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Sander Verhaegh
Tilburg University
  1. The Behaviorisms of Skinner and Quine: Genesis, Development, and Mutual Influence.Sander Verhaegh - 2019 - Journal of the History of Philosophy 57 (4):707-730.
    in april 1933, two bright young Ph.D.s were elected to the Harvard Society of Fellows: the psychologist B. F. Skinner and the philosopher/logician W. V. Quine. Both men would become among the most influential scholars of their time; Skinner leads the "Top 100 Most Eminent Psychologists of the 20th Century," whereas philosophers have selected Quine as the most important Anglophone philosopher after the Second World War.1 At the height of their fame, Skinner and Quine became "Edgar Pierce twins"; the latter (...)
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  2. Quine on the Nature of Naturalism.Sander Verhaegh - 2017 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 55 (1):96-115.
    Quine's metaphilosophical naturalism is often dismissed as overly “scientistic.” Many contemporary naturalists reject Quine's idea that epistemology should become a “chapter of psychology” and urge for a more “liberal,” “pluralistic,” and/or “open-minded” naturalism instead. Still, whenever Quine explicitly reflects on the nature of his naturalism, he always insists that his position is modest and that he does not “think of philosophy as part of natural science”. Analyzing this tension, Susan Haack has argued that Quine's naturalism contains a “deep-seated and significant (...)
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  3. Working From Within: The Nature and Development of Quine's Naturalism.Sander Verhaegh - 2018 - New York: Oxford University Press.
    During the past few decades, a radical shift has occurred in how philosophers conceive of the relation between science and philosophy. A great number of analytic philosophers have adopted what is commonly called a ‘naturalistic’ approach, arguing that their inquiries ought to be in some sense continuous with science. Where early analytic philosophers often relied on a sharp distinction between science and philosophy—the former an empirical discipline concerned with fact, the latter an a priori discipline concerned with meaning—philosophers today largely (...)
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  4. Boarding Neurath's Boat: The Early Development of Quine's Naturalism.Sander Verhaegh - 2017 - Journal of the History of Philosophy 55 (2):317-342.
    W. V. Quine is arguably the intellectual father of contemporary naturalism, the idea that there is no distinctively philosophical perspective on reality. Yet, even though Quine has always been a science-minded philosopher, he did not adopt a fully naturalistic perspective until the early 1950s. In this paper, I reconstruct the genesis of Quine’s ideas on the relation between science and philosophy. Scrutinizing his unpublished papers and notebooks, I examine Quine’s development in the first decades of his career. After identifying three (...)
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  5. Blurring Boundaries: Carnap, Quine, and the Internal–External Distinction.Sander Verhaegh - 2017 - Erkenntnis 82 (4):873-890.
    Quine is routinely perceived as saving metaphysics from Carnapian positivism. Where Carnap rejects metaphysical existence claims as meaningless, Quine is taken to restore their intelligibility by dismantling the former’s internal–external distinction. The problem with this picture, however, is that it does not sit well with the fact that Quine, on many occasions, has argued that metaphysical existence claims ought to be dismissed. Setting aside the hypothesis that Quine’s metaphysical position is incoherent, one has to conclude that his views on metaphysics (...)
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  6.  33
    The Rise and Fall of Behaviorism: The Narrative and the Numbers.Michiel Braat, Jan Engelen, Ties van Gemert & Sander Verhaegh - forthcoming - History of Psychology.
    The history of twentieth-century American psychology is often depicted as a history of the rise and fall of behaviorism. Although historians disagree about the theoretical and social factors that have contributed to the development of experimental psychology, there is widespread consensus about the growing and declining influence of behaviorism between approximately 1920 and 1970. Since such wide-scope claims about the development of American psychology are typically based on small and unrepresentative samples of historical data, however, the question rises to what (...)
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  7. Quine's Argument From Despair.Sander Verhaegh - 2014 - British Journal for the History of Philosophy 22 (1):150-173.
    Quine's argument for a naturalized epistemology is routinely perceived as an argument from despair: traditional epistemology must be abandoned because all attempts to deduce our scientific theories from sense experience have failed. In this paper, I will show that this picture is historically inaccurate and that Quine's argument against first philosophy is considerably stronger and subtler than the standard conception suggests. For Quine, the first philosopher's quest for foundations is inherently incoherent; the very idea of a self-sufficient sense datum language (...)
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  8.  12
    The American Reception of Logical Positivism: First Encounters, 1929–1932.Sander Verhaegh - 2020 - Hopos: The Journal of the International Society for the History of Philosophy of Science 10 (1):106-142.
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  9. Quine's ‘Needlessly Strong’ Holism.Sander Verhaegh - 2017 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 61:11-20.
    Quine is routinely perceived as having changed his mind about the scope of the Duhem-Quine thesis, shifting from what has been called an 'extreme holism' to a more moderate view. Where the Quine of 'Two Dogmas of Empiricism' argues that “the unit of empirical significance is the whole of science” (1951, 42), the later Quine seems to back away from this “needlessly strong statement of holism” (1991, 393). In this paper, I show that the received view is incorrect. I distinguish (...)
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  10.  29
    The American Reception of Logical Positivism: First Encounters.Sander Verhaegh - forthcoming - Hopos: The Journal of the International Society for the History of Philosophy of Science.
