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

4.10  ·  Rating Details  ·  776 Ratings  ·  19 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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Feb 11, 2015 Lotz rated it really liked it
Shelves: over-my-head
“What’s that?” my brother said after reading the title of this book. "The most pretentious book ever written?”

This book is difficult for me to review, mainly because there were so many parts of it that I didn’t understand. Quine is not writing for the general reader; he is writing for professional philosophers—a category that excludes people such as myself, who haven’t taken a single course in formal logic. Nevertheless, there are some parts of this book—particularly the first two essays, “On Wh
John Doe
Nov 18, 2011 John Doe rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed
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
Oct 24, 2014 Andrew rated it liked it
Recommended to Andrew by:
Shelves: philosophy

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
Derek Kern
Mar 27, 2011 Derek Kern rated it it was amazing
Quine the destroyer...
Dr. A
Oct 17, 2014 Dr. A rated it it was amazing
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
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
Thomas Wright
Dec 01, 2012 Thomas Wright rated it it was amazing
Shelves: research
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! ...more
Apr 21, 2011 James rated it liked it
Shelves: philosophy
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
Dec 30, 2012 Randal Samstag rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophy
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
Aug 25, 2015 Kathleen rated it really liked it
I strongly recommend this book if you like logic and philosophy of language a whole lot, because it is a classic and you will find it extremely interesting! If you do not want to do philosophy as your literal job you may instead find it extremely boring, and it may make you wonder why anyone would ever do philosophy as a job, although, in fairness, this book may make you wonder that even if you do philosophy as a job yourself.
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
Dec 02, 2009 Brian Smith rated it it was amazing
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
Jan 05, 2008 Lane Wilkinson rated it really liked it
A must-read for anyone interested in analytic philosophy and logic.
Read: "On What There Is"
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Apr 15, 2013 нєνєℓ ¢ανα rated it it was amazing
Insightful, logical, lucid...
Erik Cameron
Apr 03, 2007 Erik Cameron rated it really liked it
Shelves: philosophy
This is an absolute classic.
Jun 04, 2009 Myron rated it did not like it
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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« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 60 61 next »
  • Inquiries Into Truth and Interpretation
  • The Foundations of Arithmetic: A Logico-Mathematical Enquiry into the Concept of Number
  • Wittgenstein on Rules and Private Language: An Elementary Exposition
  • On the Plurality of Worlds
  • Philosophy of Science: The Central Issues
  • The Blue and Brown Books
  • Language, Truth, and Logic
  • The Logical Structure of the World and Pseudoproblems in Philosophy
  • Conjectures and Refutations: The Growth of Scientific Knowledge
  • The Concept of Mind
  • Philosophy of Language: A Contemporary Introduction
  • The Construction of Social Reality
  • Sense and Sensibilia: Reconstructed from the Manuscript Notes by C.J. Warnock
  • Principia Ethica (Philosophical Classics)
  • The View from Nowhere
  • The Philosophy of Language
  • Principles of Human Knowledge & Three Dialogues Between Hylas and Philonous
  • A History of Philosophy 7: Modern Philosophy
"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
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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.” 7 likes
“How many possible men are there in that doorway?” 0 likes
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