This paper deals with Quine's several attempts To define the concept of underdetermination of scientifics theories in some of his articles and with the dependence of this definition on other concepts of Quine's semantic holism. To define "underdetermination”, Quine needs to explain the relationship between theory and observation. His position concerning this subject can be criticized, on the one hand, by saying that it gives an insufficient criterion for "underdetermination", and, on the other hand, by asserting that (...) it is still too close to the reductionist's conception of truth. (shrink)
Auf die Rede von Begriffen und vergleichbaren Entitäten, so behauptet Quine, könne man verzichten. Mit einer solchen Einstellung handelt Quine sich jedoch Schwierigkeiten ein, die z.B. an seinem Konzept des Setzens von Gegenständen sowie an seinem Verständnis von Existenzaussagen sichtbar werden (§ 1 und 2). Im Hintergrund jener Einstellung steht ein unzureichendes Verständnis der Funktion von Begriffen (§ 3). Zudem hat Quine bisher nicht zur Kenntnis genommen, daß Wittgenstein in seiner Spätphilosophie Vorschläge zum Verständnis der Rede von (...) Begriffen entwickelt hat, welche es erlauben, zahlreiche Defizite des neuzeitlichen Verständnisses von Begriffen zu beheben (§ 4). (shrink)
This paper is an examination of evidential holism, a prominent position in epistemology and the philosophy of science which claims that experiments only ever confirm or refute entire theories. The position is historically associated with W.V. Quine, and it is at once both popular and notorious, as well as being largely under-described. But even though there’s no univocal statement of what holism is or what it does, philosophers have nevertheless made substantial assumptions about its content and its truth. Moreover (...) they have drawn controversial and important conclusions from these assumptions. In this paper I distinguish three types of evidential holism and argue that the most oft-cited and controversial thesis is entirely unmotivated. The other two theses are much overlooked, but are well-motivated and free from controversial implications. (shrink)
The aim of the paper is to evaluate the usefulness of W.V.O. Quine's criterion for establishing the ontological commitments of a theory. At the outset, Quine's conception is reconstructed. It is argued that Quine does not provide a particularly clear exposition of the procedure of establishing ontological commitments. It is further maintained that - on a persuasive interpretation - one should distinguish several concepts associated with Quine's conception. These are: ontology, domain tolerated by an ontology, ontological (...) commitments type 1 (categorical), ontological commitments type 2 (individual). Then, the procedure itself is reconstructed. It is argued that it consists of three stages: (1) the reduction of the analyzed theory to so-called basic existential propositions; (2) the paraphrase of the basic existential propositions into the formulae of the I order logic; (3) the reconstruction of the ontology presupposed by the given theory as well as of the ontological commitments type 1 and type 2. The final part of the paper contains three objections against Quine's conception. It is argued, first, that it is impossible to reconstruct the ontology presupposed by the given theory as it requires that the same or a richer ontology is already in use. Second, Quine's procedure is based on a vicious circle: one needs to know the ontological commitments in order to reconstruct them. Third, if one assumes that Quine's procedure is applicable to uninterpreted theories, it is impossible to determine the domain of these theories. The conclusion of the paper is that Quine's criterion seem useless. (shrink)
Let us imagine an ideal ethical agent, i.e., an agent who (i) holds a certain ethical theory, (ii) has all factual knowledge needed for determining which action among those open to her is right and which is wrong, according to her theory, and who (iii) is ideally motivated to really do whatever her ethical theory demands her to do. If we grant that the notions of omniscience and ideal motivation both make sense, we may ask: Could there possibly be an (...) ideal utilitarian, that is, an ideal ethical agent whose ethical theory says that our only moral obligation consists in maximizing utility? I claim that an ideal agent cannot be utilitarian. My reasoning against ideal utilitarianism will parallel Putnam's famous argument against the brains in a vat. Putnam argues that an envatted brain cannot describe its own situation because its words do not refer to brains and vats; I argue that an ideal utilitarian cannot entertain or communicate the beliefs necessary to being a utilitarian. (shrink)
I shall here discuss some matters related to the so-called radical indeterminacy or inscrutability arguments due to, e.g., Willard v. O. Quine, Hilary Putnam, John Wallace and Donald Davidson.1 These are arguments that, on the face of it, demonstrate that there is radical indeterminacy in what the expressions in a theory refer to and in what the ontology of the theory is. I will use “inscrutability argument” as a general label for these arguments. My main topic – after (...) I have dealt with some issues that in the context are mere preliminaries – will be what the consequences of inscrutability for ontology might be. (The label ‘inscrutability’ is not ideal, as it suggests that the problem raised is primarily epistemic. But it is common to use the label in the context of Quine’s arguments. And it has the advantage over the alternative suggestion “indeterminacy” that it signals that we are here dealing with a special kind of indeterminacy, not only more widespread but also in principle irremediable.). (shrink)
