Category Archives: Quine

Linguistics and Philosophy

“The behaviorist is knowingly & cheerfully up to his neck in innate mechanisms of learning-readiness. The very reinforcement and extinction of responses, so central to behaviorism, depends on prior inequalities in the subject’s qualitative spacing, so to speak, of stimulations….” W. Quine in Linguistics & Philosophy as quoted in “The Cambridge companion to Quine, Cambridge University Press 2004, p. 190.

“Science settles for partial criteria and for partial explanation in terms of other partially explained notions.” W. Quine in Comment on Parsons, ibid, p.191.

[Re-posted from The Old Site, original dd. 09-03-2008. The original noted at the end (to be redone) & I will have done my best but as I am too tired to even consider posting anything original: so probably again to no avail. In other words: there’s some seriously heavy, and mainly long, stuff ahead!]

Science is becoming suspect. Again. Behaviorism is worse than suspect. It is itself already for a long time under attack, even from within science. ‘There just has to be more than what can be detected on the surface’  one can almost hear the post-post-modern people thinking. Behaviorism is criminal. There just has to be another valid point of view; one that allows for some  real depth.

Forget it!

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Nothing is true, some things are false

No quote but merely something I once thought (and still kind of think). It has the virtue of expressing the fundamental asymmetry of things. One could also say it expresses something some people would term the ‘directionality’ of life. But that will require some ‘teasing out’, as those same people that would use such terminology would say.

But before any of that: yes, I believe firmly that the title statement above is unequivocally true. Go on and make fun of me – as ‘the great many’ did when I uttered this proposition on the internet somewhat more than a decade ago. It is not just a matter that I believe it is true but also that I believe there is no contradiction – not even a paradox – in proporing this title sentence and believing it is true.

Never mind the ego-centrosm of this last paragraph though, let us examine what the proposition can show us who have enough of an open mind not to require of the utterer of an apparent contradictio in terminis that she is famous in order to take both the utterer and the utterance seriously:

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