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Ontological Relativity & Other Essays Paperback – November 22, 1969

ISBN-13: 978-0231083577 ISBN-10: 0231083572

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 165 pages
  • Publisher: Columbia University Press (November 22, 1969)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0231083572
  • ISBN-13: 978-0231083577
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 5.2 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #809,267 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By gary c gibson on September 10, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
They don't make books like this any more. Seriously though, this compilation of lecture essays by the late philosopher W.V.O. Quine is brilliant and succinct placing the meta-parameters of the logic of language and ideas expressed with language into a context illuminating for philosophical effort in fields as diverse as the philosophy of language, philosophy of logic, epistemology, social philosophy and even metaphysics.
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6 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Kiel N. Moreland on July 7, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
W.V.O. Quine is one of the most influential philosophers of our modern times. The tide of philosophical history was ever changed by Quine's philosophies, particularly with the philosophies that he espoused after the fall of Logical Positivism.
"Ontological Relativity & Other Essays" is a collection that recapitulates the major philosophical themes that have come to be known as Quinean philosophy. From the two dogmas of empiricism, ontological relativity, radical translation, holism, and indeterminacy of translation, all of these issues are themes in this collection of essays. These essays discuss some of the core ideals of Quine, ideals that are central to understanding Quinean philosophy.
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21 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Thomas J. Hickey on May 21, 2005
Format: Paperback
The essay "Ontological Relativity" is the most significant of the six essays in this short book bearing the same title. Few ideas are as central to the contemporary pragmatist philosophy of science. Basically the outcome of the thesis of ontological relativity together with Quine's rejection of all prior metaphysics is that scientific criticism may never use any prior ontological criteria relative to empirical testing. This has special significance in social and behavioral science, where positivists such as behaviorists emphatically exclude all mentalistic ontologies, while romanticists such as sociologists and neoclassical economists just as emphatically require them. Unfortunately Quine is not altogether faithful to his ontological relativity thesis, since he is a behaviorist. Perhaps had he been less faithful to the notational conventions of the Russellian predicate calculus, he would not have required quantification of predicates to admit the reality of mental experiences, and thus would not have been reduced to referring to them as "mental entities", as thought they are little marbles inside the skull. One hesitates to say that when Quine decided to reject mentalism a priori, he lost his marbles. In fact ontological relativity does not imply behaviorism, but actually proscribes it as a prior criterion for empirical research, while permitting it a posteriori. Like the physicist's p-branes of string theory, mental constructs, such as cognitive psychologists postulate with their computer systems, are posits to be patronized on the basis of their promissory or redeemed cash value in the empirical test. The history of scientific progress fully vindicates ontological relativity. And the behavioral and social scientists' failure to recognize it goes far toward explaining the retarded condition of their sciences. Visit my web site philsci.

Thomas J. Hickey
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11 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Ferdino on June 26, 2005
Format: Hardcover
A wonderful book, although I believe the title of the book (at least that of its main essay) does not accurately describe the content of Quine's argument. Without providing any basis for such a step, Quine equates ontology with a study of the implications of the meta-language. True, language is a crucial part of how we form our conception of the world, but to assume that there is nothing (or very little) else to the foundational possibility of such a conception is to be too dismissive of what Fichte argued, with a set of very strong arguments, to be the main problem of philosophy: does the human mind's propensity to ascribe objective existence to the putative referents of its own ideas (and words) represent an illusion or a truthful induction?
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