[hist-analytic] Quine's "two dogmas"

steve bayne baynesrb at yahoo.com
Sat Jan 31 13:11:08 EST 2009

I heard him say he rejected the distinction. This was in 1999!

We are, I believe, experiencing a crisis in philosophy, relying on
"ponies" rather than thoroughbreds. A student ought not
pony his way through Quine. Read Quine; then, re-read 
Quine. Then when you are finished with that read Quine again.

Every time I read "Two Dogmas" I get something new out of
it. That is what makes it a classic. Same way with Sellars's 
"Empiricism and the Philosophy of Mind." Read and re-read.
Is there a senior philosopher (and there are many lurking
about) on this list who would deny this? Then, after all this,
pick through the mistakes of the majority of commentators.

I want to apologize to people for not sending a copy to
their email addresses. I used to do this but once I 
didn't notice that it was not on list; very embarrassing.



--- On Sat, 1/31/09, Roger Bishop Jones <rbj at rbjones.com> wrote:
From: Roger Bishop Jones <rbj at rbjones.com>
Subject: Re: Quine's "two dogmas"
To: baynesrb at yahoo.com
Cc: hist-analytic at simplelists.com
Date: Saturday, January 31, 2009, 12:29 PM

On Saturday 31 January 2009 13:04:03 steve bayne wrote:

> If it weren't for the fact that I've heard Quine reject the
> analytic/synthetic distinction from his own lips I would be more
> maybe. But the idea that Hylton understood Quine better than Quine strikes
> me as ludicrous. The alternative is a secret philosophy held by Quine. I
> can find no instance where Quine clarifies his position, as one would
> expect if Hylton were right.

Hylton says (Chapter 3 p 52):

"Some of Quine's writings from the early 50s encourage the idea that
he wholly 
rejects anything that might be called a version of the analytic-synthetic 
distinction.  This is especially true of 'Two Dogmas of Empiricism' the
currency of that essay is no doubt responsible for the impression that Quine 
wholly rejects any version of the distinction.  But even in that essay he 
leaves some room for a distinction which he gives the name, and by the time 
of 'Roots of Reference' (1974) he is explicitly endorsing one. (Whether
it is 
worthy of the name is another question, but not an important one.)"

Hylton says that in his later philosophy Quine backed off denying the 
distinction in favour of denying it any possible philosophical significance.

Hunting for specific references, I see that he says that in "Two Dogmas 
Reconsidered" (p270) (and in Word and Object section 12) Quine accepts 
explicitly that "all batchelors are unmarried" is analtyic.

Roger Jones
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