Sunday, May 10, 2009

100 W.V.V Quine

Behind me I have put up a sign, which tells you what is going on this very weekend at Havard University, October 25 -26, 2008. Quine was barn June 25, 1908 and now, 2008, his centenary is celebrated. And in this very same year is Quine the 100th philosopher of our project. An appropriate coincidence.

Since 1930 he was connected to Harvard University till his death in 2000. As a young man he had the opportunitiy to meet the philosophers of the Vienna Circle, where Carnap was one of his teachers. He must have been a brilliant young man.

I think it is allowed to say that Quine is the last of the great philosophers, such a philosopher who develops a deep and wide program to deal with the fundamental philosophical questions. He has become, so to speak, a philosophical institution on his own.

Yet , in his philosophy we see a lot of what was going on in those days and you even can see resemblances with ideas of Kuhn and Feyerabend.

In epistemological matters he took an naturalist stand: according to naturalism nature is all there is, and all things supernatural (which stipulatively includes spirits and souls and non-natural values) do not exist, or they are reducible to natural things.

Quine was a pure empiricist and verificationist. For him everything was closely related to sensory experience. This is most evident in his famous work "Two Dogmas of Empiricism".

Some philosophers have attempted to distinguish between such statements as "A river flows through Maastricht", which , they contend, are true as a matter of fact, and statements like "No bachelor is married", the truth of which is said to be independent of matters of fact.

The former have been described as synthetic, the latter as analytic. This distinction is directly derived from Kant's views who used it to arrive at a synthesis between empiricism and rationalism for his metaphysics.

Quine maintains, first, that the analytic-synthetic distinction has never satisfactorily been made and, second, that there is no good reason for believing that it can be made and this distinction was central to logical positivism. So, you can imagine how fundamental this criticism was.

A second dogma he attacks is the view that the meaning of a proposition can be reduced to refering to sense data. Quine shows that a proposition can not be true independent of sensory experiences indeed, but also that the meaning of a proposition can not be isolated from a web of opinions, to which it belongs.

Here we see the same view as with Kuhn and Feyerabend, that is, there are no straight matters of facts, there only are matters of fact within the context of a theory. And this theory is again derived from experience.

But experience can not be separated from the theory about the world, that we use to describe it. Theory and experience go hand in hand and what is, what exists, is according to Quine that, which our best theory of reality tell us that is.

This reveals a central theme in Quine's philosophy, the opinion that science is the ultimate judge of truth. Only science can tell us about reality and one of the things science learns us is, that our knowledge of reality always will be restricted to sensory experience.

To give you something to think about a quote from Quine himself. He concluded his "Two Dogmas of Empiricism" as follows:

"As an empiricist I continue to think of the conceptual scheme of science as a tool, ultimately, for predicting future experience in the light of past experience.

Physical objects are conceptually imported into the situation as convenient intermediaries not by definition in terms of experience, but simply as irreducible posits comparable, epistemologically, to the gods of Homer . . .

For my part I do, qua lay physicist, believe in physical objects and not in Homer's gods; and I consider it a scientific error to believe otherwise.

But in point of epistemological footing, the physical objects and the gods differ only in degree and not in kind. Both sorts of entities enter our conceptions only as cultural posits".

This concludes our first project: The 100 Philosophers. Although Quine is our last one, he in not the final one of the project. That is me (^_^).

Next Tuesday I'll give my opinion and evaluation of our project, which definitely is OUR project, because for me it only could be realized with the help your participation and positive support. And I sincerely thank you very much for your patience with me and confidence in me.

Main Resources:
Philip Stokes, Philosophy: 100 essential thinkers
The Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 2nd edition