Platonism is the most pervasive philosophy of mathematics. Indeed, it can be argued that an inarticulate, half-conscious Platonism is nearly universal among mathematicians. The basic idea is that mathematical entities exist outside space and time, outside thought and matter, in an abstract realm. In the more eloquent words of Edward Everett, a distinguished nineteenth-century American scholar, "in pure mathematics we contemplate absolute truths which existed in the divine mind before the morning stars sang together, and which will continue to exist (...) there when the last of their radiant host shall have fallen from heaven." In What is Mathematics, Really?, renowned mathematician Rueben Hersh takes these eloquent words and this pervasive philosophy to task, in a subversive attack on traditional philosophies of mathematics, most notably, Platonism and formalism. Virtually all philosophers of mathematics treat it as isolated, timeless, ahistorical, inhuman. Hersh argues the contrary, that mathematics must be understood as a human activity, a social phenomenon, part of human culture, historically evolved, and intelligible only in a social context. Mathematical objects are created by humans, not arbitrarily, but from activity with existing mathematical objects, and from the needs of science and daily life. Hersh pulls the screen back to reveal mathematics as seen by professionals, debunking many mathematical myths, and demonstrating how the "humanist" idea of the nature of mathematics more closely resembles how mathematicians actually work. At the heart of the book is a fascinating historical account of the mainstream of philosophy--ranging from Pythagoras, Plato, Descartes, Spinoza, and Kant, to Bertrand Russell, David Hilbert, Rudolph Carnap, and Willard V.O. Quine--followed by the mavericks who saw mathematics as a human artifact, including Aristotle, Locke, Hume, Mill, Peirce, Dewey, and Lakatos. In his epilogue, Hersh reveals that this is no mere armchair debate, of little consequence to the outside world. He contends that Platonism and elitism fit well together, that Platonism in fact is used to justify the claim that "some people just can't learn math." The humanist philosophy, on the other hand, links mathematics with geople, with society, and with history. It fits with liberal anti-elitism and its historical striving for universal literacy, universal higher education, and universal access to knowledge and culture. Thus Hersh's argument has educational and political ramifications. Written by the co-author of The Mathematical Experience, which won the American Book Award in 1983, this volume reflects an insider's view of mathematical life, based on twenty years of doing research on advanced mathematical problems, thirty-five years of teaching graduates and undergraduates, and many long hours of listening, talking to, and reading philosophers. A clearly written and highly iconoclastic book, it is sure to be hotly debated by anyone with a passionate interest in mathematics or the philosophy of science. (shrink)
A crucial aspect of the revolution that affected logic at the beginning of the twentieth century concerns the severance of its traditional dependence on the form and structure of natural language. Such a breakdown has had enormous consequences not only for the development of formal logic, but also for the opening of new perspectives in the study of language. This peculiar relationship between mathematical logic and language inquiry is best illustrated by Willard V. O. Quine (1961: 1): Mathematicians (...) expedite their special business by deviating from ordinary language. Each such departure is prompted by specific considerations of utility for the mathematical venture afoot. Such reforms may be expected to reflect light on the ordinary language from which they depart. As a major consequence of its “reforms”, the new mathematical logic has been able to revivify and boost the notion of philosophical and logical grammar, typical of the seventeenth and eighteenth century rationalist tradition. New life has therefore been given to the idea that there exists a common grammatical core shared by every language and determinable a priori, with respect to which diversity and variation are just prima facie features of natural language, hiding its universal logical structure. (shrink)
In 1947 Quine wrote one of the most important and influential articles in the twentieth century philosophy - "On What There Is". One of the aims of this article was a critique of Meinong's Theory of Object. The critique was especially focused upon nonactual possibilities, which (according to Meinong) are some kinds of nonexistent objects. In my paper I want to present Neo-Meinongian refutations of Quine's critique. In order to do this I discuss: (i) the main thesis of (...) "On What There Is" ,(ii) premises of Meinongian Theory, (iii) views of proponents and opponents of the idea of nonexistent objects, (iv) Quine's critique aimed at nonactual possibilities, (v) Terence Parsons' theory, based on the distinction between nuclear and extranucler properties, and (vi) noneism, defended by Richard Routley. I also try to give a reply to the most popular critiques aimed at both Neo-Meinongian theories. The main conclusion is that Quine's critique and his arguments against nonactual possibilities aren't dangerous for theories endorsing Meinong's Theory of Object. Contrary to what Gilbert Ryle once claimed (If Meinongianism isn't dead, nothing is), Meinongian theories are still alive and doing well. (shrink)
Quine was born on June 25, 1908 in Akron Ohio. From 1926 to 1930 he attended Oberlin College, from which he graduated with a B.A. in mathematics that included reading in mathematical philosophy. He received his PhD from Harvard in 1932 with a dissertation on Principia Mathematica advised by Whitehead. The next year traveling on fellowship in Europe, where he interacted with Carnap, Tarski, Lesniewski, Lukasiewicz, Schlick, Hahn, Reichenbach, Gödel, and Ayer. He was back in Cambridge between 1933 and (...) 1936 as a Junior Fellow at the Harvard Society. In 1936, he joined the Harvard faculty, where he remained for 42 years, except for 3 years in the Navy in World War II. Returning after the war, he was promoted to Professor in 1948. Although he retired in 1978, he retained his office and remained active through much of the 1990s. Quine died on Christmas Day 2000. (shrink)
W. V. O. Quine’s assault on the analytic/synthetic distinction is one of the most celebrated events in the history of twentieth century philosophy. This paper shines a light on Quine’s own understanding of the history of this distinction. More specifically, this paper argues, contrary to what seems to be the received view, that Quine explicitly recognized a kindred subversive spirit in David Hume.
W. V. O. Quine's well-known attack upon the analytic-synthetic distinction is held to affect only one of the two species of analytic statements he distinguishes. In particular it is not directed at and does not affect the so-called logical truths. In this paper the scope of Quine's attack is extended so as to embrace the logical truths as well. It is shown that the unclarifiability of the notion of 'synonymy' deprives us not only of "analytic statements that are (...) obtainable from logical truths by the replacement of synonyms with synonyms" but of "logical truths" themselves. (shrink)
The work of W.V.O. Quine is often held to folIow the logical positivism of the Vienna Circle in broad outline, but to diverge from it in crucial particulars. On the basis of recent reevaluations of the latter, I argue that the philosophical distance between Quine and the Vienna Circle is less than ordinarily thought, or, most importantly, than Quine himself admits.
