Prolegomena: Mind and Its Place in Nature

  • W. V. QuineEmail author
Part of the History of Analytic Philosophy book series (History of Analytic Philosophy)


In this first lecture Quine argues for a physicalistic monism and examines how mentalistic discourse can be located in that framework. He defends the following standard: a mental event qualifies as physically genuine if it is specifiable strictly by physiological description, presumably neurological, without any appeal to mentalistic terms. He further characterizes the basic mentalistic level that his view can accept: the learning process involving perception, expectation, action and pleasure, which all have important neural analogues. It is from this starting point that he further speculates how it is possible to move from such perceptual events to our knowledge of nature. Lastly, he reflects more generally on what epistemology looks like when it is placed within this physicalist framework with its focus on language.


Language Mentalism Perception Physicalism 


  1. Hull, Clark. 1951. Essentials of Behavior. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  2. Shepard, Roger N. 1962. The Analysis of Proximities: Multidimensional Scaling with an Unknown Distance Function. I. Psychometrika 27 (2): 125–140.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Harvard UniversityCambridgeUSA

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