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Quintessence: basic readings from the philosophy of W.V. Quine
by W. V. Quine
edited by Roger F. Gibson
Harvard University Press, 2004
Cloth: 978-0-674-01048-2
Library of Congress Classification B945.Q51G53 2004
Dewey Decimal Classification 191


Through the first half of the twentieth century, analytic philosophy was dominated by Russell, Wittgenstein, and Carnap. Influenced by Russell and especially by Carnap, another towering figure, Willard Van Orman Quine (1908-2000) emerged as the most important proponent of analytic philosophy during the second half of the century. Yet with twenty-three books and countless articles to his credit--including, most famously, Word and Object and "Two Dogmas of Empiricism"--Quine remained a philosopher's philosopher, largely unknown to the general public.

Quintessence for the first time collects Quine's classic essays (such as "Two Dogmas" and "On What There Is") in one volume--and thus offers readers a much-needed introduction to his general philosophy. Divided into six parts, the thirty-five selections take up analyticity and reductionism; the indeterminacy of translation of theoretical sentences and the inscrutability of reference; ontology; naturalized epistemology; philosophy of mind; and extensionalism. Representative of Quine at his best, these readings are fundamental not only to an appreciation of the philosopher and his work, but also to an understanding of the philosophical tradition that he so materially advanced.

Table of Contents:

Part I. Analyticity and Reductionism
1. Truth by Convention
2. Two Dogmas of Empiricism
3. Two Dogmas in Retrospect
4. Carnap and Logical Truth

Part II. Indeterminacy and Inscrutability
5. Speaking of Objects
6. Reference
7. Translation and Meaning
8. Progress on Two Fronts

Part III. Ontology
9. On What There Is
10. The Scope and Language of Science
11. On Simple Theories of a Complex World
12. Ontic Decision
13. Things and Their Place in Theories
14. On Carnap's Views on Ontology

Part IV. Epistemology and Philosophy of Mind
15. Epistemology Naturalized
16. Naturalism; or, Living within One's Means
17. The Nature of Natural Knowledge
18. Five Milestones of Empiricism
19. On Mental Entities
20. Mind and Verbal Dispositions

Part V. Extensionalism
21. Confessions of a Confirmed Extensionalist
22. Quantifiers and Propositional Attitudes
23. Intensions Revisited
24. Reference and Modality
25. Three Grades of Modal Involvement


Reviews of this book:
Specialists...will be grateful for this well-modulated selection of Quine's most important essays and articles, which reflect his thinking up to the end of his life.
--Leon H. Brody, Library Journal

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