In Pursuit of TruthW. V. Quine gives us his latest word on issues to which he has devoted many years. As he says in the preface: “In these pages I have undertaken to update, sum up, and clarify my variously intersecting views on cognitive meaning, objective reference, and the grounds of knowledge.”
The pursuit of truth is a quest that links observation, theory, and the world. Various faulty efforts to forge such links have led to much intellectual confusion. Quine’s efforts to get beyond the confusion begin by rejecting the very idea of binding together word and thing, rejecting the focus on the isolated word. For him, observation sentences and theoretical sentences are the alpha and omega of the scientific enterprise. Notions like “idea” and ”meaning” are vague, but a sentence—now there’s something you can sink your teeth into. Starting thus with sentences, Quine sketches an epistemological setting for the pursuit of truth. He proceeds to show how reification and reference contribute to the elaborate structure that can indeed relate science to its sensory evidence.
In this book Quine both summarizes and moves ahead. Rich, lively chapters dissect his major concerns: evidence, reference, meaning, intention, and truth. “Some points,” he writes, “have become clearer in my mind in the eight years since Theories and Things. Some that were already clear in my mind have become clearer on paper. And there are some that have meanwhile undergone substantive change for the better.”
This is a key book for understanding the effort that a major philosopher has made a large part of his life’s work: to naturalize epistemology in the twentieth century. The book is concise and elegantly written, as one would expect, and does not assume the reader’s previous acquaintance with Quine’s writings. Throughout, it is marked by Quine’s wit and economy of style.
In this volume John Perry develops his “reflexive-referential” account of indexicals, demonstratives, and proper names. For this new second edition, Perry has added a new preface and two chapters on the distinction between semantics and pragmatics and on attitude reports. He reveals a coherent and structured family of contents—from reflexive contents that place conditions on their actual utterance to fully incremental contents that place conditions only on the objects of reference—reconciling the legitimate insights of both the referentialist and descriptivist traditions.
Referentialism has underappreciated consequences for our understanding of the ways in which mind, language, and world relate to one another. In exploring these consequences, this book defends a version of referentialism about names, demonstratives, and indexicals, in a manner appropriate for scholars and students in philosophy or the cognitive sciences.
To demonstrate his view, Kenneth A. Taylor offers original and provocative accounts of a wide variety of semantic, pragmatic, and psychological phenomena, such as empty names, propositional attitude contexts, the nature of concepts, and the ultimate source and nature of normativity.
Thomas Bolander, Vincent F. Hendricks, and Stig Andur Pedersen CSLI, 2006 Library of Congress B105.R25S45 2006 | Dewey Decimal 165
An anthology of previously unpublished essays from some of the most outstanding scholars working in philosophy, mathematics, and computer science today, Self-Reference reexamines the latest theories of self-reference, including those that attempt to explain and resolve the semantic and set-theoretic paradoxes. With a thorough introduction that contextualizes the subject for students, this book will be important reading for anyone interested in the general area of self-reference and philosophy.
Plato’s Parmenides and Aristotle’s Metaphysics initiated the discussion of the “First Philosophy” in the Western canon. Here, David Shwayder continues this debate by considering statements as the fundamental bearers of truth-values. Systematically moving from action to utterance, Shwayder argues that the category of “bodies” is fundamental to the human scheme of conceptualization and that if we had no capacity to refer to bodies then we would be unable to address referents from other categories.