Developments in Quine's Behaviorism

In Ernie Lepore & Gilbert Harman (eds.), A Companion to W. V. O. Quine. Wiley-Blackwell. pp. 263–278 (2013)
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Bredo C. Johnsen: Observation: What Quine calls observation sentences lie at the heart of his reflections on observation and its roles in prompting our theorizing, providing evidence for our theories, and serving as the test of those theories' truth. The first four sections of this chapter – “Observation sentences,” “The two types of observation sentence,” “Introspection,” and “Roles of experience” – are devoted to expounding and clarifying his fundamental conception of these sentences, showing that he recognized both objective and subjective observation sentences, that correlatively he gives introspection an important place in our cognitive lives, and, in particular, that he assigns our introspective knowledge of our sensory experiences three important roles in his epistemology. Since about 1970, Quine's conception of what constitutes our evidence about the nature of empirical reality has been radically misunderstood by almost all his readers, with disastrous consequences for the understanding of his entire epistemology; a final section – “Stimulations as evidence” – is therefore devoted to remedying this situation.



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Dagfinn Føllesdal
University of Oslo

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