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«Quest’opera è soggetta alla licenza Creative Commons Attribuzione - Non commerciale - Non opere derivate 2.5 Italia (CC BY-NCND 2.5). Questo ...»

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Pubblicazioni della Facoltà di Lettere e Filosofia

FILARETE ON LINE

UNIVERSITÀ DEGLI STUDI DI MILANO RITA BRUSCHI

Willard Van Orman Quine:

a bibliographic guide

Firenze, La Nuova Italia, 1986

(Pubblicazioni della Facoltà di Lettere e Filosofia dell’Università

degli Studi di Milano, 113)

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PUBBLICAZIONI

DELLA FACOLTÀ DI LETTERE E FILOSOFIA

DELL'UNIVERSITÀ DI MILANO

CXIII

RITA BRUSCHI

WILLARD VAN ORMAN QUINE

A BIBLIOGRAPHIC GUIDE

LA NUOVA ITALIA EDITRICE

FIRENZE

Bruschi, Rita Willard Van Orman Quine : a bibliographic guide.

— (Pubblicazioni della Facoltà di Lettere e Filo­ sofia dell'Università di Milano ; 113J. Sezione a cura del Dipartimento di filosofia ; 7). — ISBN 88-221-0266-5

1. Quine, W. Van Orman - I. Tit.

016.16 Printed in Italy Propri

–  –  –

II pensiero dì Willard Van Orman Quine ha ormai assunto un ruolo essenziale all'interno di una vasta area di indagine in cui confluiscono molteplici interessi: dalla logica alla teoria della conoscenza, dalla filosofia del linguaggio all'epistemologia. Le analisi di questo autore sono all'origine di profondi ripensamenti intervenuti nella formulazione di concetti fondamentali della riflessione filosofica e linguistica, come per esempio quelli di analiticità, significato, teoria. Si capisce allora come l'approntamento di una bibliografia sistematica dedicata a questo autore rappresenti un importante contributo alla ricostruzione di un momento fondamentale del dibattito filo so fico contemporaneo.

La dottoressa Bruschi ha svolto questo* compito con notevole precisione filosofica e altrettanto grande sensibilità critica. La bibliografia degli scritti di Quine si raccomanda per la sua completezza, mentre la parte dedicata ai saggi su questo autore, ai dibattiti che le sue posizioni hanno sollevato, ai vivaci scambi di vedute che non di rado hanno polarizzato l'attenzione del mondo filosofico, contiene anche, nella maggior parte dei casi, utilissime indicazioni sui contenuti.

La terza parte del lavoro è costituita da un indice sistematico a molteplici chiavi di lettura, che rappresenta certamente un originale e prezioso strumento di lavoro di sicuro interesse per lo studioso. I risultati della ricerca, infine, sono preceduti da un saggio introduttivo che costituisce un'esposizione sintetica e al tempo stesso completa e approfondita dell'itinerario filosofico di Quine.

La commissione raccomanda quindi caldamente la pubblicazione di questo lavoro nella collana di Facoltà.

CORRADO MANGIONE

ANDREA BONOMI

GIULIO GIORELLO

GIOVANNI ORLANDI

PREFACE

I am overwhelmed by thè quantity of publications about my work that Dr. Bruschi has shown to exist. I was aware of only a portion and familiar ivith less, for I bave done poorly by my commentators and critics. I am thankful indeed for so much recognition, however sharp may be thè divergence of views.

I am grateful to Dr. Bruschi for choosing to devote ber time and scholarly talents so unstintingly to this compilation, and to thè publisher for deeming a Quine bibliography suficiently useful to scholars to warrant a hook. That thè bus ile of scholarly activity about my writing'ì may continue is not only my pious hope, but evidently thè publisher's expectation and Dr. Bruschi's as well. Her exhaustive listings and meticulous synopses should encourage that activity, for they can spare thè scholar much searching of libraries and occasionai duplication of anticipated arguments, as well as suggesting new lines for progress or attack.

Harvard, 9 July 1984 W. V. QUINE

INTRODUCTION

This work is thè result of an interest born some years ago while writing my degree thesis under thè guidance of Professor Corrado Man­ gione of thè University of Milan.

The subject of thè thesis was thè examination of various aspects of thè thoughts of W. Van Orman Quine, an author into whom, to confimi that interest, I have since researched.





I had deeply examined several subjects and consequently extended my knowledge of discussion on this author with reference to various themes which he considers. Thus, I constructed thè working tools which have resulted, amongst other things, in thè collection of a highly impressive mass of bibliographic data.

This guide is thus proposed as a result of thè work done from thè starting point of thè need to bring together and organise thè output on Quine. It aims to offer a manageable instrument which gives multiple modes of access to thè relevant existing publications. This work is intended for ali those who are studying Quine, or, in a wider perspective, thè history of debate on thè philosophy of language in this century.