En una de sus formulaciones más simples, la tesis quineana de la equivalencia empírica entre teorías sostiene que dada una teoría T que dé cuenta del conjunto de observaciones O, es posible que haya otra teoría T* lógicamente incompatible con T, pero empíricamente equivalente, i. e. da cuenta del mismo conjunto O de observaciones. El propósito de este ensayo será el de examinar el impacto de esta tesis frente a la del realismo científico ingenuo, reformulándola en términos más precisos y (...) examinando su plausibilidad. La conclusión será que la tesis de la equivalencia empírica no es una tesis lógico-filosófica como aquellas sobre las que se basa (subdeterminación de las teorías por la experiencia, holismo epistemológico), sino que su carácter es práctico y condiciona sobre las actuales capacidades para observar y testar; también se explotará esta consecuencia para mostrar cómo podría darse cabida a un tipo de realismo a pesar de las tesis quineanas. Se tendrá como referente el artículo de W. V. O. Quine “On Empirically Equivalent Systems of the World” (1975). (shrink)
By the early 1970s, and continuing through 2001, David Lewis and Saul Kripke had taken over W.V.O. Quine’s leadership in metaphysics, epistemology, philosophy of language, and philosophical logic in the English-speaking world. Quine, in turn, had inherited his position in the early 1950s from Rudolf Carnap, who had been the leading logical positivist -- first in Europe, and, after 1935, in America. A renegade positivist himself, Quine eschewed apriority, necessity, and analyticity, while (for a time) adopting a (...) holistic version of verificationism. Like Carnap, he placed philosophical logic and the philosophy of science at the center of philosophy. (shrink)
If everything exists, then it looks, prima facie, as if talking about nothing is equivalent to not talking about anything. However, we appear as talking or thinking about particular nothings, that is, about particular items that are not among the existents. How to explain this phenomenon? One way is to deny that everything exists, and consequently to be ontologically committed to nonexistent “objects”. Another way is to deny that the process of thinking about such nonexistents is a genuine singular thought. (...) The first strategy we may call “the Meinongian tradition” (championed by authors like Alexius Meinong, Ernst Mally, Terence Parsons, Richard Routley, and Ed Zalta), while the second could be dubbed “the de re tradition” (connected to work by Gareth Evans, John McDowell, and Tyler Burge). Finally, the third way to solve the above puzzle, and probably the majority view in contemporary philosophy, is due to Bertrand Russell and W.V.O. Quine, who deny the particularity of the apparent nonexistent object and the singularity of the corresponding thought via the view that any statement about apparently particular nonexistents can be paraphrased into a quantified expression containing no genuinely referring terms. Jody Azzouni’s book is an attempt to argue for and develop a fourth view, based on the hitherto unrecognised notion of an “empty singular thought”, which Azzouni takes to have a place in logical space. Concomitant to developing the view, Azzouni applies it to three typical cases of talk about nonexistents: numbers, hallucinations, and fictions. As the name suggests, empty singular thought is devised as having three essential characteristics: (1) it is genuine thought, no different from any other, (2) it is singular, that is, its content is partly determined by particular non-conceptualised states of affairs, and (3) nevertheless it is genuinely empty, unlike Meinongian thought, that is, its object “does not exist in any sense”, to use Azzouni’s own formulation. Azzouni undertakes some challenging acrobatics when trying to persuade the reader that his view is substantive and it does not end up being the same as any of the previous three views about apparent talk about nonexistents.. (shrink)
It is sometimes said that there are two, competing versions of W. V. O. Quine’s unrelenting empiricism, perhaps divided according to temporal periods of his career. According to one, logic is exempt from, or lies outside the scope of, the attack on the analytic-synthetic distinction. This logic-friendly Quine holds that logical truths and, presumably, logical inferences are analytic in the traditional sense. Logical truths are knowable a priori, and, importantly, they are incorrigible, and so immune from revision. The (...) other, radical reading of Quine does not exempt logic from the attack on analyticity and a priority. Logical truths and inferences are themselves part of the web of belief, and the same global methodology applies to logic as to any other part of the web, such as theoretical chemistry or ordinary beliefs about ordinary objects. Everything, including logic, is up for grabs in our struggle for holistic confirmation. The purpose of this paper is to examine the law of non-contradiction, and the concomitant principle of ex falso quodlibet, from the perspective of the principles advocated by the radical Quine. I show that he has no compelling reason to accept either of these. To put it bluntly, neither the law of non-contradiction nor the rule of ex falso quodlibet is empirically confirmed, and these principles fare poorly on the various criteria for theory acceptance on the methodology of the radical Quine. So the radical Quine is led rather quickly and rather directly into something in the neighborhood of Graham Priest’s dialetheism. (shrink)
events all seem to have something in common, metaphysically speaking, and some philosophers have inquired into what this common nature is. The main aim of a theory of events is to propose and defend an identity condition on events; that is, a condition under which two events are identical. For example, if Brutus kills Caesar by stabbing him, are there two events, the stabbing and the killing, or only one event? Each of the leading theories of events is surveyed in (...) this article. According to Jaegwon Kim, events are basically property instantiations. In contrast, Donald Davidson attempts to individuate events by their causes and effects. However, Davidson eventually rejects this view and, together with W.V.O. Quine, individuates events with respect to their location in spacetime. According to David Lewis, an event is a property of a spatiotemporal region. (shrink)
Platonism is the view that there exist such things as abstract objects — where an abstract object is an object that does not exist in space or time and which is therefore entirely non-physical and nonmental. Platonism in this sense is a contemporary view. It is obviously related to the views of Plato in important ways, but it is not entirely clear that Plato endorsed this view, as it is defined here. In order to remain neutral on this question, the (...) term ‘platonism’ is spelled with a lower-case ‘p’. (See entry on Plato.) The most important figure in the development of modern platonism is Gottlob Frege (1884, 1892, 1893-1903, 1919). The view has also been endorsed by many others, including Kurt Gödel (1964), Bertrand Russell (1912), and W.V.O. Quine (1948, 1951). (shrink)
