Ideas from 'On Carnap's Views on Ontology' by Willard Quine [1951], by Theme Structure

[found in 'Ways of Paradox and other essays' by Quine,Willard [Harvard 1976,0-674-94837-8]].

green numbers give full details    |     back to texts     |     unexpand these ideas

1. Philosophy / E. Nature of Metaphysics / 4. Metaphysics as Science
Quine rejects Carnap's view that science and philosophy are distinct
                        Full Idea: Quine rejects Carnap's view that the methods of science and philosophy are distinct.
                        From: report of Willard Quine (On Carnap's Views on Ontology [1951]) by Stephen Boulter - Why Medieval Philosophy Matters 5
                        A reaction: I can't decide this one. Leibniz agreed with Carnap, but rated philosophy more highly. I like the view of philosophy as continuous with science, but that doesn't make it a branch of science. I incline towards science being a branch of philosophy.
7. Existence / D. Theories of Reality / 10. Ontological Commitment / a. Ontological commitment
Names have no ontological commitment, because we can deny that they name anything
                        Full Idea: I think there is no commitment to entities through use of alleged names of them; other things being equal, we can always deny the allegation that the words in question are names.
                        From: Willard Quine (On Carnap's Views on Ontology [1951], p.205)
                        A reaction: Hm. So why can't you deny that variables actually refer to existing entities? If I say 'I just saw James', it's a bit cheeky to then deny that James refers to anyone. He uses Russell's technique to paraphrase names.
7. Existence / D. Theories of Reality / 10. Ontological Commitment / b. Commitment of quantifiers
We can use quantification for commitment to unnameable things like the real numbers
                        Full Idea: Through our variables of quantification we are quite capable of committing ourselves to entities which cannot be named individually at all in the resources of our language; witness the real numbers.
                        From: Willard Quine (On Carnap's Views on Ontology [1951], p.205)
                        A reaction: The real numbers are uncountable, and thus cannot all be named. This is quite an impressive point. I've always had doubts about the existence of real numbers, on the grounds that they could never all be named.
19. Language / E. Analyticity / 3. Analytic and Synthetic
Without the analytic/synthetic distinction, Carnap's ontology/empirical distinction collapses
                        Full Idea: If there is no proper distinction between analytic and synthetic, then no basis at all remains for the contrast which Carnap urges between ontological statements and empirical statements of existence. Ontology then ends up on a par with natural science.
                        From: Willard Quine (On Carnap's Views on Ontology [1951], p.211)
                        A reaction: Carnap says ontology is relative to a linguistic framework. 'External' ontology is empty. This quotation gives Quine's main motivation for denying the analytic/synthetic distinction.