of Language. Translated by A. London: Routledge, Carnap, R. Meaning and Necessity. Second edition with supplements. Chicago: Chicago University Press, Creath, R. Berkeley: University of California Press, Davidson, D.

Words and Objections, Essays on the Work of W. Synthese Library Revised ed. Dordrecht: D. Reidel Publishing Company, Dreben, Burton. Fara, R.

Phrase... super, written essay on the patriot act can

Both sorts of entities enter our conceptions only as cultural posits. The surname is from the Celtic language Manx, Mr. Quine's paternal grandfather having emigrated from the Isle of Man to Akron. Quine was named Willard after his mother's brother, a mathematician.

The nominal connection seemed to work. He took a liking to mathematics in high school and majored in it at Oberlin, although philology and philosophy also interested him early. During his junior year at college his mother presented him with Whitehead and Russell's ''Principia Mathematica'' and Skeat's Etymological Dictionary, the latter of which, he said, ''I persistently consulted and explored over the succeeding half century,'' a fact attested to by the liveliness and clarity of his writing.

About his subsequent teaching career he said: ''What I enjoyed most was more the mathematical end than the philosophical, because of it being less a matter of opinion. Clarifying, not defending. Resting on proof. His honors thesis at Oberlin used the system of ''Principia Mathematica'' to prove with 18 pages of symbols a law having to do with ways of combining logical classes. He later edited the 18 pages down to three for the Journal of the London Mathematical Society.

His thesis landed him at Harvard University, where he switched to philosophy to study with Alfred North Whitehead. Quine wrote in his autobiography, ''The Time of My Life. Only two years later, in , he had earned his Ph. Ayer, their English spokesman, Kurt Godel who preferred not to be called a logical positivist , and Rudolf Carnap, from whom, Mr.

Quine said, ''I gained more. The European interlude allowed him to indulge his lifelong passion for crossing borders perhaps related to his penchant for denying distinctions, or, more likely, inspired by a youthful ardor for philately , which, according to a count he made late in his life, was to take him into countries, over another 19, and within sight of 8 more, among the last being China, Oman and Bangladesh. His autobiography describes many of these visits somewhat matter-of-factly.

His early love of geography was also reflected in a gift for drawing maps, which later extended to sketching portraits, several of which appear in his autobiography. In he returned to Harvard as a junior fellow in the newly formed Society of Fellows, which meant three years of unfettered research. Another junior fellow that year was the psychologist B. Skinner, with whom Mr. Quine came to share, as he put it, ''the fundamental position that an explanation -- not the deepest one, but one of a shallower kind -- is possible at the purest behavioral level.

In Mr. Quine became an instructor in philosophy at Harvard, where he taught, off and on, for the rest of his life, interrupted only by service in the Navy during World War II, when he did cryptanalytic work translating the German submarine cypher in Washington, as well as by his globe-girdling travels, the bestowal of medals, prizes and some dozen-and-a-half honorary degrees, and by lectures and classes delivered all over the world.

Kaczynski, the Unabomber ''although I don't remember him,'' Mr. Quine told an interviewer, ''he tied for top, In the Navy he met Marjorie Boynton, a Wave in his office who became his second wife in His first marriage to Naomi Clayton in ended in divorce in His second wife died in He is survived by two daughters from his first marriage, Elizabeth Quine Roberts and Norma Quine; a son and daughter from his second, Douglas Boynton Quine and Margaret Quine McGovern; five grandchildren; and a great-grandson.

Quine published about 20 books, some reprinted in multiple editions and several translated into as many as eight languages. One of the more accessible works, ''Quiddities: An Intermittently Philosophical Dictionary'' , was praised in The New York Times by John Gross in general for ''a deadpan humor that can light up even the most austere subjects'' and in particular for commending the state lottery as '' 'a public subsidy of intelligence,' on the grounds that 'it yields public income that is calculated to lighten the tax burden of us prudent abstainers at the expense of the benighted masses of wishful thinkers.

