Cover image for Pursuit of truth
Pursuit of truth
Quine, W. V. (Willard Van Orman)
Publication Information:
Cambridge, Mass. : Harvard University Press, 1990.
Physical Description:
x, 113 pages ; 22 cm
General Note:
Includes index.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
B945.Q53 P87 1990 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



Discusses cognitive meaning, objective reference, the grounds of knowledge, observation, and language.

Reviews 2

Library Journal Review

Quine, retired now from Harvard, here undertakes to summarize and clarify his current--largely unchanged--philosophic views. The chapters deal with ``evidence,'' ``objective reference,'' ``cognitive meaning,'' ``intension,'' and ``truth'' as the grounds of knowledge. These concepts are approached from the empiricist orientation that we must acknowledge the existence of the external world as revealed in sensory data and that there is no firmer foundation for scientific certainty than the scientific method. Believing firmly that ``there is nothing in the mind that was not first in the senses,'' Quine calls his position a ``naturalized epistemology.'' To be appreciated, this work requires extensive familiarity with philosophical issues and with Quine's prior writings. For academic collections.--Leon H. Brody, U.S. Office of Personnel Management Lib., Washington, D.C. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

With his usual wit and aplomb, Quine offers here his latest--though one hopes and expects not his last--word on a variety of intersecting topics that have figured centrally in his life's work: evidence, observation, stimulation, and empirical content; reference, reification, and ontological relativity; meaning, synonymy, and the indeterminacy of translation; the intentionality of modal and propositional attitude contexts; and truth, empirical equivalence, and the underdetermination of scientific theories. The book offers not only a lucid and compelling summary of Quine's views, but also provides invaluable clarifications, reformulations, and substantive updating. Especially noteworthy: his discussion of stimulation, intersubjectivity, and observation sentences; his clarificatory remarks on the relationship between and consequences of the indeterminacies of translation and of reference; and his (vexingly condensed) discussion of empirically equivalent theories and their claims on truth. Capable of serving as a concise introduction to Quine's views, this book will also prove invaluable in more sophisticated efforts to understand and appraise his accomplishments. An absolute, unequivocal must for any academic library. -W. Taschek, University of Michigan

Table of Contents

Part 1 Evidence
1 Stimulation and prediction
2 Observation sentences
3 Theory-laden?
4 Observation categoricals
5 Test and refutation
6 Holism
7 Empirical content
8 Norms and aims
Part 2 Reference
9 Bodies
10 Values of variables
11 Utility of reification
12 Indifference of ontology
13 Ontology defused
Part 3 Meaning
14 The field linguist's entering wedge
15 Stimulation again
16 To each his own
17 Translation resumed
18 Indeterminacy of translation
19 Syntax
20 Indeterminacy of reference
21 Whither meanings?
22 Domestic meaning
23 Lexicography
Part 4 Intension
24 Perception and observation sentences
25 Perception extended
26 Perception of things
27 Belief and perception
28 Propositional attitudes
29 Anomalous monism
30 Modalities
31 A mentalistic heritage
Part 5 Truth
32 Vehicles of truth
33 Truth as disquotation
34 Paradox
35 Tarski's construction
36 Paradox skirted
37 Interlocked hierarchies
38 Excluded middle
39 Truth versus warranted belief
40 Truth in mathematics
41 Equivalent theories
42 Irresoluble rivalry
43 Two indeterminacies