The Quine-Putnam Indispensability argument is the argument for treating mathematical entities on a par with other theoretical entities of our best scientific theories. This argument is usually taken to be an argument for mathematical realism. In this chapter I will argue that the proper way to understand this argument is as putting pressure on the viability of the marriage of scientific realism and mathematical nominalism. Although such a marriage is a popular option amongst philosophers of science and mathematics, in (...) light of the indispensability argument, the marriage is seen to be very unstable. Unless one is careful about how the Quine-Putnam argument is disarmed, one can be forced to either mathematical realism or, alternatively, scientific instrumentalism. I will explore the various options: (i) finding a way to reconcile the two partners in the marriage by disarming the indispensability argument (Jody Azzouni , Hartry Field [13, 14], Alan Musgrave [18, 19], David Papineau ); (ii) embracing mathematical realism (W.V.O. Quine , Michael Resnik , J.J.C. Smart ); and (iii) embracing some form of scientific instrumentalism (Ot´ avio Bueno [7, 8], Bas van Fraassen ). Elsewhere , I have argued for option (ii) and I won’t repeat those arguments here. Instead, I will consider the difficulties for each of the three options just mentioned, with special attention to option (i). In relation to the latter, I will discuss an argument due to Alan Musgrave  for why option (i) is a plausible and promising approach. From the discussion of Musgrave’s argument, it will emerge that the issue of holist versus separatist theories of confirmation plays a curious role in the realism–antirealism debate in the philosophy of mathematics. I will argue that if you take confirmation to be an holistic matter—it’s whole theories (or significant parts thereof) that are confirmed in any experiment—then there’s an inclination to opt for (ii) in order to resolve the marital tension outlined above.. (shrink)
At least since W. V. O. Quine's famous critique of the analytic/synthetic distinction, philosophers have been deeply divided over whether there are any analytic truths. One line of thought suggests that the simple fact that people have 'intuitions of analyticity' might provide an independent argument for analyticities. If defenders of analyticity can explain these intuitions and opponents cannot, then perhaps there are analyticities after all. We argue that opponents of analyticity have some unexpected resources for explaining these intuitions and (...) that, accordingly, the argument from intuition fails. (shrink)
In this paper, I propose that influential arguments of Jacques Derridas's and Judith Butler's rely on behaviorism and relativism, a reliance which has implications for, among other things, the issue of hate speech. I begin with a brief discussion of the philosophy of W. V. O. Quine, a thinker seldom discussed in relationship to continental poststructuralism. Quine is interesting because he explicitly defends an ontological relativism combined with linguistic behaviorism, the latter as influenced by B. F. Skinner and (...) John Watson. I then show that Butler's and Derrida's theories demonstrate a similar yet unacknowledged lineage. I devote the final section of the paper to a discussion of hate speech, and the problematization of behaviorism and relativism it entails. Key Words: behaviorism Judith Butler Jacques Derrida hate speech poststructuralism W. V. O. Quine. (shrink)
The author argues that Thomas Hobbes anticipates a set of questions about meaning and semantic order that come to fuller expression in the 20th century, in the writings of W.V.O. Quine, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Donald Davidson, Jacques Derrida, and Richard Rorty. Despite their different points of departure, these 20th-century writers pose a number of profound questions about the conditions for the stability of meaning, and about the conditions that govern the use of the term "language" itself. Though the more (...) recent debate benefits from a set of philosophical tools unavailable in the seventeenth century, the author further argues that Hobbes performs a number of maneuvers in his texts from which his 20th-century successors would profit. Key Words: Hobbes language meaning analytic philosophy Wittgenstein. (shrink)
Dei numerosi libri che hanno iscritto Nelson Goodman tra i giganti della filosofia del Novecento, questo può a buon diritto considerarsi il più fortunato ma anche il più difficile, il più discusso, il più scomodo. Pochi giorni dopo la sua comparsa in libreria, nell’autunno del 19781, la New York Review of Books ne pubblicò una recensione a firma di W. V. O. Quine che non esitava a definirlo «una congerie».2 Si parla di stile, di teoria della citazione, di illusioni (...) ottiche, di filosofia della natura e filosofia dell’arte. Si citano Peirce, Gombrich e Kanizsa a fianco di Kant, Dummett, Woody Allen. Si coniano neologismi («acquacentrico») quando pure esistono parole che fanno al caso («idrocentrico»). Insomma, c’è un po’ di tutto, e «la fragilità del tutto riflette la filosofia che lo tiene insieme: la dottrina secondo cui ci sono svariati mondi, nessuno dei quali onnicomprensivo»3. A Goodman la recensione non piacque e la risposta non si fece attendere. In una lettera all’Editore pubblicata due settimane dopo4, il filosofo ringraziava per la pronta recensione ma accusava il Professor Quine di aver taciuto ai lettori che il libro era da leggersi sullo sfondo delle opere che l’avevano preceduto: La struttura dell’apparenza, Fatti, finzione e previsione, I linguaggi dell’arte e Problemi e progetti.5 E assicurava che.. (shrink)
In the opening sentence of his Methods of Logic, W. V. O. Quine writes, “Logic is an old subject, and since 1879 it has been a great one.”1 Quine is referring to the year in which Gottlob Frege presented his Begriffschrift, or “concept-script,” one of the first published accounts of a logical system or calculus with quantification and a function-argument analysis of propositions. There can be no doubt as to the importance of these introductions, and, indeed, Frege’s orientation (...) and advances, if not his particular system, have proven to be highly significant for much of mathematical logic and research pertaining to the foundations of mathematics. Nevertheless, Quine’s assessment, often repeated, obscures other .. (shrink)
In codifying the methods of translation, several writers have formulated maxims that would constrain interpreters to construe their subjects as (more or less) rational speakers of the truth. Such maxims have come to be known as versions of the principle of charity. W. V. O. Quine suggests an empirical, not purely methodological, basis for his version of that principle. Recently, Stephen Stich has criticized Quine's attempt to found the principle of charity in translation on information about the probabilities (...) of various sorts of mistakes. Here 1 defend Quine's approach. These issues have important implications for the supposed a priori status of human rationality. (shrink)
Revisionary ontologists are making a comeback. Quasi-nihilists, like Peter van Inwagen and Trenton Merricks, insist that the only composite objects that exist are living things. Unrestriced universalists, like W.V.O. Quine, David Lewis, Mark Heller, and Hud Hudson, insist that any collection of objects composes something, no matter how scattered over time and space they may be. And there are more besides.1 The result, says Eli Hirsch, is that many commonsense judgments about the existence or identity of highly visible physical (...) objects are a priori necessarily false. In a “last ditch effort” to bring revisionary ontologists back to their senses, Hirsch marshalls what he calls the Argument from Charity.2 We can be sure that there are tables and chairs and that there are no fusions of Plato’s nose and the Eiffel Tower, says Hirsch, because these commonsense platitudes are a logical consequence of the well-known principle of interpretive charity applied to natural languages, like English. In what follows, I assess the Argument from Charity. My conclusion is that if this is the best we can do to save revisionary ontologists, they are surely lost forever. (shrink)
Though Mr. Lin purports to attack “Chomsky's view of language” and to defend the “common sense view of language”, he in fact attacks “views” that are basic and common to linguists, psycholinguists, and developmental psychologists. Indeed, though he cites W. V. O. Quine, L. Wittgenstein, and J. L. Austin in his support, they all sharply part company from his views, Austin particularly. Lin's views are not common sense but a set of scholarly and philological prejudices that linguistics disparaged from (...) its inception as an organized science a hundred years ago. Professor [of Philosophy]: I will explain to you the secrets of language in all its wealth and complexity. (shrink)
