Endolegomena: From Ostension to Quantification

  • W. V. QuineEmail author
Part of the History of Analytic Philosophy book series (History of Analytic Philosophy)


In this second lecture, Quine provides a further rational reconstruction of human progress from sensory stimulation to our current scientific theory. This project consists in his further speculations concerning how we have acquired cognitive language. Here, Quine talks of observation sentences and explains how he thinks they can be learned by ostension. This leads him to further speculate concerning how we could master standing sentences, predication and the use of relative clauses. At this stage the language learner has acquired a grammar that is equivalent to first order predicate calculus, which Quine famously advocates as the canonical framework for the language of science. He elaborates on the nature of objective reference, emphasizing that this appears with the predication of general terms since only then are things separated from the terms that name them.


Objects Observation Ostension Reference 


  1. Quine, W.V. 1974. The Roots of Reference. Chicago: Open Court.Google Scholar
  2. Strawson, Peter. 1959. Individuals. London: Methuen.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Harvard UniversityCambridgeUSA

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