Quiddities

Front Cover
Harvard University Press, 1987 - Philosophy - 249 pages

The appellation "polymath" is often lightly bestowed, but it can be applied with confidence to the celebrated philosopher Willard Van Orman Quine. Quine's areas of interest are panoramic, as this lively book amply demonstrates.

Moving from A (alphabet) to Z (zero), Quiddities roams through more than eighty topics, each providing a full measure of piquant thought, wordplay, and wisdom, couched in easy and elegant prose--"Quine at his unbuttoned best," in Donald Davidson's words. Philosophy, language, and mathematics are the subjects most fully represented; tides of entries include belief, communication, free will, idiotisms, longitude and latitude, marks, prizes, Latin pronunciation, tolerance, trinity. Even the more technical entries are larded with homely lore, anecdote, and whimsical humor.

Quiddities will be a treat for admirers of Quine and for others who like to think, who care about language, and who enjoy the free play of intellect on topics large and small. For this select audience, it is an ideal book for browsing.

 

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Contents

Alphabet
1
Altruism
3
Anomaly
5
Artificial Languages
8
Atoms
12
Beauty
17
Belief
18
Classes versus Properties
22
Latin Pronunciation
117
Lines
119
Longitude and Latitude
121
Marks
125
Mathematosis
127
Meaning
130
Mind versus Body
132
Misling
134

Classes versus Sets
24
Communication
27
Complex Numbers
29
Consonant Clusters
31
Constructivism
33
Copula
36
Creation
37
Decimals and Dimidials
40
Definition
43
Discreteness
45
Etymology
49
Euphemism
53
Excluded Middle
55
Extravagance
57
Fermats Last Theorem
60
Formalism
63
Freedom
67
Free Will
69
Functions
72
Future
73
Gambling
76
Gender
78
Godels Theorem
82
Ideas
87
Identity
89
Idiotisms
92
Impredicativity
93
Infinite Numbers
96
Inflection
99
Information
103
Kinship of Words
105
Knowledge
108
Language Drift
111
Language Reform
114
Natural Numbers
137
Necessity
139
Negation
142
Paradoxes
145
Phonemes
149
Plurals
152
Predicate Logic
156
Prediction
159
Prizes
165
Pronunciation
166
Real Numbers
170
Recursion
173
Redundancy
177
Reference Reification
180
Rhetoric
183
Semantic Switch
186
Senses of Words
189
Singular Terms
192
SpaceTime
196
Syntax
199
Things
204
Tolerance
206
Trinity
210
Truth
212
Type versus Token
216
Units
220
Universal Library
223
Universals
225
Usage and Abusage
229
Use versus Mention
231
Variables
236
Zero
239
Index
243
Copyright

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About the author (1987)

W. V. Quine was Edgar Pierce Professor of Philosophy, Harvard University. He wrote twenty-one books, thirteen of them published by Harvard University Press.

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