    This paper reconstructs the American reception of logical positivism in the early 1930s. I argue that Moritz Schlick (who had visiting positions at Stanford and Berkeley between 1929 and 1932) and Herbert Feigl (who visited Harvard in the 1930-31 academic year) played a crucial role in promoting the *Wissenschaftliche Weltauffassung*, years before members of the Vienna Circle, the Berlin Group, and the Lvov-Warsaw school would seek refuge in the United States. Building on archive material from the Wiener Kreis Archiv, the (...)
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  11. Mental States Are Like Diseases.Sander Verhaegh - 2019 - In Robert Sinclair (ed.), Science and Sensibilia by W. V. Quine: The 1980 Immanuel Kant Lectures. Palgrave-Macmillan.
    While Quine’s linguistic behaviorism is well-known, his Kant Lectures contain one of his most detailed discussions of behaviorism in psychology and the philosophy of mind. Quine clarifies the nature of his psychological commitments by arguing for a modest view that is against ‘excessively restrictive’ variants of behaviorism while maintaining ‘a good measure of behaviorist discipline…to keep [our mental] terms under control’. In this paper, I use Quine’s Kant Lectures to reconstruct his position. I distinguish three types of behaviorism in psychology (...)
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  12. Katz’s Revisability Paradox Dissolved.Allard Tamminga & Sander Verhaegh - 2013 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 91 (4):771-784.
    Quine's holistic empiricist account of scientific inquiry can be characterized by three constitutive principles: *noncontradiction*, *universal revisability* and *pragmatic ordering*. We show that these constitutive principles cannot be regarded as statements within a holistic empiricist's scientific theory of the world. This claim is a corollary of our refutation of Katz's [1998, 2002] argument that holistic empiricism suffers from what he calls the Revisability Paradox. According to Katz, Quine's empiricism is incoherent because its constitutive principles cannot themselves be rationally revised. Using (...)
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  13. Setting Sail: The Development and Reception of Quine’s Naturalism.Sander Verhaegh - 2018 - Philosophers' Imprint 18:1-24.
    Contemporary analytic philosophy is dominated by metaphilosophical naturalism, the view that philosophy ought to be continuous with science. This naturalistic turn is for a significant part due to the work of W. V. Quine. Yet, the development and the reception of Quine’s naturalism have never been systematically studied. In this paper, I examine Quine’s evolving naturalism as well as the reception of his views. Scrutinizing a large set of unpublished notes, correspondence, drafts, papers, and lectures as well as published responses (...)
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  14.  82
    Sign and Object : Quine’s Forgotten Book Project.Sander Verhaegh - 2019 - Synthese 196 (12):5039-5060.
    W. V. Quine’s first philosophical monograph, Word and Object, is widely recognized as one of the most influential books of twentieth century philosophy. Notes, letters, and draft manuscripts at the Quine Archives, however, reveal that Quine was already working on a philosophical book in the early 1940s; a project entitled Sign and Object. In this paper, I examine these and other unpublished documents and show that Sign and Object sheds new light on the evolution of Quine’s ideas. Where “Two Dogmas (...)
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  15.  98
    Carnap, Quine, and Putnam on Methods of Inquiry. [REVIEW]Sander Verhaegh - 2017 - Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews:1-9.
  16.  93
    Quine and His Place in History. [REVIEW]Sander Verhaegh - 2018 - Philosophical Quarterly 68 (271):433-435.
    © The Author 2017. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The Scots Philosophical Association and the University of St Andrews. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail: journals.permissions@oup.com...Until the very end of his extraordinary philosophical career, Quine used a 1927 Remington typewriter—a machine that was perfectly adapted to his scholarly needs because he had replaced many of its keys with logical symbols. Famously, one of the keys Quine removed was the question mark. Asked about his curious typewriter by (...)
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    Towards a moderate scientism.Sander Verhaegh & Pieter van der Kolk - 2015 - Algemeen Nederlands Tijdschrift voor Wijsbegeerte 107 (3):285-299.
    Scientism, the view that only scientifically supported beliefs are epistemically justified, faces two influential problems: (1) scientism itself does not seem to be scientifically supported and hence self-referentially incoherent; and (2) scientism seems to dismiss many plausible ordinary beliefs as unjustified. In this paper, we show that both problems presuppose a needlessly narrow conception of science and that when scientism is based on a broader, more realistic conception of science neither problem arises. Furthermore, we argue that our variant of scientism (...)
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    Suspension and disagreement.Pieter van der Kolk & Sander Verhaegh - 2016 - Algemeen Nederlands Tijdschrift voor Wijsbegeerte 108 (1):37-52.
    Some sceptics claim that in cases of peer disagreement, we ought to suspend judgment about the topic of discussion. In this paper, we argue that the sceptic’s conclusions are only correct in some scenarios. We show that the sceptic’s conclusion is built on two premises (the principle of evidential symmetry and the principle of evidentialism) and argue that both premises are incorrect. First, we show that although it is often rational to suspend judgment when an epistemic peer disagrees with you, (...)
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  19. Quine’s Argument From Despair.Sander Verhaegh - 2018 - Proceedings of the XXIII World Congress of Philosophy 75:221-225.
    In Quine’s eyes, naturalism can be characterized negatively as the abandonment of a first philosophy prior to natural science. But what are Quine’s reasons for rejecting first philosophy? Prima facie, Quine’s argument against first philosophy seems to be pretty straightforward: in his “Epistemology Naturalized”, Quine famously argues that we ought to abandon traditional epistemology because all attempts to ground our beliefs on sense experience have failed. That is, he argues that we ought to despair of being able to define theoretical (...)
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