Quine duhem thesis stanford

His father, Pierre-Joseph Duhem, was of Flemish origin, the oldest child of a large family who lived in the French northern industrial city of Roubaix, near the Belgian border. After the death of his parents, Pierre-Joseph was forced to discontinue his studies with the Jesuits in order to provide for the family. He worked in the textile industry as a sales representative, but never abandoned his love of learning; it is said that, late in life, he was seen everywhere with the work of a Latin author under his arm. The Duhems made sure that Pierre was well educated.

Quine duhem thesis stanford

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His father, Cloyd Robert, [16] was a manufacturing entrepreneur founder of the Akron Equipment Company, which produced tire molds [17] and his mother, Harriett E.

His thesis supervisor was Alfred North Whitehead. He was then appointed a Harvard Junior Fellowwhich Quine duhem thesis stanford him from having to teach for four years.

During the academic year —33, he travelled in Europe thanks to a Sheldon fellowship, meeting Polish logicians including Stanislaw Lesniewski and Alfred Tarski and members of the Vienna Circle including Rudolf Carnapas well as the logical positivist A.

Tarski survived the war and worked another 44 years in the US. During World War II, Quine lectured on logic in Brazil, in Portuguese, and served in the United States Navy in a military intelligence role, deciphering messages from German submarines, and reaching the rank of lieutenant commander.

For the academic year —, Quine was a fellow on the faculty in the Center for Advanced Studies at Wesleyan University. The deterioration of his short-term memory was so severe that he struggled to continue following arguments. Quine also had considerable difficulty in his project to make the desired revisions to Word and Object.

Before passing away, Quine noted to Morton White, "I do not remember what my illness is called, Althusser or Alzheimer, but since I cannot remember it, it must be Alzheimer. An Intermittently Philosophical Dictionary, he wrote a defense of moral censorship ; [23] while, in his autobiography, he made some criticisms of Quine duhem thesis stanford postwar academic culture.

Only after World War II did he, by virtue of seminal papers on ontologyepistemology and language, emerge as a major philosopher. By the s, he had worked out his "naturalized epistemology" whose aim was to answer all substantive questions of knowledge and meaning using the methods and tools of the natural sciences.

Quine roundly rejected the notion that there should be a "first philosophy", a theoretical standpoint somehow prior to natural science and capable of justifying it. These views are intrinsic to his naturalism.

Like the logical positivists, Quine evinced little interest in the philosophical canon: Two Dogmas of Empiricism In the s and 40s, discussions with Rudolf CarnapNelson Goodman and Alfred Tarskiamong others, led Quine to doubt the tenability of the distinction between "analytic" statements—those true simply by the meanings of their words, such as "All bachelors are unmarried"—and "synthetic" statements, those true or false by virtue of facts about the world, such as "There is a cat on the mat.

Quine duhem thesis stanford

Although Quine is not normally associated with verificationismsome philosophers believe the tenet is not incompatible with his general philosophy of language, citing his Harvard colleague B.

Skinner and his analysis of language in Verbal Behavior. Unlike them, however, he concluded that ultimately the definition was circular.

In other words, Quine accepted that analytic statements are those that are true by definition, then argued that the notion of truth by definition was unsatisfactory. Quine's chief objection to analyticity is with the notion of synonymy sameness of meaninga sentence being analytic, just in case it substitutes a synonym for one "black" in a proposition like "All black things are black" or any other logical truth.

The objection to synonymy hinges upon the problem of collateral information. We intuitively feel that there is a distinction between "All unmarried men are bachelors" and "There have been black dogs", but a competent English speaker will assent to both sentences under all conditions since such speakers also have access to collateral information bearing on the historical existence of black dogs.

Quine maintains that there is no distinction between universally known collateral information and conceptual or analytic truths. Another approach to Quine's objection to analyticity and synonymy emerges from the modal notion of logical possibility.

A traditional Wittgensteinian view of meaning held that each meaningful sentence was associated with a region in the space of possible worlds.

Confirmation holism and ontological relativity[ edit ] The central theses underlying the indeterminacy of translation and other extensions of Quine's work are ontological relativity and the related doctrine of confirmation holism.

The premise of confirmation holism is that all theories and the propositions derived from them are under-determined by empirical data data, sensory-data, evidence ; although some theories are not justifiable, failing to fit with the data or being unworkably complex, there are many equally justifiable alternatives.

While the Greeks' assumption that unobservable Homeric gods exist is false, and our supposition of unobservable electromagnetic waves is true, both are to be justified solely by their ability to explain our observations. Quine concluded his " Two Dogmas of Empiricism " as follows: As an empiricist I continue to think of the conceptual scheme of science as a tool, ultimately, for predicting future experience in the light of past experience.

Physical objects are conceptually imported into the situation as convenient intermediaries not by definition in terms of experience, but simply as irreducible posits comparable, epistemologically, to the gods of Homer.

For my part I do, qua lay physicist, believe in physical objects and not in Homer's gods; and I consider it a scientific error to believe otherwise. But in point of epistemological footing, the physical objects and the gods differ only in degree and not in kind.

Both sorts of entities enter our conceptions only as cultural posits. Quine's ontological relativism evident in the passage above led him to agree with Pierre Duhem that for any collection of empirical evidencethere would always be many theories able to account for it. However, Duhem's holism is much more restricted and limited than Quine's.

For Duhem, underdetermination applies only to physics or possibly to natural sciencewhile for Quine it applies to all of human knowledge. Thus, while it is possible to verify or falsify whole theories, it is not possible to verify or falsify individual statements.

Almost any particular statement can be saved, given sufficiently radical modifications of the containing theory. For Quine, scientific thought forms a coherent web in which any part could be altered in the light of empirical evidence, and in which no empirical evidence could force the revision of a given part.The Quine-Duhem thesis is a form of the thesis of the underdetermination of theory by empirical evidence.

The basic problem is that individual theoretical claims are unable to be confirmed or falsified on their own, in isolation from surrounding hypotheses.

Quine Duhem Thesis Stanford. Underdetermination of Scientific Theory (Stanford At the heart of the underdetermination of scientific theory by evidence is the simple.

1. A First Look: Duhem, Quine, and the Problems of Underdetermination.

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The scope of the epistemic challenge arising from underdetermination is not limited only to scientific contexts, as is perhaps most readily seen in classical skeptical attacks on our knowledge more generally. Pierre Duhem (–) was a French physicist and historian and philosopher of science. As a physicist, he championed “energetics,” holding generalized thermodynamics as foundational for physical theory, that is, thinking that all of chemistry and physics, including mechanics, electricity, and magnetism, should be derivable from thermodynamic first principles.

The Duhem–Quine thesis, also called the Duhem–Quine problem, after Pierre Duhem and Willard Van Orman Quine, is that it is impossible to test a scientific hypothesis in isolation, because an empirical test of the hypothesis requires one or more background assumptions (also called auxiliary assumptions or auxiliary hypotheses).

Aug 26,  · Gillies The Duhem Thesis And The Quine Thesis Duhem-Quine thesis – Wikipedia The Duhem-Quine thesis, This paper is extracted from Donald Gillies Philosophy of Science in the Twentieth Century (Oxford: Blackwell Publishers, ).

Willard Van Orman Quine - Wikipedia