Quine and the Web of Belief

Michael D. Resnik

in The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Mathematics and Logic

Published in print June 2007 | ISBN: 9780195325928
Published online September 2009 | e-ISBN: 9780199892082 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

Quine and the Web of Belief

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  • Epistemology
  • Philosophy of Mathematics and Logic
  • Philosophy of Science


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This article focuses on Quine's positive views and their bearing on the philosophy of mathematics. It begins with his views concerning the relationship between scientific theories and experiential evidence (his holism), and relate these to his views on the evidence for the existence of objects (his criterion of ontological commitment, his naturalism, and his indispensability arguments). This sets the stage for discussing his theories concerning the genesis of our beliefs about objects (his postulationalism) and the nature of reference to objects (his ontological relativity). Quine's writings usually concerned theories and their objects generally, but they contain a powerful and systematic philosophy of mathematics, and the article aims to bring this into focus.

Keywords: philosophy of mathematics; Quine; scientific theories; experiential evidence; ontological commitment; postulationalism

Article.  11554 words. 

Subjects: Epistemology ; Philosophy of Mathematics and Logic ; Philosophy of Science

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