Considering the instability of nonlinear dynamics, the deductive inference rule Modus ponens itself is not enough to guarantee the validity of reasoning sequences in the real physical world, and similar results cannot necessarily be obtained from similar causes. Some kind of stability hypothesis should be added in order to draw meaningful conclusions. Hence, the uncertainty of deductive inference appears to be like that of inductive inference, and the asymmetry between deduction and induction becomes unrecognizable such as to undermine the basis (...) for the fundamental cleavage between analytic truth and synthetic truth, as W. V. O. Quine pointed out. Induction is not inferior to deduction from a pragmatic point of view. (shrink)
The paper deals with our ability to classify objects as being of a certain kind on the basis of information provided by the senses (empirical classification) and to ascribe empirical predicates to objects on the basis of these classificatory verdicts (empirical predication). I consider, first, the project of construing the episodes in which this ability is exercised as involving universals. I argue that this construal faces epistemological problems concerning our access to the universals that it invokes. I present the empiricist (...) strategy for dealing with these problems by appeal to sensory qualities, and argue that it rests on a mistake. Then I turn to sketching an account of our faculty of empirical classification and predication which doesn't invoke universals. The account takes as its starting point the nominalist construal of sense experience to be found in the work of C. I. Lewis and Nelson Goodman. I argue that this construal has the resources for explaining some of the central features of the practice of empirical predication. There are those who feel that our ability to understand general terms ... would be inexplicable unless there were universals as objects of apprehension. And there are those who fail to detect, in such appeal to a realm of entities over and above the concrete objects in space and time, any explanatory value. W. V. O. Quine, ‘Logic and the Reification of Universals’. (shrink)
This article is devoted to the question: does the Duhemian argument support the position taken by those contemporary philosophers who--like W. V. O. Quine and M. White--reject the distinction between analytic and synthetic statements? The term "Duhemian argument" is used to refer to the following statement: it is impossible to put to the test one isolated empirical statement; testing empirical statements involves testing a whole group of hypotheses. An analysis of the logical structure of reductive reasoning leads to the (...) conclusion that the Duhemian argument is valid and that it entails the following statements: (1)--experience alone cannot compel us absolutely to the acceptance of any isolated empirical statement whatsoever, independently of our acceptance or rejection of some other statements, and (2)--no isolated empirical statement can be conclusively falsified by experience, independently of our acceptance or rejection of some other statements. The Duhemian argument seems then to establish conclusively the cogency of the claim that, in principle, it is possible to reject or to maintain any particular empirical statement, provided we make appropriate changes in the system of hypotheses which is put to test. The philosophers who reject the distinction between analytic and synthetic statements--in particular Quine--claim that the same line of reasoning supports their contention. It is alleged that: (1)--the Duhemian argument makes impossible a definition of statement synonymy and, consequently, a definition of analyticity in terms of synonymy, and (2)--that the unit of empirical significance is the whole of science or the total science, and (3)--that it is a folly to seek a boundary between synthetic and analytic statements, because all our statements are equally open to revision. The article tries to show that these conclusions do not follow from the Duhemian argument. In particular it is shown: (1)--that the Duhemian argument does not exclude the definition of statement synonymy, (2)--that this argument does not support the contention that the enigmatic entity called "the whole of science" or the "total science" is involved in each and every testing procedure, (3)--that the principle of fundamental revisability of every statement does not change the fact that in scientific practice the situation is never so hopeless as the Duhemian argument seems to imply, because even inconclusive arguments may differ in their adequacy, and (4)--that the term "revision" is ambiguous and only this ambiguity lends an air of plausibility to Quine's formulations. The conclusion is that the Duhemian line of reasoning does not support the contention of philosophers who reject the distinction between analytic and synthetic statements. (shrink)
Though Mr. Lin purports to attack "Chomsky's view of language" and to defend the "common sense view of language", he in fact attacks "views" that are basic and common to linguists, psycholinguists, and developmental psychologists. Indeed, though he cites W. V. O. Quine, L. Wittgenstein, and J. L. Austin in his support, they all sharply part company from his views, Austin particularly. Lin's views are not common sense but a set of scholarly and philological prejudices that linguistics disparaged from (...) its inception as an organized science a hundred years ago. (shrink)
Der bedeutende amerikanische Logiker und Philosoph W.V.O. Quine hat die folgende Frage ins Zentrum seines Schaffens gestellt: "Wie kommen wir von unseren Sinnesdaten zu Theorien über die Welt?“ Bei der Beantwortung dieser Frage tritt ein grundlegendes Problem auf, das damit zusammenhängt, dass uns immer nur ein endlicher Satz an Informationen über die Welt zugänglich ist. Jedes Experiment liefert z. B. nur eine endliche Anzahl von Messpunkten.
This volume brings together for the first time thirteen recent interviews with the brightest names in contemporary philosophy, including W.V.O. Quine, Richard Rorty, Stanley Cavell, Hilary Putnam and John Rawls. The pieces are culled from the Harvard Review of Philosophy, which has operated at the core of Harvard's Philosophy Department since 1991. Covering wide range of topics from the philosophy of law to logic to metaphysics to literature, the interviews provide a fascinating introduction to some of the most influential (...) thinkers of the day. The book also includes a foreword by Thomas Scanlon. Interviews with Henry Alison, Stanley Cavell, Alan Dershowitz, Cora Diamond, Umberto Eco, Harvey C. Mansfield, Jr., Alexander Nehemas, Hilary Putnam, W.V. Quine, John Rawls, Richard Rorty, Michael Sandel, Cornel West. (shrink)
Philosophers have tried to explain how science finds the truth by using new developments in logic to study scientific language and inference. R. G. Collingwood argued that only a logic of problems could take context into account. He was ignored, but the need to reconcile secure meanings with changes in context and meanings was seen by Karl Popper, W. v. O. Quine, and Mario Bunge. Jagdish Hattiangadi uses problems to reconcile the need for security with that for growth. But (...) he mistakenly insists that all problems are mere contradictions and artificially separates rigid from flexible aspects of meanings. In order to resolve the conflict we must (1) replace the quest for rigid terms with techniques for improvement, (2) use plausible arguments to uncover confused meanings, (3) use frameworks to choose problems and to regulate meanings, and (4) employ a bootstrap approach that uses frameworks to improve meanings and refined meanings to improve frameworks. (shrink)
I present a formally explicit statement of Church's celebrated argument against Carnap's analysis of belief and defend it against well-known objections by W.V.O. Quine, R.M. Martin, and Michael Dummett.
