Quine, Predication, and the Categories of Being

Heikki J. Koskinen

in Categories of Being

Published in print July 2012 | ISBN: 9780199890576
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199980031 | DOI:
Quine, Predication, and the Categories of Being

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The chapter argues that although there are plausible historical reasons for perceiving Quine as a rehabilitator of metaphysics, too much of his thought remains anchored in language and logic to sustain serious ambitions in the study of the categories of being. In his philosophical interpretation of his logical framework, Quine is seen to remove ontological responsibility first from the predicates and then from the names of his formal language, leaving at this stage the bound variables of quantification as the only referential links between words and objects. Even this last connection between language and world is severed as Quine brings in his structuralistic views. Objects become mere neutral nodes in the logical structure of our theory, and reference, reification and ontology are no longer seen as a goal of science. Quine tries to reconcile this with his ‘robust realism’, but the coherence of the attempt can be questioned.

Keywords: Quine; ontology; predication; objects; properties; metaphysics; robust realism

Chapter.  10475 words. 

Subjects: Metaphysics

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