Quine's Behaviorism and Linguistic Meaning: Why Quine's Behaviorism is not Illicit

Philosophia 39 (1):51-59 (2011)
Abstract
Some of Quine’s critics charge that he arrives at a behavioristic account of linguistic meaning by starting from inappropriately behavioristic assumptions (Kripke 1982, 14; Searle 1987, 123). Quine has even written that this account of linguistic meaning is a consequence of his behaviorism (Quine 1992, 37). I take it that the above charges amount to the assertion that Quine assumes the denial of one or more of the following claims: (1) Language-users associate mental ideas with their linguistic expressions. (2) A language-user can have a private theory of linguistic meaning which guides his or her use of language. (3) Language learning relies on innate mechanisms. Call an antecedent denial of one or more of these claims illicit behaviorism. In this paper I show that Quine is prepared to grant, if only for the sake of argument, all three of the above claims. I argue that his claim that there is nothing in linguistic meaning beyond what is to be gleaned from overt behavior in observable circumstances is unscathed by these allowances (Quine 1992, 38). And I show that the behaviorism which Quine does assume should be viewed as a largely uncontroversial aspect of his evidential empiricism. I conclude that if one sets out to dismiss Quine’s arguments for internal-meaning skepticism, this dismissal should not be motivated by the charge that his conclusions rely on the illicitly behavioristic assumptions that some have suggested that they do
Keywords Quine  Indeterminacy  Meaning  Behaviorism
Categories (categorize this paper)
Options
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
 
Download options
PhilPapers Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 11,392
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA
W. V. Quine (1968). Ontological Relativity. Journal of Philosophy 65 (7):185-212.

View all 9 references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Similar books and articles
Robert Sinclair (2009). Why Quine is Not an Externalist. Journal of Philosophical Research 34:279-304.
Willard V. Quine (1980). Sellars on Behaviorism, Language, and Meaning. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 61 (January-April):26-30.
Byeong-Uk Yi (2008). A New Case for Indeterminacy Of Translation. Proceedings of the Xxii World Congress of Philosophy 39:283-289.
Harold Morick (1972). Challenges to Empiricism. Belmont, Calif.,Wadsworth Pub. Co..
Analytics

Monthly downloads

Added to index

2010-11-18

Total downloads

57 ( #27,903 of 1,102,912 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

5 ( #62,002 of 1,102,912 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature


Discussion
Start a new thread
Order:
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.