W.V.O.Quine’s doctrine of referential inscrutability (RI) is the thesis that, first, linguistic reference must always be determined relative to an interpretation of the discourse and, second, that the empirical evidence always underdetermines our choice of interpretation--at least in principle. Although this thesis is a central result of Quine’s theory of language, it was long unclear just how much force RI actually carried. At best, Quine’s discussions provided localized examples of RI (e.g., ‘gavagai’), supplemented merely by arguments for (...) the (in principle) constructability of more general referentially divergent manuals. In defense of Quine, Gerald Massey provides a method for generating large-scale referentially divergent manuals for a complex language. I argue that, while Massey’s rival manuals do meet Quine’s translational criteria, they are demonstrably inferior to their commonsensical “homophonic” competitor. This result provides a clear indication of seminal deficiencies in Quine’s behaviorial approach to the theory of language. Next I argue that Quine’s acceptance of standard assumptions about the nature of perception strongly influences the shape of his semantical theory. Finally, I suggest how an alternative to the standard account of perception might provide grounds for a more adequate understanding of language. (shrink)
A philosophical movement, correctly called logical pragmatism, is growing up around the philosophy of W. V. O. Quine, Soviet scholars follow this development with clear and well-grounded understanding of the origins and tenets of the system. This essay continues the dialogue between contemporary Marxism-Leninism and logical pragmatism recommended by Soviet scholars.
This book is remarkable for what it does not do. It purports to be about Peirce's opposition to nominalism, but it never states clearly what nominalism is and says little about Peirce's realist alternative. It contains no historical discussion of nominalism and thus does not explain the relation of Peirce's idiosyncratic use of that term to its original meaning. It ignores the secondary literature on that topic and does not even list Rosa Mayorga's highly relevant 2007 book, From Realism to (...) Realicism [sic], in its Bibliography. Nor, despite nominalism's alleged 'threat,' does it make reference to such important recent nominalists as Nelson Goodman or W.V.O. Quine. Indeed, after page one, there is hardly any .. (shrink)
1. Reference and modality by W. V. O. Quine.--2. Modality and description by A. F. Smullyan.--3. Extensionality by R. B. Marcus.--4. Quantification into causal contexts by D. Føllesdal.--5. Semantical considerations on modal logic by S. A. Kripke.--6. Essentialism and quantified modal logic by T. Parsons.--7. Reference, essentialism, and modality by L. Linsky.--8. Quantifiers and propositional attitudes by W. V. O. Quine.--9. Quantifying in by D. Kaplan.--10. Semantics for propositional attitudes by J. Hintikka.--11. On Carnap's analysis of statements of (...) assertion and belief by A. Church.--Bibliography (p. -175). (shrink)
The Unprovability of Consistency is concerned with connections between two branches of logic: proof theory and modal logic. Modal logic is the study of the principles that govern the concepts of necessity and possibility; proof theory is, in part, the study of those that govern provability and consistency. In this book, George Boolos looks at the principles of provability from the standpoint of modal logic. In doing so, he provides two perspectives on a debate in modal logic that has persisted (...) for at least thirty years between the followers of C. I. Lewis and W. V. O. Quine. The author employs semantic methods developed by Saul Kripke in his analysis of modal logical systems. The book will be of interest to advanced undergraduate and graduate students in logic, mathematics and philosophy, as well as to specialists in those fields. (shrink)
In Natural Ethical Facts William Casebeer argues that we can articulate a fully naturalized ethical theory using concepts from evolutionary biology and cognitive science, and that we can study moral cognition just as we study other forms of cognition. His goal is to show that we have "softly fixed" human natures, that these natures are evolved, and that our lives go well or badly depending on how we satisfy the functional demands of these natures. Natural Ethical Facts is a comprehensive (...) examination of what a plausible moral science would look like.Casebeer begins by discussing the nature of ethics and the possible relationship between science and ethics. He then addresses David Hume's naturalistic fallacy and G. E. Moore's open-question argument, drawing on the work of John Dewey and W. V. O. Quine. He then proposes a functional account of ethics, offering corresponding biological and moral descriptions. Discussing in detail the neural correlates of moral cognition, he argues that neural networks can be used to model ethical function. He then discusses the impact his views of moral epistemology and ontology will have on traditional ethical theory and moral education, concluding that there is room for other moral theories as long as they take into consideration the functional aspect of ethics; the pragmatic neo-Aristotelian virtue theory he proposes thus serves as a moral "big tent." Finally, he addresses objections to ethical naturalism that may arise, and calls for a reconciliation of the sciences and the humanities. "Living well," Casebeer writes, "depends upon reweaving our ethical theories into the warp and woof of our scientific heritage, attending to the myriad consequences such a project will have for the way we live our lives and the manner in which we structure our collective moral institutions.". (shrink)
W.V.O. Quine has famously objected that (1) properties are philosophically suspect because (2) there is no entity without identity and (3) the synonymy criterion for property identity won't do because there's no such concept as synonymy. (2) and (3) may or may not be right but do not prove (1). I reply that Leiniz's Law handles property identity, as it does for everything else, then respond to a variety of objections and confusions.
The objective of this paper is to discuss current reductive theories of the non-existent objects, specifically - contemporary deflationary theories of the fictional objects. By such theories I mean those denying that fictional objects have any ontological status at all. Theories, which claim that fictional proper names denote some sort of objects but deny that these names denote individual objects, are treated as the reductive theories of non-existent as well. In the discourse I present the following ideas: 1) Russell's theory (...) of description with the further remarks by W. V. O. Quine; 2) A. Plantinga's view that the fictional names have no denotation, which is realized in the framework of possible worlds semantics; 3) Theories by N. Wolterstorf and P. van Inwagen which can be seen as a link between strictly deflationary theories and meinongian theories; Wolterstorff claim that empty names denote general abstract objects and Inwagen identify fictional objects with theoretical objects of literal criticism; 4) Theories based on the speech acts theories; 5) Theories which identify fictional objects with mental objects. The conclusion of the argument is that the aforementioned theories are not adequate for the analysis of fiction (non-existent) and that more suitable for such a purpose are meinongian theories of non-existent objects. (shrink)
First published in 1986, Knowledge, Belief, and Witchcraft remains the only analysis of indigenous discourse about an African belief system undertaken from within the framework of Anglo-American analytical philosophy. Taking as its point of departure W. V. O. Quine's thesis about the indeterminacy of translation, the book investigates questions of Yoruba epistemology and of how knowledge is conceived in an oral culture.
