Quine's notion of fact of the matter

Dialectica 60 (2):181–193 (2006)

Quine’s notion of fact of the matter has received very little attention, although a good grasp of it is crucial to an understanding of some of Quine’s famous formulations of the indeterminacy of translation thesis. The notion is used and cited by many but has to my knowledge never been thoroughly analysed. In the present article, I attempt to analyse and clarify it. In the first section, my exposition focuses on the relations Quine has developed between his notion of fact of the matter and his views on physicalism and ontology. The main conclusion of this section is that Quine’s notion of fact of the matter is ontological. That is to say, for Quine, the notion concerns extralinguistic reality, which is ultimately described by physics. In the second section, I try to show what relations Quine sees between facts of the matter and truth. The main conclusion of this section is that, for Quine, facts of the matter determine truth. This determination is to be understood in the context of Quine’s genetic approach to evidence, which reveals that it is through the mechanism of conditioned response that facts of the matter determine truth. It is hoped that the present analyses will shed new light on Quine’s controversial indeterminacy of translation thesis as well as on the asymmetry that Quine sees between that thesis and underdetermination of theory
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DOI 10.1111/j.1746-8361.2005.01049.x
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References found in this work BETA

Word and Object.W. QUINE - 1960 - MIT Press.
Philosophy of Logic.W. V. O. Quine - 1970 - Harvard University Press.
Pursuit of Truth.W. V. QUINE - 1990 - Harvard University Press.
The Ways of Paradox and Other Essays.W. V. O. Quine - 1966 - Harvard University Press.

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Citations of this work BETA

Quine on Matters of Fact.David Taylor - 2016 - Synthese 193 (2):605-636.

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