The Twilight of Empiricism

Charles Travis

in Objectivity and the Parochial

Published in print October 2010 | ISBN: 9780199596218
Published online January 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191595783 | DOI:
The Twilight of Empiricism

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What we experience of the world—for example, that pig on the lawn—does not bear logical relations to thoughts, or propositions. That pig on the lawn is not of the form of a proposition. Logical relations relate thoughts, or propositions, to one another. Quine thus correctly notes that one could, on no pain of contradiction, respond to any experience with any constellation of beliefs. He incorrectly takes this to mean that any constellation of beliefs could be consistent with one's having experienced what he did. Revision can come anywhere; if it does not, this merely reflects the ways of our people. This is a mistake, and in fact destroys the very possibility of judgement. Quine has given us no reason (even if, in fact, there is one) to think that any proposition may (not incorrectly) be held to have been falsified by experience. So goes the present argument.

Keywords: Quine; analyticity; experience; revision of belief

Chapter.  10135 words. 

Subjects: Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art

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