Willard Van Orman Quine

American philosopher and logician (1908–2000)

Willard Van Orman Quine (/kwn/; known to his friends as "Van";[9] June 25, 1908 – December 25, 2000) was an American philosopher and logician in the analytic tradition. He is recognized as "one of the most influential philosophers of the twentieth century".[10] He served as the Edgar Pierce Chair of Philosophy at Harvard University from 1956 to 1978.

Willard Van Orman Quine
Quine in 1980
Born(1908-06-25)June 25, 1908
DiedDecember 25, 2000(2000-12-25) (aged 92)
EducationOberlin College (BA)
Harvard University (PhD)
  • Naomi Clayton
    (m. 1932; div. 1947)
  • Marjorie Boynton
    (m. 1948; died 1998)
AwardsRolf Schock Prize in Logic and Philosophy (1993)
Kyoto Prize (1996)
Era20th-century philosophy
RegionWestern philosophy
Mathematical nominalism (1947[1]
Mathematical quasi-empiricism (1960)
Immanent realism[2]
Logical behaviorism[5]
InstitutionsHarvard University
ThesisThe Logic of Sequences: A Generalization of Principia Mathematica (1932)
Doctoral advisorAlfred North Whitehead
Other academic advisorsC. I. Lewis[6]
Doctoral studentsDavid Lewis, Gilbert Harman, Dagfinn Føllesdal, Hao Wang, Burton Dreben, Charles Parsons, John Myhill, Robert McNaughton
Other notable studentsDonald Davidson, Daniel Dennett
Main interests
Logic, ontology, epistemology, philosophy of language, philosophy of mind, philosophy of mathematics, philosophy of science, set theory
Notable ideas

Quine was a teacher of logic and set theory. Quine was famous for his position that first order logic is the only kind worthy of the name. Based on this idea, he developed his own system of mathematics and set theory, known as New Foundations. In the philosophy of mathematics, he and his Harvard colleague Hilary Putnam developed the Quine–Putnam indispensability argument, an argument for the reality of mathematical entities.[11] He had the view that philosophy is not conceptual analysis, but continuous with science; the abstract branch of the empirical sciences. This led to his famous quip that "philosophy of science is philosophy enough".[12] He led a "systematic attempt to understand science from within the resources of science itself"[13] and developed an influential naturalized epistemology that tried to provide "an improved scientific explanation of how we have developed elaborate scientific theories on the basis of meager sensory input".[13] He also advocated ontological relativity in science, known as the Duhem–Quine thesis.

His major writings include the papers "On What There Is" (1948), which elucidated Bertrand Russell's theory of descriptions and contains Quine's famous dictum of ontological commitment, "To be is to be the value of a variable", and "Two Dogmas of Empiricism" (1951), which attacked the traditional analytic-synthetic distinction and reductionism. It wasa against the then-popular logical positivism, advocating instead a form of semantic holism. They also include the books The Web of Belief (1970), which advocates a kind of coherentism, and Word and Object (1960), which further developed these positions and introduced Quine's famous indeterminacy of translation thesis, advocating a behaviorist theory of meaning.

References change

  1. Bueno, Otávio (2020). "Nominalism in the Philosophy of Mathematics". The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Fall 2020 ed.). Metaphysics Research Lab, Stanford University.
  2. "Scientific Realism and Antirealism". Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
  3. "Pragmatism". Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
  4. Poston, Ted. "Foundationalism". Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
  5. Willard Van Orman Quine entry in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
  6. 6.0 6.1 Hunter, Bruce (2021). "Clarence Irving Lewis". The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Spring 2021 ed.). Metaphysics Research Lab, Stanford University.
  7. Willard Van Orman Quine (1983). "Chapter 22: Ontology and ideology revisited". Confessions of a Confirmed Extensionalist: And Other Essays. Harvard University Press. pp. 315 ff. ISBN 0674030842.
  8. Quine, W. V. (1966). "The Ways of Paradox". The Ways of Paradox, and Other Essays. New York: Random House.
  9. O'Connor, John J.; Robertson, Edmund F. (October 2003), "Willard Van Orman Quine", MacTutor History of Mathematics archive, University of St Andrews.
  10. Lehmann-Haupt, Christopher (2000-12-29). "W. V. Quine, Philosopher Who Analyzed Language and Reality, Dies at 92". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2023-11-21.
  11. Colyvan, Mark, "Indispensability Arguments in the Philosophy of Mathematics", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Fall 2004 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.).
  12. Quine, W. V. (August 28, 2023). "Mr. Strawson on Logical Theory". Mind. 62 (248): 433–451. JSTOR 2251091.
  13. 13.0 13.1 "Quine, Willard Van Orman: Philosophy of Science". Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. 2009.