Quine and the revival of metaphysics

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

6 Scopus citations


Alan Weir: Quine’s Naturalism: Starting with the distinction between epistemological and ontological naturalism, this chapter focuses most on Quine’s epistemological naturalism, not the ontological anti-naturalism he thought it leads to. It is argued that naturalized epistemology is not central to Quine’s epistemology. Quine’s key epistemological principle is: follow the methods of science, and only those. Can Quine demarcate scientific methods from non-scientific ones? The problems which have been raised here, for example in the case of mathematics, are considered. A main theme is the relationship between Quine’s naturalism and reductionist forms of “scientistic” naturalism. Quine is generally taken to be an anti-reductionist, unsurprisingly given his explicit anti-reductionist pronouncements from “Two Dogmas” onward. It is argued that the situation is more complex than this and that key Quinean arguments are driven by a positivistic reductionism he never entirely broke free from.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationA Companion to W. V. O. Quine
Number of pages19
ISBN (Electronic)9781118607992
ISBN (Print)9780470672105
StatePublished - Jan 1 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Arts and Humanities


  • Ideological parsimony
  • Metaphysics
  • Modal realism
  • Ontic decision
  • Ontological parsimony
  • Quinean metaphysics
  • Reification


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