Ideas from 'Word and Object' by Willard Quine [1960], by Theme Structure

[found in 'Word and Object' by Quine,Willard [MIT 1969,0-262-67001-1]].

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1. Philosophy / E. Nature of Metaphysics / 3. Metaphysics as Science
Quine's naturalistic and empirical view is based entirely on first-order logic and set theory
1. Philosophy / E. Nature of Metaphysics / 5. Metaphysics as Conceptual
Enquiry needs a conceptual scheme, so we should retain the best available
5. Theory of Logic / G. Quantification / 6. Plural Quantification
Plurals can in principle be paraphrased away altogether
6. Mathematics / A. Nature of Mathematics / 3. Numbers / e. Ordinal numbers
Any progression will do nicely for numbers; they can all then be used to measure multiplicity
6. Mathematics / C. Sources of Mathematics / 4. Mathematical Empiricism / b. Indispensability of mathematics
Nearly all of mathematics has to quantify over abstract objects
7. Existence / E. Categories / 4. Category Realism
The quest for ultimate categories is the quest for a simple clear pattern of notation
8. Modes of Existence / C. Powers and Dispositions / 6. Dispositions / a. Dispositions
Either dispositions rest on structures, or we keep saying 'all things being equal'
8. Modes of Existence / C. Powers and Dispositions / 6. Dispositions / d. Dispositions as occurrent
Explain unmanifested dispositions as structural similarities to objects which have manifested them
8. Modes of Existence / E. Nominalism / 5. Class Nominalism
Quine aims to deal with properties by the use of eternal open sentences, or classes
9. Objects / A. Existence of Objects / 1. Physical Objects
Physical objects in space-time are just events or processes, no matter how disconnected
The notion of a physical object is by far the most useful one for science
9. Objects / D. Essence of Objects / 15. Against Essentialism
Mathematicians must be rational but not two-legged, cyclists the opposite. So a mathematical cyclist?
Cyclist are not actually essentially two-legged
9. Objects / F. Identity among Objects / 2. Defining Identity
We can paraphrase 'x=y' as a sequence of the form 'if Fx then Fy'
10. Modality / B. Possibility / 8. Conditionals / c. Truth-function conditionals
Normal conditionals have a truth-value gap when the antecedent is false.
10. Modality / B. Possibility / 8. Conditionals / e. Supposition conditionals
Conditionals are pointless if the truth value of the antecedent is known
10. Modality / B. Possibility / 9. Counterfactuals
We feign belief in counterfactual antecedents, and assess how convincing the consequent is
Counterfactuals have no place in a strict account of science
Counterfactuals are plausible when dispositions are involved, as they imply structures
What stays the same in assessing a counterfactual antecedent depends on context
14. Science / B. Scientific Theories / 1. Scientific Theory
Two theories can be internally consistent and match all the facts, yet be inconsistent with one another
17. Mind and Body / E. Physicalism / 3. Eliminativism
Quine expresses the instrumental version of eliminativism
19. Language / G. Interpretation / 2. Indeterminacy
Stimulus synonymy of 'Gavagai' and 'Rabbit' does not even guarantee they are coextensive
Dispositions to speech behaviour, and actual speech, are never enough to fix any one translation
The firmer the links between sentences and stimuli, the less translations can diverge
We can never precisely pin down how to translate the native word 'Gavagai'
19. Language / G. Interpretation / 3. Charity
Weird translations are always possible, but they improve if we impose our own logic on them
We should be suspicious of a translation which implies that a people have very strange beliefs