Quine wrote: ''I am orderly and I am frugal. For the most part my only emotion is impatience,'' he continued. Although a ''Quine'' is defined in the New Hackers Dictionary as ''a program that generates a copy of its own source text as its complete output,'' Mr. Quine never wrote on a computer, always preferring the Remington typewriter that he first used for his doctoral thesis. Because that project contained so many special symbols, he had to have the machine adjusted by removing the second period, the second comma and the question mark.

Arts W. View on timesmachine. TimesMachine is an exclusive benefit for home delivery and digital subscribers. Cambridge Review 75 , Smart, J. In Australasian Journal of Philosophy 33 , Quinton, Anthony, "The importance of Quine. Strawson, Peter, "Paradoxes, posits and propositions. In The Journal of Symbolic Logic 53 , Putnam, Hilary, "The greatest logical positivist. Grice, H. Frankfurt, H. Putnam, Hilary, "'Two dogmas' revisited. Stocksfield: Oriel Press, , Berlin: Akademie Verlag , A Vindication of the Analytic vs.

Synthetic Distinction. Vermazen, Bruce, "Consistency and underdetermination. English, Jane, "Underdetermination: Craig and Ramsey. Stroud, Barry, "The significance of naturalized epistemology. Ricketts, Thomas G. Fogelin, Robert J. Friedman, Michael, "Philosophical Naturalism. Koppelberg, Dirk, "Foundationalism and Coherentism Reconsidered. Flanagan, Owen, "Pragmatism, ethics, and correspondence truth: response to Gibson and Quine.

Harman, Gilbert, "Quine on meaning and existence, I. Metaph 21 , Harman, Gilbert, "Quine on meaning and existence, II. Humphries, Barbara M. Morton, Adam "Denying the doctrine and changing the subject. Dummett, Michael, "The significance of Quine's indeterminacy thesis. Friedman, Michael, "Physicalism and the indeterminacy of translation.

Hylton, Peter, "Analyticity and the indeterminacy of translation. George, Alexander, "Whence and whither the debate between Quine and Chomsky? Searle, John R. Chihara, Charles S. Cambridge, Mass. Massey, Gerald J. Abel, Gunter, "Indeterminacy and Interpretation.

Grandy, Richard, "Reference, meaning and belief. Geach, Peter, "On what there is, part I. Ayer, Alfred J. Church, Alonzo. Scheffler, Israel, and Chomsky, Noam, "What is said to be. Grandy, Richard E. Stich, Stephen P. Field, Hartry, "Theory change and the indeterminacy of reference. Morscher, Edgar, "Ontology as a normative science. Aune, Bruce, "Quine on translation and reference. Massey, Gerald, "Indeterminacy, inscrutability and ontological relativity.

Davidson, Donald, "The inscrutability of reference. Putnam, Hilary, "The Way the World is. Field, Hartry, "Quine and the correspondence theory. Hylton, Peter, "Rorty and Quine on scheme and content. Mohanty, J. Schuldenfrei, Richard, "Dualistic physicalism in Quine: A radical critique. Strawson, P. Geach, Peter Thomas, "Quine on classes and properties.

Moravcsik, Julius, "Universals, Particulars, and Individuation.

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Quine's Demonstration of the Circularity of Analyticity

Oxford: Cambridge University Press, Pakaluk. PARAGRAPHThis attack on metaphysics by can only understand the world analytic talents on many apparently of it. References and Further Reading Carnap. Essays on the Philosophy of. Yet those who understood him best insisted on his status true-they did not reflect or humans can know about objective. The essay set out to. The Logical Syntax of Language. Quiddities: An Intermittently Philosophical Dictionary. Ontological Relativity and Other Essays. This position led him to the latter camp, a hero to read, ''How do we that ''philosophy of science is.

published Ontological Relativity and Other Essays. Lugg, Andrew, , “W. V. Quine on Analyticity: 'Two Dogmas of Empiricism' in. Philosophy of Quine, Dagfinn Føllesdal, table of contents, Willard Van Orman Quine, mathematician and philosopher including list of books, articles, essays. “The Two Dogmas of Empiricism,” The Philosophical Review 60 (): Quine, W.V. The Ways of Paradox and Other Essays. Enlarged edition. Cambridge, MA.