From a logical point of view 9 logico-philosophical essays

by Willard van Orman Quine

Hardcover, 1953



Call number

CI 6554 P752



Cambridge, Mass. Harvard Univ. Press 1953


These nine essays are largely concerned with the theory of meaning and references--semantics. At the same time adjacent portions of philosophy and logic are discussed. To the existence of what objects may a given scientific theory be said to be committed? And what considerations may suitably guide us in accepting or revising such ontological commitments? These are among the questions dealt with in this book, particular attention being devoted to the role of abstract entities in mathematics. There is speculation on the mechanism whereby objects of one sort or another come to be posited, a process in which the notion of identity plays an important part.

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LibraryThing member jwhenderson
Essays that sum up Quine's approach to analytic philosophy. The most important essay in the collection is "Two Dogmas of Empiricism". Originally published in 1951, it is one of the most celebrated papers of twentieth century philosophy in the analytic tradition. The essay is an attack on two
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central parts of the logical positivists' philosophy. One is the analytic-synthetic distinction between analytic truths and synthetic truths, explained by Quine as truths grounded only in meanings and independent of facts, and truths grounded in facts. The other is reductionism, the theory that each meaningful statement gets its meaning from some logical construction of terms that refers exclusively to immediate experience. "Two Dogmas" is divided into six sections. The first four sections are focused on analyticity, the last two sections on reductionism. There, Quine turns the focus to the logical positivists' theory of meaning. He also presents his own holistic theory of meaning. The collection as a whole is a classic of twentieth-century philosophy.
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