Bernard Bolzano's most fruitful invention was his method of variation. He used it in defining such fundamental logical concepts as logical consequence, analyticity and probability. The following three puzzles concerning this method of variation seem particularly worth considering, (i) How can we define the range of variation of an idea or the categorial conformity of two ideas without already using the concept of variation? This question was raised by Mark Siebel in his M. A. thesis, (ii) Why must we define (...) analyticity by means of (simultaneous or successive) variation of several ideas rather than by means of replacing a single idea? This problem is suggested by an example due to W.V.O. Quine, John R. Myhill and Benson Mates, (iii) Must every 'there is ...' sentence be synthetic for Bolzano, as his pupil Franz Příhonský claims in his booklet Neuer Anti-Kant, or can a 'there is...' sentence be logically analytic? (shrink)
First truths, by G.W. von Leibniz.--Necessary and contingent truths, by G.W. Leibniz.--Of proposition, by T. Hobbes.--Introduction to the critique of pure reason, by I. Kant.--Kant, by A. Pap.--Of demonstration, and necessary truths, by J.S. Mill.--Views of some writers on the nature of arithmetical propositions, by G. Frege.--What is an empirical science, by B. Russell.--Two dogmas of empiricism, by W.V.O. Quine.--The meaning of a word, by J. Austin.--In defense of a dogma, by H.P. Grice and P.F. Strawson.
Recent work by Ian Aitken and others has sought to re-establish a "Realist approach" to the documentary film in reaction to the postmodernist, pragmatist approach popular in the 1970s and 80s. The Saussurian/Lacanian orientation o f the semiotics that played a large role in the older film theory is rejected and replaced by an analytic theory of representation based on the work of Mary Hesse, Hilary Putnam and W.V.O. Quine. Although this may seem a setback vis-a-vis semiotics, it actually (...) opens up Realist Film Theory to an application o f the doctrine of signs more closely aligned to traditional realism, that of Pierce and Poinsot. This presentation outlines how Realist Film Theory can be enriched and developed by such an application. In particular, Aitken's model for the processing of the truth-value communicated through a documentary film can be strengthened in this manner. We will look at a short filmic example to illustrate the resulting development of the theory, manifesting how the documentary film is anchored in both reliablyrepresenting reality and creatively organizing and construing it. (shrink)
The article deals with the problem of the relationship between logic and experience. Conceptions of K. Ajdukiewicz and W.V.O. Quine are briefly presented. Then the problem of falsifiability of logic is considered.
This paper endeavors to delineate the salient features of the theory of meaning and to show how meaning converges with metaphysics. For the British classical linguistic philosophers, meaning concerns only autonomous propositions, which allegedly in isolation clarify thought and facilitate understanding of language. But for the American philosophers W. V. O. Quine and Donald Davidson, meaning is inextricably related to human life and its problems. According to them, our experiences are interrelated and cannot be separated from one another. A (...) statement cannot be meaningful in isolation; that is to say, it cannot have meaning without holistic connections and metaphysical presumptions. (shrink)
Empiricism, semantics, and ontology, by R. Carnap.--Decision and belief in science, by A. Wedberg.--On what there is, by W.V.O. Quine.--Metaphysics in logic, by G.J. Warnock.--Propositions, sentences, and the semantic definition of truth, by A. Pap.--Bertrand Russell's doubts about induction, by P. Edwards.--The logic of explanation, by C.G. Hempel and P. Oppenheim.--One's knowledge of other minds, by A.J. Ayer.--On the interpretation of philosophical texts, by G. Aspelin.--The Cartesian doubt and the Cogito, ergo sum, by K. Marc-Wogau.--Metaphysics, logic and theology, by (...) J.J.C. Smart. (shrink)
pt. 1. De dicto: Necessary and contingent truths, by G. W. Leibniz. New essays concerning human understanding, by G. W. Leibniz. Introduction to the critique of pure reason, by Immanuel Kant. On the nature of mathematical truth, C. G. Hempel. Two dogmas of empiricism, by W. V. O. Quine. In defense of a dogma, by H. P. Grace and P. F. Strawson. The a priori and the analytic, by A. Quinton. The truths of reason, by R. Chisholm.--pt. 2. De (...) re: Reference and modality, by W. V. O. Quine. De re et de dicto, by A. Plantinga. World and essence, by A. Plantinga.--Bibliography (p. 200-202). (shrink)
The Great Philosophers, From Thales of Miletus (ca. 620-540 b.c.), "The first natural scientist and analytical philosopher in Western intellectual history," to W.V.O. Quine (1908-2000): "Only science can tell us the truth about the world" Philosophy is a thorough and accessible introduction to the Western intellectual tradition, covering philosophical, scientific, and religious thought over a period of 2,500 years. Offering brief summaries of the work of Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle, as well as Copernicus, Machiavelli, Galileo, Spinoza, Voltaire, Adam Smith, (...) Mary Wollstonecraft, Thomas Paine, Darwin, Marx, Freud, Simone de Beauvoir, Levi-Strauss, and Einstein, to name just a few, this book will serve as an invaluable guide for those seeking a clear introduction to the work of individual philosophers. A lucid and engaging book, Philosophy is sure to stimulate and absorb students and laymen alike. (shrink)
