Developing countless sensational arguments filled with insight covering fields from epistemology to philosophy of language and science, Dr. Quine has created a new paradigm of philosophy for the second half of the 20th century.
＊This category then was Category of Creative Arts and Moral Sciences.
＊This field then was Field of Philosophy.
Methods of logic
Two Dogmas of Empiricism
From a logical point of view
Word and Object
Philosophy of logic
The roots of reference
A great analytic philosopher, Dr. Willard Van Orman Quine, has made outstanding contributions to the progress of philosophy in the 20th century by proposing numerous theories based on keen insights in logic, epistemology, philosophy of science and philosophy of language.
Dr. Quine’s first major achievements were in the fields of mathematical logic and set theory, in which he formally simplified B. Russell’s logical system. While actively engaging in theoretical exchanges with logical positivists in Europe, he fundamentally restructured their theories in the pragmatic tradition of American philosophy. As a result, he founded an original holistic philosophy, which can be characterized as radicalized empiricism.
Traditional empiricism holds that in testing a scientific hypothesis, an individual statement is compared with an empirical fact. Dr. Quine pointed out, instead, that in such testing, statements will be subject to comparison with experience as a collective whole (the Quine – Duhem Thesis). This holistic theory of knowledge overturned the dualistic epistemological assumption of the logical positivists, which distinguished “analytic statements” (such as the statements in mathematics and logic), in which truth is established independent of experience, from “synthetic statements” (empirical statements), in which truth is established only through experience. Because the distinction between the analytic and the synthetic was an assumption shared by the philosophy of rationalism as well as Kant’s critical philosophy, Dr. Quine’s attack on this distinction is tantamount to a fundamental criticism of traditional Western philosophy. In place of traditional epistemology, Dr. Quine proposed a new conception of philosophy as a theoretical undertaking that is inherently related to natural sciences (Naturalized Philosophy).
Furthermore, Dr. Quine pointed out that in translating between two mutually unrelated languages two or more translation manuals that are empirically, equally adequate but logically incompatible may exist (the Indeterminacy of Translation Thesis). This discovery in the philosophy of language has not only given rise to fundamental questions regarding the meaning of words and the reference to objects but has also served to provide a logical basis for discussing a wide range of issues, such as cultural relativity and mutual comprehension of different world views.
The achievements of Dr. Willard Van Orman Quine, supported by his rigorous logical analysis, have contributed greatly to revitalizing and deepening the discussion of the fundamental problems of philosophy. It is impossible to discuss contemporary philosophy without mentioning Dr. Quine’s achievements. For these reasons, the Inamori Foundation is pleased to bestow upon Dr. Willard Van Orman Quine the 1996 Kyoto Prize in Creative Arts and Moral Sciences.
A childhood interest in maps fostered my taste for structure and precision as well as curiosity about the world. Aptitude for mathematics emerged, and a leaning toward language and philosophy. In college I majored in mathematics with honors reading in mathematical logic. This subject was offbeat in America, but later gained glory through G?del’s theorem and computer theory. I revealed in the rigor and economy of Whitehead and Russell’s reduction of mathematics to a few symbols of logic and set theory. I even enhanced it, as had Tarski and G?del.
Besides reducing concepts by definitions, Whitehead and Russell reduced theory to axioms. Contradiction then threatened, in Russell’s paradox of the class of all non-self-members. His solution involved complicating the grammar and infinitely reduplicating the objects of mathematics. I freed his solution from these drawbacks. This strengthened the system, again threatening contradiction. None has been found.
The paradoxes and G?del’s theorem reveal the power of classes, in contrast to elementary logic. It is misleading to say mathematics reduces to logic. Say to logic and set theory.
Some balk at assuming classes and other abstract objects. But what does assuming an object consist in? Not in direct specification, but in repeated reference to an unspecified object of a specified sort. This lends structure to science. Science needs classes but no properties or meanings. These are in trouble over identity and difference.
As my logico-mathematical concerns rounded off in middle life, my attention turned more to the philosophy of natural science. But tidy parsimony is a beacon for natural science as well, and for its philosophy.