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

4.11  ·  Rating details ·  938 Ratings  ·  22 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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Roy Lotz
“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
Oct 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: philosophy
A brilliant work from the 20th century-philosophy: on universals, dogmas, useful myths and efficacy in communication.

The philosophical issues treated in this book are very important indeed. In fact, they explain nothing less than what really exists in our universe and how mankind can deal with this universe through pragmatism (language).

Essay 1: On What There Is.
Universals of bound variables (e.g., redness) are useful myths. They don't exist really (they are not there). Physical conceptual schem
Jul 31, 2014 rated it liked it
Recommended to Andrew by:
Shelves: c-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
Dr. A
Sep 02, 2014 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
Derek Kern
Mar 27, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Quine the destroyer...
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
Jun 04, 2009 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.
Thomas Wright
Dec 01, 2012 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
Oct 08, 2017 rated it liked it
Extremely well-written, these papers are, as a rule, quite compelling in their negative, destructive aspects. This bundle is deservedly a cornerstone of 20th century analytic philosophy for the valuable critiques contained in it. There are many interesting corrections to empiricism and the analytic tradition broadly speaking here.

However, unfortunately, the positive, constructive proposals Quine puts forward are far from convincing. Especially his views on ontology seem unnecessarily, and unwar
Jan 05, 2010 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 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
Jul 27, 2015 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.
Jan 16, 2009 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 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.
Lane Wilkinson
Jan 05, 2008 rated it really liked it
A must-read for anyone interested in analytic philosophy and logic.
Brian Smith
Dec 02, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Check out "Two Dogmas of Empiricism" for the incipient paradigm shift in 20th century philosophy.
Erik Cameron
Apr 03, 2007 rated it really liked it
Shelves: philosophy
This is an absolute classic.
Jan 20, 2009 added it
Shelves: philosophy, logic
i've read some of the papers. a nice digest of quine's philosophical views.
Dec 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Finally taken was able to finish reading this book. However, I suspect that I didn't get the full picture that Quine imagined, but nonetheless, the contents of the book were certainly rigorous.
Read: "On What There Is"
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« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
  • Inquiries Into Truth and Interpretation
  • The Foundations of Arithmetic: A Logico-Mathematical Enquiry into the Concept of Number
  • Naming and Necessity
  • On the Plurality of Worlds
  • Philosophy of Science: The Central Issues
  • Conjectures and Refutations: The Growth of Scientific Knowledge
  • Language, Truth, and Logic
  • The Logical Structure of the World and Pseudoproblems in Philosophy
  • The Blue and Brown Books
  • The Concept of Mind
  • Philosophy of Language: A Contemporary Introduction
  • Principia Ethica (Philosophical Classics)
  • The Construction of Social Reality
  • The Philosophy of Language
  • Principles of Human Knowledge & Three Dialogues Between Hylas and Philonous
  • Sense and Sensibilia: Reconstructed from the Manuscript Notes by C.J. Warnock
  • The View from Nowhere
  • A History of Philosophy, Vol. 7: Modern Philosophy, from the Post-Kantean Idealists to Marx, Kierkegaard, and Nietzsche
"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...
“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.” 12 likes
“How many possible men are there in that doorway?” 0 likes
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