Whether one is interested in philosophy used also as an attempt to understand thè dynamics of scientific knowledge, or in logic, one cannot but be interested in Quine. It is appropriate to say that his contributions are universally well-known and their relevance it could be said enormous, even fifty years after thè publication of his first article.

His writings have given rise to a debate which, as this work documents, has involved up to present day schokrs from ali over thè world.

XVI INTRODUCTION

*** Born in Ohio in 1908. Quine took his degree in Mathematics (1930) and then attained a Ph. D. in Philosophy (1932) under thè guidance of A. N. Whitehead. He carne to Europe immediately afterwards and studied in Vienna, Warsaw (where he met Tarski, Lesniewski and Lukasiewicz and where he started his first hook A System of Logistic [1934]), and Prague.

Here he met R. Carnap, who was working on Logische Synfax.

With Carnap he started a warm friendship which was also an opportunity for study, and for discussion which delineated thè field of their long-term interest. Despite thè deep divisions which separated them, thè influence of Carnap makes him considered not only as Quine's teacher but also as, perhaps, thè most important interlocutor of Quine, even in later years.

We can define thus thè progress of Quine's research: mathematics and philosophy meet in thè criticai thought on thè scientific significance of logic, approached not only from its, let us say, technical aspects, but also from thè standpoint of thè ontological and gnoseological problems which are implied.

The contributions of Quine in thè field of logicai mathematics are widely recognised. With reference to set theory we are indebted to him for thè solution that, introducing specific restrictions in thè field of admissible entities to thè theory, is capable of overcoming thè disadvantages of thè Russell theory of types, avoiding thè problem of paradoxes.

On thè other hand his work represents a connection of thè neoempiricist epistemological European traditions and American pragmatism.

Thus, it becomes even more interesting in so far as it lends itself to throwing light on thè various distinctions assumed, in different cultural contexts, from a perspective in which thè analysis of language represents one of thè fundamental directions of research.

Quine's viewpoint, in addressing thè specific problem of language and its merming, finds common ground with thè attitude of Frege and Russell: note thè distinction between meaning and reference, thè theory of descriptions, and thè problem of thè existence of

Abstract

entities.

A fundamental factor in Quine's thought is thè confirmed tendency to strictly limit thè acknowledgement of abstract entities. From this is born thè need to do without meanings as they are considered in PiatoINTRODUCTION XVII nism or semantic mentalism — as ideai entities of a no more clearly specified nature, or as ideas and concepts in thè mind of a speaker.

Quine presents an elaborate theoretical framework, capable of explaining thè functioning of a language and its meaning from another point of vicw. The theory he presents interprets thè meaning of a word or an expression in terms of stimuli and of dispositions to provoke certain responses. In this theory, together with thè influence of Deweyan pragmatism one can identify thè need for a behaviourist analvsis of linguistic shuations. It follows that, since thè production of language is conditioned by an external factor — sensory stimuli —, we can use thè concept of meaning in an empirically acceptable way, only to thè extent to which it can be characterised in terms of disposition to behaviour.

The intention is to succeed in explaining, with thè aid of empirical semantics, ali thè various problematical areas on which philosophical thought on language has concentrated. The analysis of thè notions of synonymy and analyticity, for example, thè choice of language in which to explain thè results of scientific research and thè ontological extent of logicai discourse, to mention but a few.

Quine, although working within thè horizons of neoempiricism, subjected thè theories of this current to radicai revision. He demonstrated, for example, how thè key concepts of thè theory of meaning were definable only one in terms of thè other, thus forcing thè logicai positivists to clarify their ambiguous semantic formulations. One cannot but recognise thè value of having provoked discussion of concepts which, although fundamentally important to mainly contemporary epistemology, were often taken for granted or, anyway, were not examined with sufEcient thoroughness.

I think it interesting to trace out these points following thè development of Quine's research by way of a report, however brief, on some of his most important works.

In thè decade 1943-53 we find a considerable part of Quine's work relating to problems of thè philosophy of language.

Notes on Existence and Necessity appeared in 1943, On what there is in 1948, Semantics and Abstract Objects together with Two Dogmas in 1951. The collection of essays From a Logicai Point of View was published in 1953.

Quine accepts and confirms thè distinction adopted by Frege beXVIII INTRODUCTION

tween thè meaning and reference of words: « substantives can be used indesignatively without depriving them of meaning 1 ».

By freeing ourselves from thè view that thè meaning of a singular term presupposes an entity specified by that term, we resolve thè socalled tangle of ' Plato's beard '. Nonbeing must, in some way, be — otherwise what is it that there is not? If we say ' Pegasus is not ' thè nonbeing of Pegasus must, in some way, be. Therefore, one is forced to imagine an entity referred to as Pegasus. Quine's answer is that one needs to make a clear distinction between thè object denoted as Pegasus and thè meaning of thè word ' Pegasus ' : « a singular term need not name to be significant 2 ».



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