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From a Logical Point of View: Nine Logico-Philosophical Essays
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From a Logical Point of View: Nine Logico-Philosophical Essays

4.06 of 5 stars 4.06  ·  rating details  ·  485 ratings  ·  17 reviews
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...more
Paperback, Second Revised Edition, 200 pages
Published May 15th 1980 by Harvard University Press (first published 1951)
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Andrew Anony
Sep 18, 2014 Andrew Anony rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommended to Andrew by:

On What There Is

"What is there?" is a simple way to put the ontological (study of being) question. But when two people disagree on the existence of something, we run into an ontological problem, stated by Quine as: "in any ontological dispute the proponent of the negative side suffers the disadvantage of not being able to admit that his opponent disagrees with him". If I say that there is a Pegasus, I can defend that notion by saying, "if there were no Pegasus, why are we able to talk about...more
John Doe
Quine believes that all our knowledge (including our religious and moral knowledge) is like a ship at sea. That is, our scientific and moral beliefs are logically consistent but free-floating. One of Quine's remarkable claims is that any statement can be held to be true, come what may, so long as we are willing to make alterations elsewhere in our web of meanings. "A whale is a big fish," can be either a false statement of fact, or it can be a true statement of the new meaning of "whale" (what w...more
Let's start with a confession, I don't understand formal logical systems as well as I probably should. Turns out if you're in a really pissy mood due to work-related crap and poor relationship decisions, formal logic is the last thing you need, so I wound up skipping a couple of essays, something I'm normally loathe to do. Sorry, W.V.O. Keeping you on my shelf for when I've got my shit together enough to delve headlong into your more logical/mathematical work.

Confession aside, while it was slow...more
Thomas Wright
I'm not sure why people keep saying the `Two Dogmas' paper is the most significant in this text. While it is required canon for analytic philosophers so, too, is `On What There Is.' Don't do yourself the disservice of not reading at least both!
Dr. A
Read this and reviews of other classics in Western Philosophy on the History page of (a thinkPhilosophy Production).

W. V. Quine is best known for striking a (nearly) deathly blow to the analytic philosophy school of logical positivism, and the essays collected in this volume From a Logical Point of View: Nine Logico-Philosophical Essays chronicle this attack.

Although his approach is very different from his contemporaries, Quine follows Ludwig Wittgenstein’s tu...more
Derek Kern
Quine the destroyer...
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 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 indepe...more
Randal Samstag
This collection of essays includes one of the most famous essays in twentieth century philosophy, "Two Dogmas of Empiricism"; these being 1) "a belief in some fundamental cleavage between truths which are analytic, or grounded in meanings independently of matters of fact, and truths which are synthetic, or grounded in fact." and 2)" . . . reductionism: the belief that each meaningful statement is equivalent to some logical construct upon terms which refer to immediate experience." Fortunately, Q...more
Jun 03, 2009 sam marked it as to-read
I read the first few essays and got bored. I enjoy his style, which is compelling in its own way, but I also find it less than exciting. What I read was mainly focused on language and its capacities of use. I will probably pick this up again.
Nov 10, 2008 Kari is currently reading it
Two Dogmas of Empiricism is the key essay in this book. I am hoping to find a rebuff to the logical positivists for a paper I'm writingn but it's pretty technical.
Brian Smith
Check out "Two Dogmas of Empiricism" for the incipient paradigm shift in 20th century philosophy.
Dec 08, 2009 lucas added it
Shelves: philosophy, logic
i've read some of the papers. a nice digest of quine's philosophical views.
Lane Wilkinson
A must-read for anyone interested in analytic philosophy and logic.
Feb 05, 2013 Keaton marked it as purposely-partially-read
Read: "On What There Is"
Hevel Cava
Insightful, logical, lucid...
Erik Cameron
This is an absolute classic.
Meaning in linguistics chapter is very helpful. Quine was an avowed atheist and not without contradiction in his writing. He is among the most difficult and cerebral authors that I'm encountered next to Nietzsche, who was spasmodic. The sophistry of Quine is more disciplined if equally disagreeable.
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"Willard Van Orman Quine (June 25, 1908 Akron, Ohio – December 25, 2000) (known to intimates as "Van"), was an American analytic philosopher and logician. From 1930 until his death 70 years later, Quine was affiliated in some way with Harvard University, first as a student, then as a professor of philosophy and a teacher of mathematics, and finally as an emeritus elder statesman who published or r...more
More about Willard Van Orman Quine...
Word and Object The Web of Belief Ontological Relativity and Other Essays Methods of Logic Philosophy of Logic

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“As an empiricist I continue to think of the conceptual scheme of science as a tool, ultimately, for predicting future experience in the light of past experience. Physical objects are conceptually imported into the situation as convenient intermediaries-not by definition in terms of experience, but simply as irreducible posits comparable, epistemologically, to the gods of Homer. For my part I do, qua lay physicist, believe in physical objects and not in Homer's gods; and I consider it a scientific error to believe otherwise. But in point of epistemological footing the physical objects and the gods differ only in degree and not in kind. Both sorts of entities enter our conception only as cultural posits. The myth of physical objects is epistemologically superior to most in that it has proved more efficacious than other myths as a device for working a manageable structure into the flux of experience.” 3 likes
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