Dear Carnap, Dear Van: The Quine-Carnap Correspondence and Related Works

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Quine received his undergraduate degree from OberlinCollege, in Oberlin, Ohio. He majored in mathematics with honors in mathematical philosophy and mathematical logic. During his college years, along with cultivating his interest in mathematics, mathematical logic, linguistics and philosophy, Quine began his secondary career as an intrepid traveler.

He hitchhiked to, at least, Virginia, Kentucky, Canada and Michigan. In , he made his way to Denver and back with a few friends, hopping freight trains, hitchhiking, and riding on running boards. Lodging often included jail houses where one could sleep for free in relative safety , park benches and the ground. At the end of his junior year, he traveled to Europe. Graduating from Oberlin with an A- average, he was accepted, and received his Ph. For our purposes, we may understand an extensional definition as a set of particular things.

For instance, the extensional definition of a cat would consist of the set of all cats and the extensional definition of the property orange would consist of the set of all orange things which could include things that are only partly orange. Intensional definitions are, broadly speaking, generalizations, where particular things for example, particular cats are not employed in the definition.

Dear Carnap, Dear Van

This distinction underlines the difference between objects and names of objects. Quine uses single quotation marks to denote a name. After completing his dissertation in , Quine was awarded a Sheldon Traveling Fellowship by Harvard.

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This would prove to be a momentous trip; Carnap had a singular and lasting influence on Quine. As Quine understood it via Carnap , analytic truths are true as a result of their meaning. Rather, the truth of these statements turns on facts. They were titled: "The a priori," "Syntax," and "Philosophy as Syntax. Not only was Quine reading Carnap's work at this time, but Carnap was reading Quine's recent book, A System of Logistic , the published rewrite of his dissertation Creath — , Quine's respect for Carnap at this time is indisputable; a rapport had grown between the two such that they could easily exchange ideas and, for the most part, understand each other.

He thinks not. But as we saw above, Quine had been brooding over the matter since at least Not only did his qualms about this distinction surface in his discussions and correspondence with Carnap but also in conversation with other prominent philosophers and logicians, for example, Alfred Tarski, Nelson Goodman, and Morton White Quine, The problem with this characterization, he explains, is that the nature of meanings is obscure; Quine reminds the reader of what he takes to be one of Carnap's biggest mistakes in semantics—meaning is not to be confused with naming.

For instance, he points out, the two general terms "creature with a heart" and "creature with a kidney" both have the same extension because every creature with a heart has a kidney, and likewise. But these two statements clearly don't have the same meaning. Thus, for Quine there is a clear distinction between intensions and extensions, which reflects an equally clear distinction between meanings and references. Quine then briefly explains the notion of what a word might mean, as opposed to what essential qualities an object denoted by that word might be said to have.

Or as Quine puts it: "meaning is what essence becomes when it is divorced from the object of reference and wedded to the word" Quine, Logical truths, Quine explains, are any statements that remain true no matter how we interpret the non-logical particles in the statement. Logical particles are logical operators, for example, not, if then, or, all, no, some, and so forth. Quine suggests that one might, as is often done, appeal to definitions to explain the notion of synonymy. In fact, Quine writes, the only kind of definition that does not presuppose the notion of synonymy, is the act of ascribing an abbreviation purely conventionally.

For the rest, definition rests on synonymy rather than explaining it" Quine, Perhaps then, Quine suggests, one could define synonymy in terms of "interchangability. However, this is problematic as well. However, Quine is not quite sure what cognitive synonymy entails. In particular, we had to assume the meanings of the two kinds of analyticity explained above, that is, analyticity qua logical axioms and analyticity qua synonymy. So, the question is, can we give an account of cognitive synonymy by appealing to interchangeability recall that this is the task at hand without presupposing any definition of analyticity?

However, Quine finds the same kind of circularity here that he has found elsewhere. To show why, Quine reconstructs a general Carnapian paradigm regarding artificial languages and semantical rules, that, broadly speaking, proceeds as follows:. Its semantical rules explicitly specify which statements are analytic in L 0. But, Quine asks, why the specific class K, and not some other arbitrary class, for example, L-Z? So I create a list of things that just so happen to be green. But why did I pick just green things?

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Why not orange things, or things that had no particular color at all? But not all truths, just a certain set of truths. And so, "A statement is analytic if it is not merely true but true according to the semantical rule" Quine, However generally speaking , the same problem surfaces in terms of "semantical rule—" how does it specify which statements are to be included in the class of truths without in some sense presupposing the intensional meaning of the word 'analytic? According to the main camp of metaphysicians, metaphysics, generally speaking, employs a method where deductive logical laws are applied to a set of axioms that are necessarily true.

For the most part, these truths, the axioms that they are derived from, and the logical laws that are used to derive them, are thought to reflect the necessary and eternal nature of the universe. However, if there are, as Quine claims, no such things as necessary truths, that is, analytic truths, then this main camp of metaphysics is essentially eviscerated. This attack on metaphysics by Quine has spawned new camps of metaphysics which do not rely in this way on deductive methods. What method then, did Quine use?

The empirical method. In this respect, Quine was a scientific philosopher, that is, what is often called a naturalistic philosopher. Like Hume, he believed that philosophical conclusions were not necessarily true—they did not reflect or capture the essential nature of humanity, let alone the nature of the universe. Rather, they were testable, and potentially could be rejected.

1891 - 1970

Stefanie Rocknak Email: rocknaks hartwick. To show why, Quine reconstructs a general Carnapian paradigm regarding artificial languages and semantical rules, that, broadly speaking, proceeds as follows: [1] Assume there is an artificial language L 0. References and Further Reading Carnap, R. Translated by R.

In Conversation: W.V. Quine - Fara Interview - Section 1

Quine, two of the twentieth century's most important philosophers, corresponded at length—and over a long period of time—on matters personal, professional, and philosophical. Their friendship encompassed issues and disagreements that go to the heart of contemporary philosophic discussions. Carnap was a founder and leader of the logical positivist school.

Rudolf Carnap

The younger Quine began as his staunch admirer but diverged from him increasingly over questions in the analysis of meaning and the justification of belief. That they remained close, relishing their differences through years of correspondence, shows their stature both as thinkers and as friends. The letters are presented here, in full, for the first time. The substantial introduction by Richard Creath offers a lively overview of Carnap's and Quine's careers and backgrounds, allowing the nonspecialist to see their writings in historical and intellectual perspective.

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