Metaphysics and language: Quine, W. V. O. On the individuation of attributes. Körner, S. On some relations between logic and metaphysics. Marcus, R. B. Does the principle of substitutivity rest on a mistake? Van Fraassen, B. C. Platonism's pyrrhic victory. Martin, R. M. On some prepositional relations. Kearns, J. T. Sentences and propositions.--Basic and combinatorial logic: Orgass, R. J. Extended basic logic and ordinal numbers. Curry, H. B. Representation of Markov algorithms by combinators.--Implication and consistency: Anderson, A. R. Fitch (...) on consistency. Belnap, N. D., Jr. Grammatical propaedeutic. Thomason, R. H. Decidability in the logic of conditionals. Myhill, J. Levels of implication.--Deontic, epistemic, and erotetic logic: Bacon, J. Belief as relative knowledge. Wu, K. J. Believing and disbelieving. Kordig, C. R. Relativized deontic modalities. Harrah, D. A system for erotetic sentences. (shrink)
Universals: Loux, M. J. The existence of universals. Russell, B. The world of universals. Quine, W. V. O. On what there is. Pears, D. F. Universals. Strawson, P. F. Particular and general. Wolterstorff, N. Qualities. Bambrough, R. Universals and family resemblances. Donagan, A. Universals and metaphysical realism. Sellars, W. Abstract entities. Wolterstorff, N. On the nature of universals.--Particulars: Loux, M. J. Particulars and their individuation. Black. M. The identity of indiscernibles. Ayer, A. J. The identity of indiscernibles. O'Connor, D. (...) J. The identity of indiscernibles. Allaire, E. B. Bare particulars. Chappell, V. C. Particulars re-clothed. Allaire, E. B. Another look at bare particulars. Meiland, J. W. Do relations individuate? Long, D. C. Particulars and their qualities. Copi, I. Essence and accident. Chandler, H. S. Essence and accident. Plantinga, A. World and essence. (shrink)
Chisholm, R. M. Sentences about believing.--Cornman, J. W. Intentionality and intensionality.--Marras, A. Intentionality and cognitive sentences.--Chisholm, R. M. Notes on the logic of believing.--Luce, D. R., Sleigh, R. C., and Chisholm, R. M. Discussion on "Notes on the logic of believing."--Lycan, W. G. On intentionality and the psychological.--Hempel, C. G. Logical analysis of psychology.--Carnap, R. Logical foundations of the unity of science.--Nagel, T. Physicalism.--Ryle, G. Dispositions.--Sellars, W. Empiricism and the philosophy of mind.--Chisholm, R. M. and Sellars, W. The Chisholm-Sellars correspondence (...) on intentionality.--Aune, B. Thinking.--Bergmann, G. Intentionality.--Sellars, W. Notes on intentionality.--Frege, G. On sense and nominatum.--Russell, B. On denoting.--Carnap, R. The analysis of belief sentences.--Putnam, H. Synonymity, and the analysis of belief sentences.--Quine, W. V. O. Quantifiers and propositional attitudes.--Linsky, L. Substitutivity and descriptions.--Hintikka, J. Semantics for propositional attitudes.--Rosenthal, D. M. and Sellars, W. The Rosenthal-Sellars correspondence on intentionality.--Bibliography (p. 505-523). (shrink)
Není tomu tak dávno, co se ti, kdo vzývali termín "analytická filosofie", v naší zemi jevili jako příslušníci nějaké divné sekty, kteří smysl termínu "filosofie" jakýmsi úchylným způsobem překrucují. Není-li však člověk zrovna Valihrachem, nemůže o tom, co slova znamenají, svévolně rozhodovat; a faktem je, analytická filosofie tvoří podstatnou část toho, co se ve světě pod hlavičkou "filosofie" učí a provozuje. (Já bych řekl, že dokonce většinu, ale statistické údaje samozřejmě k dispozici žádné nemám.) Během posledních zhruba deseti let se (...) ovšem situace podstatně změnila a analytický způsob filosofování se u nás začíná široce etablovat. Existují již překlady celé řady klasických děl (Frege, Russell, Wittgenstein, Popper, ...) i těch novějších (Quine, Davidson, ...), a vznikla i celá řade původních prací. Co dosud scházelo bylo nějaké systematické historické pojednání o tom, jak tento filosofický směr vznikl, jak se vyvíjel a jak dospěl k tomu druhu otázek, který si předsevzal řešit. Tuto mezeru se nyní pokouší zaplnit kniha docenta filosofické fakulty olomoucké univerzity Lubomíra Valenty Problémy analytické filosofie. (shrink)
The mathematical background and content of Greek philosophy, by F. S. C. Northrop.--The one and the many in Plato, by R. Demos.--An introduction to the De modis significandi of Thomas of Erfurt, by S. Buchanan.--Truth by convention, by W. V. Quine.--Logical positivism and speculative philosophy, by H. S. Leonard.--The nature and status of time and passage, by P. Weiss.--Causality, by S. Kerby--iller.--The compound individual, by C. Hartshorne.--The good, by O. H. Lee.
Existuje překvapivě málo knih, které by se pokoušely o syntetizující pohled na analytickou filosofii. Je ovšem pravda, že ve druhé polovině našeho století se soubor filosofů, kteří se k analytické filosofii hlásí nebo kteří k ní bývají řazeni, stává natolik různorodý, že se jakákoli syntéza stává problematickou; překvapivě málo syntetizujících prací existuje ale i o ‘klasické’ analytické filosofii, to jest o analytické filosofii období zhruba od konce devatenáctého století do poloviny století dvacátého. Dejnožkova kniha je jednou z těch mála, které (...) se o něco takového pokouší, a to je třeba přivítat. Dejnožka se ovšem nesnaží podat všestranný rozbor názorů klasiků analytické filosofie; soustředí se pouze jeden aspekt jejich učení, totiž na jejich ontologii. Hned v úvodu své knihy k tomu vysvětluje, jaké opodstatnění může mít hovořit o ontologii u takového druhu filosofie, která se programově distancuje od metafyziky. Podle něj je tomu tak, že i když se někteří analytičtí filosofové někdy více či méně úspěšně vyhýbali otázkám metafyzickým (to jest otázkám po nejzákladnějších kategoriích bytí), ontologickým otázkám (to jest otázkám po povaze bytí jako takového) se v podstatě vyhnout nelze. A Dejnožka se snaží ukázat, že klasikové analytické filosofie se těmito otázkami zabývali mnohdy velice do hloubky. To je patrné zejména u Frega a Russella, kterým autor věnuje největší pozornost; avšak k těm, kteří podle Dejnožky berou ústřední otázku ontologie za svou, řadí Dejnožka i Wittgensteina i Quina (jimž se však věnuje na pouze velice omezeném prostoru - každému asi na dvanácti stránkách). (shrink)