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Quine
by Peter Hylton
Overview
A comprehensive and sympathetic survey of Quine's philosophy.
Introduction

Hylton offers us a presentation of Quine's philosophy rather than of his technical work in logic and set theory, arguing that the philosophy is largely if not wholly independent of the technical work. He tells us that the philosophy is systematic, with the central theme being a naturalism in which all knowledge is to be found by the methods of science, there being no special place for philosophy.

Though he does not use the word he seems to me to be presenting the philosophy as holistically systematic, in the sense that an understanding of each part depends upon an understanding of the whole. The problem in presentation which that gives to Hylton is to be addressed by a single chapter giving the broad outlines of Quine's naturalism in advance of materials looking in greater detail at its various parts.

The other notable element of the large scale structure of the exposition is Hylton's construal of Quine's philosophy as falling into two "projects" which he calls the epistemological and the metaphysical project. The purpose of the epistemelogical project is apparently "to make it plausible" that the human mind can be treated by scientific methods as rigourous as those evident in Newtonian physics. The metaphysical project is then to provide certain philosophical underpinnings for such an enterprise, particularly to identify the constraints which are imposed by naturalism, how those constraints are justified, and how "knowledge is to be fitted in" to those constraints.

Hylton covers the epistemological project in chapters 4-7, and the metaphysical project in Chapters 9-13. Chapter 2 is concerned with background, principally the philosophy of Rudolf Carnap, Chapter 3 addresses the analytic-synthetic distinction. Chapter 8 covers indeterminacy of translation.

Overview: Quine's naturalism
I Fundamentals

II Stimulations and Science
III Realism, Instrumentalism, Pragmatism
IV "Our Theory"
V Tasks for Philosophy


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