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Theories and Things Paperback

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Theories and Things + Pursuit of Truth: Revised Edition + Ontological Relativity & Other Essays
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 232 pages
  • Publisher: Belknap Press (January 31, 1986)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0674879260
  • ISBN-13: 978-0674879263
  • Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 5.6 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,080,130 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


This is a book to be savored, with a little something for a surprisingly wide variety of tastes. Here is Quine on the marvels of The Times Atlas, the virtues and vices of Mencken's The American Language, the mixed blessings that result from flush times for academia, and the bleariness of Mortimer Adler's vision of philosophy. Of course, Quine's more familiar concerns are also represented, with most of the book's twenty-six essays being devoted to various aspects of ontology, epistemology, semantics, and logic...Together they make a wonderful selection of fine, sparkling Quine. (Ethics)

The elegance, economy, wit and precision of his writing are among the chief glories of modern philosophy. Never have asceticism of method and austerity of vision been so glitteringly displayed...By virtue of intellectual power, range and fertility of ideas and brilliance of presentation, Quine is the most distinguished and influential of living philosophers...To all philosophers...this volume will be a source of intense intellectual pleasure. (P. F. Strawson London Review of Books)

About the Author

W. V. Quine was Edgar Pierce Professor of Philosophy, Harvard University. He wrote twenty-one books, thirteen of them published by Harvard University Press.

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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Thomas J. Hickey on May 21, 2005
Format: Paperback
Harvard University's Willard Van Orman Quine is easily described as one of the most articulate developers of the contemporary pragmatist philosophy of language, which reigns in academic philosophy today. A large secondary literature has appeared describing Quine's philosophy.

But this small book is especially valuable, because it contains "Five Milestones in Empiricism", which is an excellent thumbnail summary of Quine's philosophy in his own words, and can serve as a good framework for exploring his large literary corpus.

For more on my views about Quine see my book titled History of Twentieth-Century Philosophy of Science or Google my web site called philsci for free downloads of the book by chapter - and also read my other reviews at this Amazon site.

Thomas J. Hickey
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9 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Brian Marasca on April 4, 2000
Format: Paperback
The grand old man of modern-day empricism, Willard van Owen Quine, puts to rest any lingering doubts about whether reality is an indexical in what is yet another example of his fluid prose and unmatched ability to dissect the most profound of questions without spilling his Martini (in fact, Quine gives an excellent recipe for Martinis in this book, but I have to admit, his recommendation for adding "a dash of Ketalar" seems a bit much for me). Quine wants to wipe away persistant skepticism about empiricism with a Bounty paper towel, but this just doesn't wash, and he is left admitting that he's just sick of the whole debate and would rather talk about why we are talking about things, as if there were anything else to talk about. For those who loved _Persuit of Truth_, this book will be nothing to write home about, but for those who rated it up there with Korzybyski's General Semantics, some postage might be in order. In any case, budding philosophers are urged to cut their teeth on something more comprehensible, like Heidegger's _Being and Time_, before moving up to this, lest they wind up searching for clues about ultimate reality in the patterns in bowls of coleslaw. All in all, vaguely recommended.
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