Quintessence : Basic Readings from the Philosophy of W. V. Quine

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Through the first half of the twentieth century, analytic philosophy was dominated by Russell, Wittgenstein, and Carnap. Influenced by Russell and especially by Carnap, another towering figure, Willard Van Orman Quine (1908-2000) emerged as the most important proponent of analytic philosophy during the second half of the century. Yet with twenty-three books and countless articles to his credit-including, most famously, Word and Object and "Two Dogmas of Empiricism"-Quine remained a philosopher's philosopher, largely unknown to the general public.

Quintessence for the first time collects Quine's classic essays (such as "Two Dogmas" and "On What There Is") in one volume-and thus offers readers a much-needed introduction to his general philosophy. Divided into six parts, the thirty-five selections take up analyticity and reductionism; the indeterminacy of translation of theoretical sentences and the inscrutability of reference; ontology; naturalized epistemology; philosophy of mind; and extensionalism. Representative of Quine at his best, these readings are fundamental not only to an appreciation of the philosopher and his work, but also to an understanding of the philosophical tradition that he so materially advanced.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 432 pages
  • 156 x 235 x 28.19mm | 562.45g
  • The Belknap Press
  • Cambridge, Mass., United States
  • English
  • none
  • 0674027558
  • 9780674027558
  • 539,347

Table of contents

Part I. Analyticity and Reductionism 1. Truth by Convention 2. Two Dogmas of Empiricism 3. Two Dogmas in Retrospect 4. Carnap and Logical Truth Part II. Indeterminacy and Inscrutability 5. Speaking of Objects 6. Reference 7. Translation and Meaning 8. Progress on Two Fronts Part III. Ontology 9. On What There Is 10. The Scope and Language of Science 11. On Simple Theories of a Complex World 12. Ontic Decision 13. Things and Their Place in Theories 14. On Carnap's Views on Ontology Part IV. Epistemology and Philosophy of Mind 15. Epistemology Naturalized 16. Naturalism; or, Living within One's Means 17. The Nature of Natural Knowledge 18. Five Milestones of Empiricism 19. On Mental Entities 20. Mind and Verbal Dispositions Part V. Extensionalism 21. Confessions of a Confirmed Extensionalist 22. Quantifiers and Propositional Attitudes 23. Intensions Revisited 24. Reference and Modality 25. Three Grades of Modal Involvement Credits Index
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Review quote

"Specialists... will be grateful for this well-modulated selection of Quine's most important essays and articles, which reflect his thinking up to the end of his life." - Leon H. Brody, Library Journal"
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About W. V. Quine

W. V. Quine was Edgar Pierce Professor of Philosophy, Harvard University. He wrote twenty-one books, thirteen of them published by Harvard University Press. Roger F. Gibson, Jr., is Professor of Philosophy at Washington University in St. Louis. He is the editor of The Cambridge Companion to Quine and coeditor of Perspectives on Quine.
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43 ratings
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