Quotations From WILLARD VAN ORMAN QUINE

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  • One man's observation is another man's closed book or flight of fancy.
    Willard Van Orman Quine (b. 1908), U.S. philosopher, logician. "Epistemology Naturalized," Ontological Relativity and Other Essays, Columbia University Press (1969).
  • To be is to be the value of a variable.
    Willard Van Orman Quine (b. 1908), U.S. philosopher. Methods of Logic, p. 224, Holt, Rinehart, and Winston, Inc. (1950).
  • The familiar material objects may not be all that is real, but they are admirable examples.
    Willard Van Orman Quine (b. 1908), U.S. philosopher, logician. Word and Object, p. 3 (1960).
  • Language is a social art.
    Willard Van Orman Quine (b. 1908), U.S. professor of philosophy (Harvard University). Word and Object, p. ix, MIT Press (1960).
  • Entification begins at arm's length; the points of condensation in the primordial conceptual scheme are things glimpsed, not glimpses.
    Willard Van Orman Quine (b. 1908), U.S. philosopher. Word and Object, p. 1, MIT Press (1960).
  • Some may find comfort in reflecting that the distinction between an eliminative and an explicative physicalism is unreal.
    Willard Van Orman Quine (b. 1908), U.S. professor of philosophy (Harvard University). Word and Object, p. 265, MIT Press (1960).
  • 'Ouch' is not independent of social training. One has only to prick a foreigner to appreciate that it is an English word.
    Willard Van Orman Quine (b. 1908), U.S. philosopher, logician. Word and Object, section 2, MIT Press (1960).
  • Treating 'water' as a name of a single scattered object is not intended to enable us to dispense with general terms and plurality of reference. Scatter is in fact an inconsequential detail.
    Willard Van Orman Quine (b. 1908), U.S. philosopher. Word and Object, p. 99, MIT Press (1960).

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  • [T]here is no breaking out of the intentional vocabulary by explaining its members in other terms.
    Willard Van Orman Quine (b. 1908), U.S. professor of philosophy (Harvard University). Word and Object, p. 220, MIT Press (1960).
  • We do not learn first what to talk about and then what to say about it.
    Willard Van Orman Quine (b. 1908), U.S. philosopher, logician. Word and Object, p. 16 (1960). On the inseparability of ontology and empirical belief.
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