The Discussion

[13:24] herman Bergson: Thank you all :-)
[13:24] itsme Frederix: applause
[13:24] AristotleVon Doobie: Thanks you Herman
[13:24] Zen Arado: thank you
[13:24] Rough Jewell: THANKS
[13:24] Cailleach Shan: Cal claps loudly...
[13:24] herman Bergson: you make me blush ^_^
[13:25] AristotleVon Doobie: YOU have given us much of yourself this year
[13:25] Gemma Cleanslate: yes
[13:25] herman Bergson: Yes indeed Aristotle
[13:25] Zen Arado: sorry i missed so many
[13:25] Gemma Cleanslate: some much time of preparation
[13:25] AristotleVon Doobie: we are better for it
[13:25] herman Bergson: I'll elaborate on that next class
[13:25] Gemma Cleanslate: and presentation'
[13:25] herman Bergson: but keep in mind is very mutual
[13:26] AristotleVon Doobie: nodding in appreciation
[13:26] herman Bergson: it is about 15 hours a week
[13:26] Qwark Allen: almost a all day
[13:26] Gemma Cleanslate: i guess i will have to do another story as a closing of this PART
[13:26] Gemma Cleanslate: :-)
[13:26] herman Bergson: all preperations and study and class
[13:26] Qwark Allen: indeed
[13:26] Gemma Cleanslate: after Tuesday
[13:27] herman Bergson: planning is thus
[13:27] Gemma Cleanslate: ah
[13:27] herman Bergson: Tuesday the final evaluation
[13:27] herman Bergson: No class on Thursday
[13:27] Gemma Cleanslate: after thursday then
[13:27] Gemma Cleanslate: ahha
[13:27] Gemma Cleanslate: ok
[13:27] Gemma Cleanslate: lol
[13:27] herman Bergson: Sunday the start of the new project: 25+ Female Philosophers
[13:27] oola Neruda: no final exam???
[13:28] Gemma Cleanslate: ah wonderful
[13:28] herman Bergson smiles
[13:28] Rough Jewell: yay.. look forward to that one
[13:28] Gemma Cleanslate: we will get a list??
[13:28] Paula Dix: great! :)
[13:28] Cailleach Shan: eeeeek no exams please..
[13:28] herman Bergson: You can have a private one oola, if you like ^_^
[13:28] Qwark Allen: ehehhe
[13:28] Gemma Cleanslate: lolol.oolol
[13:28] Qwark Allen: :-))
[13:28] itsme Frederix: no exam no certificate
[13:29] Gemma Cleanslate: ☆ ->~*~Partyyyyyyyyyy!!!!~*~ <- br="">[13:29] Gemma Cleanslate: we need to celebrate
[13:29] Gemma Cleanslate: lol
[13:29] Gemma Cleanslate: 100 done
[13:29] herman Bergson: As I always said to my you work for the credits or the knowledge?
[13:29] AristotleVon Doobie: :)))
[13:29] Rough Jewell: yes yes... party
[13:29] Qwark Allen: that is allways a good idea
[13:29] Gemma Cleanslate: actually i have an invite to all for wednesday
[13:29] AristotleVon Doobie: the knowledge of cousre is better than paper
[13:29] herman Bergson: Thursday would be fine for that Gemma :-)
[13:30] Gemma Cleanslate: well wednesday is special to qwark and me
[13:30] itsme Frederix: after all these philosophycal talk, I only hear .... party .... seems thats it about ...
[13:30] Gemma Cleanslate: 1 year
[13:30] Gemma Cleanslate: anniversary
[13:30] Qwark Allen: :-))
[13:30] Rough Jewell: wow.... congrats !
[13:30] Qwark Allen: \o/
[13:30] oola Neruda: congratulations
[13:30] herman Bergson: Yes..we made one whole year
[13:30] Qwark Allen: ty
[13:30] Gemma Cleanslate: yes
[13:31] Gemma Cleanslate: lol'
[13:31] Gemma Cleanslate: and we are still alive
[13:31] Gemma Cleanslate: lol
[13:31] itsme Frederix: Good job Herman - and nice publications Ari
[13:31] AristotleVon Doobie: thanks Itsme
[13:31] herman Bergson: yes we are...
[13:31] Gemma Cleanslate gave you Invitation from Qwark and Gemma.
[13:32] AristotleVon Doobie: the best end of philosophical understanding has to be enjoyment
[13:32] herman Bergson: Well...all this distracted us from our subject today..Quine ^_^
[13:32] Paula Dix: obrigada Gemma pelo convite :)
[13:32] itsme Frederix: Herman but about Quine talking about the best theory and best practize .. is that pragmatisme?
[13:33] Rough Jewell: mucha gracias!
[13:33] herman Bergson: Yes I would say that too
[13:33] Cailleach Shan: Thanks Gem
[13:33] Gemma Cleanslate: :-)
[13:33] herman Bergson: What is remarkable is that at this moment...
[13:34] herman Bergson: take Quine, Kuhn, Feyerabend, pragmatism looks to prevail in epistemology
[13:34] herman Bergson: and ontological relativism
[13:34] itsme Frederix: what is the meaning of that for ontology - oke you just answered
