Authors — Q

Quotations by Willard Van Orman Quine

Creatures inveterately wrong in their inductions have a pathetic but praiseworthy tendency to die before reproducing their kind.

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Ontological Relativity and Other Essays, “Natural Kinds”, p. 126, 1969

I have been accused of denying consciousness but I am not conscious of having done so.

Just as the introduction of the irrational numbers … is a convenient myth [which] simplifies the laws of arithmetic … so physical objects are postulated entities which round out and simplify our account of the flux of existence…. The conceptional scheme of physical objects is [likewise] a convenient myth, simpler than the literal truth and yet containing that literal truth as a scattered part.

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Quoted by J. Koenderink — Solid Shape, Cambridge, MA, 1990

Life is algid, life is fulgid. Life is what the least of us make most of us feel the least of us make the most of. Life is a burgeoning, a quickening of the dim primordial urge in the murky wastes of time.

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Quoted by R. Hersh — What Is Mathematics, Really?, 1997

Nonbeing must in some sense be, otherwise what is it that there is not? This tangled doctrine might be nicknamed Plato’s beard; historically it has proved tough, frequently dulling the edge of Occam’s razor.

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From a Logical Point of View: Nine Logico-Philosophical Essays, “On What There Is”, 1953

Our argument is not flatly circular, but something like it. It has the form, figuratively speaking, of a closed curve in space.

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From a Logical Point of View: Nine Logico-Philosophical Essays, “Two Dogmas of Empiricism”, p. 26, 1988

The Humean predicament is the human predicament.

The lore of our fathers is a fabric of sentences. A pale gray lore, black with fact and white with convention.

The word ‘definition’ has come to have a dangerously reassuring sound, owing no doubt to its frequent occurrence in logical and mathematical writings.

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From a Logical Point of View: Nine Logico-Philosophical Essays, “Two Dogmas of Empiricism”, p. 26, 1988

To be is to be the value of a bound variable.

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On What There Is, 1948