Word and Object

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MIT Press, 2013 - Philosophy - 277 pages
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Willard Van Orman Quine begins this influential work by declaring, "Language is a social art. In acquiring it we have to depend entirely on intersubjectively available cues as to what to say and when." As Patricia Smith Churchland notes in her foreword to this new edition, with Word and Object Quine challenged the tradition of conceptual analysis as a way of advancing knowledge. The book signaled twentieth-century philosophy's turn away from metaphysics and what Churchland calls the "phony precision" of conceptual analysis.

In the course of his discussion of meaning and the linguistic mechanisms of objective reference, Quine considers the indeterminacy of translation, brings to light the anomalies and conflicts implicit in our language's referential apparatus, clarifies semantic problems connected with the imputation of existence, and marshals reasons for admitting or repudiating each of various categories of supposed objects. In addition to Churchland's foreword, this edition offers a new preface by Quine's student and colleague Dagfinn Follesdal that describes the never-realized plans for a second edition of Word and Object, in which Quine would offer a more unified treatment of the public nature of meaning, modalities, and propositional attitudes.

 

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Contents

1 Language and Truth
1
2 Translation and Meaning
23
3 The Ontogenesis of Reference
73
4 Vagaries of Reference
113
5 Regimentation
143
6 Flight from Intension
175
7 Ontic Decision
215
Bibliography
255
Index
267
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About the author (2013)

Willard Van Orman Quine (1908--2000) held the Edgar Pierce Chair of Philosophy at HarvardUniversity from 1956 to 2000. Considered one the most influential philosophers of the twentiethcentury, he is the author of Mathematical Logic, The Roots of Reference, The Time of MyLife: An Autobiography (MIT Press), and many other books.

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