[13:35] Cailleach Shan: So Herman, Quine seems to be saying that we create our own reality.
[13:35] itsme Frederix: so all that romatic strugle (Werther) is gone, we now say do not make a burden of life it just ist and depends
[13:35] Zen Arado: is that the pragmatism of Peirce, Dewey, James?
[13:35] herman Bergson: Yes in a way Cailleach fact just like Kuhn and Feyerabend
[13:36] herman Bergson: Yes Zen
[13:36] Zen Arado: dont see where that fits in?
[13:36] itsme Frederix: mmm I liked the days of German romantics
[13:36] herman Bergson: What do youmean Itsme?
[13:37] itsme Frederix: ontological relativisme - no big statements anymore
[13:37] herman Bergson: I wouldnt say that
[13:37] Zen Arado: just the 'cash value' is whats important?
[13:37] herman Bergson: the big statements have shifted to philosophy of science and epistemology, to scientific theories
[13:38] herman Bergson: I hear some negative appreciation in your words Zen?
[13:38] Zen Arado: do you believe science can understand everything Herman?
[13:38] itsme Frederix: oke, and that big statements from science are telling us what ..
[13:38] herman Bergson: There is a problem with your question Zen
[13:39] Zen Arado: i only know pragmatism from political philosophy
[13:39] herman Bergson: You suppose that I know what you mean with 'science', and that is not the case
[13:39] Paula Dix: would it be that we are learning more and more about the universe and everything??
[13:39] Zen Arado: well logic, reason empiricism
[13:39] itsme Frederix: Paula you never will learn more I would say only other
[13:40] Paula Dix: but science is getting more and more data all the time
[13:40] herman Bergson: Then there is your 'everything'?....what is that....a finite or infinite class?
[13:40] Paula Dix: even if me personally cant absorb it, we can use it, somehow, someday
[13:40] itsme Frederix: Paula lets wait for Herman & Zen
[13:40] herman Bergson: Paula, within the contexts of theories, yes, we learn more
[13:41] Zen Arado: i'm talking about 'scientism'
[13:41] herman Bergson: I am not, Zen, that is not what is meant in Quine's case
[13:41] Zen Arado: that only science gives satisfactory explanations of the world
[13:42] Zen Arado: oh
[13:42] AristotleVon Doobie: science and nature appear to me as synonymous
[13:42] itsme Frederix: as we are talking about Quine today - lets stuck to Quine's definitions
[13:42] Zen Arado: naturalism?
[13:42] Paula Dix: sensory organs?
[13:42] herman Bergson: But then you should go back to Feyerabend
[13:43] herman Bergson: There is not such a thing called 'world'
[13:43] Cailleach Shan: It's all realative.
[13:43] AristotleVon Doobie: our communion with nature is through our senses
[13:43] itsme Frederix: Ari but with a perception (sorry out of topic maybe)
[13:43] herman Bergson: we have theories about our reality and we live by them..and these theories can change any which world do we liv ein?
[13:44] Zen Arado: i agree
[13:44] itsme Frederix: the world WE made
[13:44] AristotleVon Doobie: an everchanging one
[13:44] herman Bergson: Philosophically one would say...I hear idealism here...:-)
[13:44] Zen Arado: zen monk 'What is the eternal principle?
[13:44] itsme Frederix: So Herman is that statement not a litle bit ontological formulated
[13:45] Zen Arado: zen master 'it just moved :)
[13:45] Cailleach Shan: I can only live in MY creation..... I cannot have a 2nd hand experience.
[13:45] AristotleVon Doobie: I think life is one long learning curve
[13:45] Paula Dix: lol zen
[13:45] Qwark Allen: yes ari
[13:45] Qwark Allen: i agree with you
[13:46] itsme Frederix: Ari again perception - positive indeed
[13:46] AristotleVon Doobie: discover and smile, discover and frown, hope that the smiles outnumber the frowns
[13:46] herman Bergson: Good strategy Aristotle...^_^
[13:47] Gemma Cleanslate: :-)
[13:47] itsme Frederix: still you also have the frown of wonder Ari?
[13:47] herman Bergson: Next Tuesday I'll try to put all pieces together...that is the ones I collected during this project ^_^
[13:48] itsme Frederix: That would be a brave thing to do Herman
[13:48] herman Bergson me smiles
[13:48] herman Bergson: I am not afraid..:-)
