For Quine, a strictly behaviorist analysis of language works best and brings us closest to truth. The first essay, on language, was dead boring, taking 20 pages to explain how a child learns a word, and Quine restricts himself to outward descriptions of what a word might mean.
Ontological relativity and other essays. Columbia University Press, I This collection of six essays affords the best general statement by Professor Quine of his philosophy yet to appear between the covers of a single book.
The first essay, Speaking of Objects, is about ten years earlier than the others. It was Quines presi- dential address to the eastern division of the American Philo- sophical Association in and is reprinted in this book from the associations Proceedings and Addresses, As the title suggests, the essay is concerned with points developed in detail in Quines book Word and Objectand in fact parts of the essay reappear without change in the text of the latter.
Quine says in his preface to the present volume that he was persuaded by Burton Dreben that Speaking of Objects is strangely efficacious in giving readers a better understanding of what I was up to in Word and Object, and that the essay should therefore be reprinted intact.
Its inclusion is felicitous. Besides the help it offers readers of Word and Object it provides an excellent introduction to the five essays that follow it.
Radical translation, indeterminacy of translation, analytical hypotheses, observation sentences, stimulus meaning, and in- scrutability of reference are adumbrated in section I and a childs progress in language learning from his first use of mass terms to his acquisition of devices for individuation and quantification is sketched in section In this enumeration I have used the later terminology.
Section III Ontological relativity and other essay with the statement of a point of fundamental importance for Quines entire philosophy. The point concerns the relation between empirical evidence for or against the truth of a sentence and for or against the existence of objects. If, as w i n e has argued in the first two sections of the essay, we can know the necessary and sufficient stimulatory conditions of every possible act of utterance, in a foreign language, and still REVIEWS not know how to determine what objects the speakers of that language believe in.
How can there ever be empirical evidence against existential statements? The answer, Quine continues, is something like this. Grant that a knowledge of the appropriate stimulatory con- ditions of a sentence does not settle how to construe the sen- tence in terms of existence of objects.
Still, it does tend to settle what is to count as empirical evidence for or against the truth of the sentence. If we then go on to assign the sentence some import in point of existence of objects, by arbitrary pro- jection in the case of the heathen language or as a matter of course in the case of our own, thereupon what has already been counting as empirical evidence for or against the truth of the sentence comes to count as empirical evidence for or against the existence of the objects.
On first thought Quines point may seem nothing more than a trivial truism. Who would deny that our empirical evidence for or against the truth of There are rabbits is our empirical evidence for or against the existence of rabbits? But this truism is not what Quine intends.
He does not say that the evidence in the first case is the evidence in the second, but rather that it comes to count as evidence in the second. The evidence is first of all evidence for or against the truth of sentences, and then later when certain further considerations are introduced the same evidence becomes evidence for or against the existence of objects.
The sense in which evidence of the first sort is prior is indicated in the opening section of Speaking of Objects. Given that a native sentence says that a so-and-so is present, and given that the sentence is true when and only when a rabbit is present, it by no means follows that the so-and-so are rabbits.
They might be all the various temporal segments of rabbits. They might be all the integral or undetached parts of rabbits. In order to decide among these alternatives we need to be able to ask more than whether a so-and-so is present.
We need to be able to ask whether this is the same so-and-so as that, and whether one so-and-so is present or two.
We need something like the apparatus of identity and quantifi- p. Without such devices all expressions are on a par with mass terms con- strued as sentences.
Stimulatory conditions then evoke responses like more mama, more red, and more water as opposed to mama again, another red thing, and another bit of water.Ontological Relativity and Other Essays has ratings and 5 reviews. Tyler said: Quine’s six essays take a pragmatic epistemological approach to meanin 4/5.
The essay "Ontological Relativity" is the most significant of the six essays in this short book bearing the same title. Few ideas are as central to the contemporary pragmatist philosophy of science.5/5.
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"Ontological Relativity & Other Essays" is a collection that recapitulates the major philosophical themes that have come to be known as Quinean philosophy.
From the two dogmas of empiricism, ontological relativity, radical translation, holism, and indeterminacy of translation, all of these issues are themes in this collection of essays.
Get this from a library! Ontological relativity, and other essays. [W V Quine]. Ontological relativity and other essays. 5 stars based on 37 reviews benjaminpohle.com Essay.
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