Willard Van Orman Quine  

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"At the period that Quine launched his attack on conventionalism, essentialism was considered dead, and he did not discuss it." --Philosophical Logic: An Introduction (1989) by Sybil Wolfram

"Although initially attracted to Carnap's conventionalism, W.V. Quine eventually launched a sustained attack on it in “Truth by Convention” (1935) and “Carnap and Logical Truth” (1963). Quine's anti-conventionalist arguments, in conjunction with his attack upon the analytic-synthetic distinction, profoundly ..." --Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

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Willard Van Orman Quine (June 25, 1908 Akron, Ohio – December 25, 2000) (known to intimates as "Van"), was an American analytic philosopher and logician. From 1930 until his death 70 years later, Quine was affiliated in some way with Harvard University, first as a student, then as a professor of philosophy and a teacher of mathematics, and finally as an emeritus elder statesman who published or revised seven books in retirement. He filled the Edgar Pierce Chair of Philosophy at Harvard, 1956-78. Quine falls squarely into the analytic philosophy tradition while also being the main proponent of the view that philosophy is not conceptual analysis. His major writings include "Two Dogmas of Empiricism", which attacked the distinction between analytic and synthetic propositions and advocated a form of semantic holism, and Word and Object which further developed these positions and introduced the notorious indeterminacy of translation thesis.

His major writings include the papers "On What There Is" (1948), which elucidated Bertrand Russell's theory of descriptions and contains Quine's famous dictum of ontological commitment, "To be is to be the value of a variable", and "Two Dogmas of Empiricism" (1951), which attacked the traditional analytic-synthetic distinction and reductionism, undermining the then-popular logical positivism, advocating instead a form of semantic holism. They also include the books The Web of Belief, which advocates a kind of coherentism, and Word and Object (1960), which further developed these positions and introduced Quine's famous indeterminacy of translation thesis, advocating a behaviorist theory of meaning.

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