Ontological. Relativity. and. Other. Essays. W. V. QUINE This volume consists of the first of the John Dewey Lectures delivered under the auspices of Columbia University's Philosophy Department as well as other essays by the author.
Modern empiricism has been conditioned in large part by two dogmas. One is a belief in some fundamental cleavage between truths which are analytic, or grounded in meanings independently of matters of fact, and truth which are synthetic, or grounded in fact. The other dogma is reductionism: the belief that each meaningful statement is equivalent to some logical construct upon terms which refer to immediate experience. Both dogmas, I shall argue, are ill founded. One effect of abandoning them is, as (...) we shall see, a blurring of the supposed boundary between speculative metaphysics and natural science. Another effect is a shift toward pragmatism. (shrink)
Kant's question 'How are synthetic judgments a priori possible?' pre- cipitated the Critique of Pure Reason. Question and answer notwith- standing, Mill and others persisted in doubting that such judgments were possible at all. At length some of Kant's own clearest purported.
Suppose now that two philosophers, McX and I, differ over ontology. Suppose McX maintains there is something which I maintain there is not. McX can, quite consistently with his own point of view, describe our difference of opinion by saying that I refuse to recognize certain entities. I should protest of course that he is wrong in his formulation of our disagreement, for I maintain that there are no entities, of the kind which he alleges, for me to recognize; but (...) my finding him wrong in his formulation of our disagreement is unimportant, for I am committed to considering him wrong in his ontology anyway. When I try to formulate our difference of opinion, on the other hand, I seem to be in a predicament. I cannot admit that there are some things which McX countenances and I do not, for in admitting that there are such things I should be contradicting my own rejection of them. (shrink)
With his customary incisiveness, W. V. Quine presents logic as the product of two factors, truth and grammar-but argues against the doctrine that the logical truths are true because of grammar or language. Rather, in presenting a general theory of grammar and discussing the boundaries and possible extensions of logic, Quine argues that logic is not a mere matter of words.
In retrospecting "Two Dogmas" I find myself overshooting by twenty years. I think back to college days, 61 years agao. I majored in mathematics and was doing my honors reading in mathematical logic, a subject that had not yet penetrated the Oberlin curriculum. My new love, in the platonic sense, was Whitehead and Russell's Principia Mathematica.
"Some Pow'r did us the giftie grant/ To see oursels as others can't." With that play on Burns' famous line as a preface, Willard Van Orman Quine sets out to spin the yarn of his life so far. And it is a gift indeed to see one of the world's most famous philosophers as no one else has seen him before. To catch an intimate glimpse of his seminal and controversial theories of philosophy, logic, and language as they evolved, and (...) to hear his warm and often amusing comments on famous contemporary philosophers.From his beginnings in Akron, Ohio in the early 1900s, Quine takes us on a tour of over 100 countries over three-quarters of a century, including close observations of the Depression and two world wars. Far from a philosophical tract, it is an ebullient, folksy account of a richly varied and rounded life. When he does dip into philosophy, it is generally of the armchair sort, and laced with a gentle good humor: "There is that which one wants to do for the glory of having done it, and there is that which one wants to do for the joy of doing it. One can want to be a scientist because he wants to see himself as a Darwin or an Einstein, and one can want to be a scientist because he is curious about what makes things tick.... In normal cases the two kinds of motivation are in time brought to terms.... In me the glory motive lingered......In this book, Quine approaches the details of his life the way he has always approached them with a sharp sense of interest, adventure and fun. And he has a skill for picking a word that is just off-center enough to pull an ordinary event out of the humdrum of daily life and evoke its personal meaning. The result is a book of memories that is utterly mesmerizing.Willard Van Orman Quine is the author of numerous books, including Word and Object, published by The MIT Press in 1960.A Bradford Book. (shrink)
This is an extensively revised edition of Mr. Quine's introduction to abstract set theory and to various axiomatic systematizations of the subject. The treatment of ordinal numbers has been strengthened and much simplified, especially in the theory of transfinite recursions, by adding an axiom and reworking the proofs. Infinite cardinals are treated anew in clearer and fuller terms than before. Improvements have been made all through the book; in various instances a proof has been shortened, a theorem strengthened, a space-saving (...) lemma inserted, an obscurity clarified, an error corrected, a historical omission supplied, or a new event noted. (shrink)