[13:48] Zen Arado: Did yo learn something yourself doing this project, Herman?
[13:48] itsme Frederix: me neither ;)
[13:48] Cailleach Shan: Just reading Wiki about Quine having a computer programme named after him. An amazing man.
[13:48] AristotleVon Doobie: after Tuesday I will attempt to join the two volumes of my journal into one
[13:48] herman Bergson: A lot Zen...really a lot
[13:49] Zen Arado: that's good
[13:49] Gemma Cleanslate: oh wow ari
[13:49] Gemma Cleanslate: big job
[13:49] herman Bergson: Yeah Aristotle, that would be something
[13:49] itsme Frederix: with an index Ari, and hyperlinks
[13:49] AristotleVon Doobie: want to keep the file size down
[13:49] Gemma Cleanslate: goodness
[13:50] itsme Frederix: One thing for sure it might be on the Katholic/Rome index
[13:50] Gemma Cleanslate: lololololl
[13:50] AristotleVon Doobie: I hope to be able to pullit up 10 years from and have one of those smiles
[13:51] itsme Frederix: hope you can read it than in .pdf
[13:51] AristotleVon Doobie: hahaha, yes indeed
[13:51] herman Bergson: we'll have a conversion program then..:-)
[13:51] AristotleVon Doobie: that long learning curve in action
[13:51] itsme Frederix: best thing to keep it save Ari is: zip it and name a torrent to it called Pamela
[13:52] herman Bergson: good trick Itsme
[13:52] Qwark Allen: lol
[13:52] Cailleach Shan: Pamela who?
[13:52] Gemma Cleanslate: lol
[13:52] herman Bergson: Pamela Bush
[13:52] Paula Dix: lol
[13:52] Cailleach Shan: :)
[13:52] itsme Frederix: any Pamela will do I guess, but you got it
[13:53] herman Bergson: I thank you for your participation today...again..:-)
[13:53] Rough Jewell: thanks herm
[13:53] AristotleVon Doobie: Thanks, Provessor
[13:53] itsme Frederix: a shame that it works like that, but you can benefit from it - very practical
[13:53] Rough Jewell: see you all soonthen
[13:53] herman Bergson: And before Pamela becomes our subject of debate: class dismissed! ^_^
[13:53] Zen Arado: than you Herman
[13:54] Gemma Cleanslate: lol
[13:54] Zen Arado: Will you be able to find 25 female philosophers?
[13:54] Rough Jewell:
[13:54] Gemma Cleanslate: thanks Herman
[13:54] AristotleVon Doobie: bye Rough :)
[13:54] Cailleach Shan: Wash your mouth out with soap Zen!!!!! :)
[13:54] herman Bergson: You will be surprised Zen
[13:54] itsme Frederix: Have a nice preparation Herman, looking forward to your intermediate summary
[13:54] Cailleach Shan: Bye everyone... Thanks Herman.
[13:54] Zen Arado: I know there are some very good female philosophers but I didn't think there were 25!
[13:55] Zen Arado: It's only because many didn't get the recognition they deserved
[13:55] herman Bergson: I'll do my best Itsme..:-)
[13:55] Paula Dix: wow
[13:55] Zen Arado: and where are forgotten probably
[13:55] Paula Dix: hannah arendt and simone are enough :)
[13:55] itsme Frederix: well all those male philosophers had a mum, tribute to these woman
[13:55] Zen Arado: true
[13:55] Gemma Cleanslate: :-)
[13:56] Zen Arado: and wives, long-suffering wives
[13:56] herman Bergson: there are more Zen, dont worry
[13:56] AristotleVon Doobie: good bye all, see you Tuesday :0
[13:56] itsme Frederix: ans sisters - bad ones ...
[13:56] AristotleVon Doobie: :)
[13:56] Qwark Allen: cya ari
[13:56] herman Bergson: Bye too you
[13:56] Qwark Allen: tc
[13:56] Gemma Cleanslate: bye ari
[13:56] Qwark Allen: and have fun
[13:56] Zen Arado: bye all
[13:56] Gemma Cleanslate: see you soon
[13:56] AristotleVon Doobie: :))
[13:56] Gemma Cleanslate: :-)
[13:56] Qwark Allen: alarice is coming soon
[13:56] Paula Dix: thanks for the class and see you next one :)
[13:56] Gemma Cleanslate: oh gosh
[13:56] Qwark Allen: yes
[13:56] Qwark Allen: ty herman
[13:57] Gemma Cleanslate: maybe into for another week!!!
[13:57] herman Bergson: thank you Paula..:-)
[13:57] Qwark Allen: :-)
[13:57] Qwark Allen: omg
[13:57] Gemma Cleanslate: ys
[13:57] itsme Frederix: see you tuesday 1.00 pm sl time?!
[13:57] Qwark Allen: :-)
[13:58] herman Bergson: Yes Itsme..SL time
[13:58] itsme Frederix: and wednesday party ofcourse Qwark and Gemma
[13:58] Gemma Cleanslate: ioh yes
[13:58] Gemma Cleanslate: :-)

Posted by herman_bergson on 2008-10-29 09:50:49

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