Ideas from 'works' by Willard Quine [1961], by Theme Structure

Click on the Idea Number for the full details    |     back to texts     |     expand these ideas

1. Philosophy / E. Nature of Metaphysics / 1. Nature of Metaphysics
Quinean metaphysics just lists the beings, which is a domain with no internal structure
4. Formal Logic / F. Set Theory ST / 1. Set Theory
Set theory is full of Platonist metaphysics, so Quine aimed to keep it separate from logic
4. Formal Logic / F. Set Theory ST / 4. Axioms for Sets / o. Axiom of Constructibility V = L
Quine wants V = L for a cleaner theory, despite the scepticism of most theorists
4. Formal Logic / F. Set Theory ST / 8. Critique of Set Theory
Two things can never entail three things
5. Theory of Logic / F. Referring in Logic / 1. Naming / a. Names
If we had to name objects to make existence claims, we couldn't discuss all the real numbers
5. Theory of Logic / G. Quantification / 1. Quantification
No sense can be made of quantification into opaque contexts
Finite quantification can be eliminated in favour of disjunction and conjunction
5. Theory of Logic / G. Quantification / 4. Substitutional Quantification
Quine thought substitutional quantification confused use and mention, but then saw its nominalist appeal
6. Mathematics / C. Sources of Mathematics / 10. Constructivism / b. Intuitionism
For Quine, intuitionist ontology is inadequate for classical mathematics
Intuitionists only admit numbers properly constructed, but classical maths covers all reals in a 'limit'
7. Existence / A. Nature of Existence / 3. Being / d. Non-being
Definite descriptions can't unambiguously pick out an object which doesn't exist
7. Existence / D. Theories of Reality / 10. Ontological Commitment / a. Ontological commitment
A logically perfect language could express all truths, so all truths must be logically expressible
7. Existence / D. Theories of Reality / 10. Ontological Commitment / c. Commitment of predicates
Quine says we can expand predicates easily (ideology), but not names (ontology)
7. Existence / D. Theories of Reality / 10. Ontological Commitment / d. Commitment of theories
For Quine everything exists theoretically, as reference, predication and quantification
8. Modes of Existence / B. Properties / 10. Properties as Predicates
Quine says the predicate of a true statement has no ontological implications
8. Modes of Existence / B. Properties / 12. Denial of Properties
Quine brought classes into semantics to get rid of properties
Quine suggests that properties can be replaced with extensional entities like sets
Don't analyse 'red is a colour' as involving properties. Say 'all red things are coloured things'
Quine says that if second-order logic is to quantify over properties, that can be done in first-order predicate logic
8. Modes of Existence / D. Universals / 2. Need for Universals
Universals are acceptable if they are needed to make an accepted theory true
8. Modes of Existence / E. Nominalism / 5. Class Nominalism
Quine is committed to sets, but is more a Class Nominalist than a Platonist
9. Objects / A. Existence of Objects / 4. Individuation / a. Individuation
Quine wants identity and individuation-conditions for possibilia
12. Knowledge Sources / D. Empiricism / 1. Empiricism
Quine's empiricism is based on whole theoretical systems, not on single mental events
13. Knowledge Criteria / E. Relativism / 4. Cultural relativism
To proclaim cultural relativism is to thereby rise above it
14. Science / B. Scientific Theories / 3. Instrumentalism
For Quine, theories are instruments used to make predictions about observations
19. Language / B. Meaning / 12. Denial of Meanings
Meaning is essence transferred from objects to words
19. Language / D. Theories of Reference / 1. Reference theories
Quine says there is no matter of fact about reference - it is 'inscrutable'
19. Language / G. Interpretation / 3. Charity
The principle of charity only applies to the logical constants
26. Natural Theory / D. Laws of Nature / 8. Scientific Essentialism / e. Anti scientific essentialism
Essence gives an illusion of understanding