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Quine I: The Bold Physicalism of Word and Object

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Abstract

This chapter serves three purposes. I first detail the basic doctrines of Quine’s naturalized epistemology, as he defended them from Word and Object until the 1990s (when he substantially modified his framework). These basic doctrines are his versions of physicalism, behaviorism, mechanism, and what I call Quine’s source- and checkpoint-empiricism. Then, I sketch the elegantly physicalistic account, given in Word and Object, of the infant’s first steps into language. Thereby, I focus on Quine’s concepts of observation sentence, stimulus meaning, and innate quality space. Finally, I detail a problem that led him to abandon this account, namely the fact that stimulus meanings are private.

Keywords

Physicalism Behaviorism Mechanism Empiricism Observation sentence  Stimulus meaning Innate quality space Quine 

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of ZurichZurichSwitzerland

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