Language and Experience
Quine’s critique of empiricism consists of his critique of what he calls ‘the two dogmas of empiricism’. We have considered his critique of ‘the first dogma’, namely the distinction between necessary and contingent truths, and we found that it is no dogma, i.e. that this distinction is not spurious. Furthermore it is not the exclusive property of empiricism. What is so is the analytic view of necessary truths. For that view implies the rejection of the possibility of de re necessities and of any a priori knowledge of nature. Such a possibility is clearly incompatible with empiricism, and empiricism is right to want to reject it. But what it puts in its place is inadequate. So Quine is right to criticise it. However he, in his turn, is wrong to reject the distinction between necessary and contingent truths as spurious.
KeywordsPhysical Object Conceptual Scheme Sense Experience Background Language Logical Positivist
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