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Analytic Philosophy in AmericaAnd Other Historical and Contemporary Essays$
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Scott Soames

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780691160726

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691160726.001.0001

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The Place of Willard Van Orman Quine in Analytic Philosophy

The Place of Willard Van Orman Quine in Analytic Philosophy

(p.104) 5 The Place of Willard Van Orman Quine in Analytic Philosophy
Analytic Philosophy in America

Scott Soames

Princeton University Press

This chapter discusses the achievements of W. V. O. Quine and his place in analytic philosophy. It begins with Carnap’s logical empiricism, which set the context for Quine’s first major article in philosophy, “Truth by Convention” (1935). It explains both Quine’s largely effective critique of analyticity and the problems that plagued his combination of holistic verificationism with an underdetermination thesis that paired each consistent empirical theory T with alternative theories logically incompatible with, but empirically equivalent to, T. It discusses the impetus for Quine’s movement from his critique of analyticity to his later doctrines of the Indeterminacy of Translation and the Inscrutability of Reference. The chapter closes with an explication of these radical doctrines, the role played by Quine’s physicalism, and his ineluctable march to a so-called radical and self-undermining semantic eliminativism.

Keywords:   W. V. O. Quine, Carnap, logic empiricism, quantified modal logic, analyticity, holistic verificationism, underdetermination thesis, Indeterminacy of Translation, Inscrutability of Reference, physicalism

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