Some Remarks on Quine’s Criterion Cover Image
  • Price 2.00 €

Kilka uwag o kryterium Quine’a
Some Remarks on Quine’s Criterion

Author(s): Adam Olszewski, Bartosz Brożek
Subject(s): Philosophy
Published by: Uniwersytet Warszawski - Wydział Filozofii i Socjologii, Instytut Filozofii
Keywords: Quine; ontology; ontological commitment

Summary/Abstract: The aim of the paper is to evaluate the usefulness of W.V.O. Quine’s criterion for establishing the ontological commitments of a theory. At the outset, Quine’s conception is reconstructed. It is argued that Quine does not provide a particularly clear exposition of the procedure of establishing ontological commitments. It is further maintained that — on a persuasive interpretation — one should distinguish several concepts associated with Quine’s conception. These are: ontology, domain tolerated by an ontology, ontological commitments type 1 (categorical), ontological commitments type 2 (individual). Then, the procedure itself is reconstructed. It is argued that it consists of three stages: (1) the reduction of the analyzed theory to so-called basic existential propositions; (2) the paraphrase of the basic existential propositions into the formulae of the I order logic; (3) the reconstruction of the ontology presupposed by the given theory as well as of the ontological commitments type 1 and type 2. The final part of the paper contains three objections against Quine’s conception. It is argued, first, that it is impossible to reconstruct the ontology presupposed by the given theory as it requires that the same or a richer ontology is already in use. Second, Quine’s procedure is based on a vicious circle: one needs to know the ontological commitments in order to reconstruct them. Third, if one assumes that Quine’s procedure is applicable to uninterpreted theories, it is impossible to determine the domain of these theories. The conclusion of the paper is that Quine’s criterion seem useless.

  • Issue Year: 18/2010
  • Issue No: 1 (69)
  • Page Range: 5-15
  • Page Count: 11
  • Language: Polish