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Metaphilosophy of W.V.O. Quine

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According to Quine, the way the term 'philosophy' is usually used does not delimit philosophy as a relatively homogeneous and cohesive domain of inquiry. In fact, any piece of inquiry which does not belong to some mature branch of science is readily classified as 'philosophical'. However, there is a way in which philosophy can be conceived that makes it continuous with science as its branch, in which the methods, language and tasks of science are studied. Such concept of philosophy found Quine's approval. His own contribution to philosophy consists in: disproving of some dogmas of the earlier stages of empiricism (concerning the concept of empirical content and analytic-synthetic distinction), recognizing the nature of the fundamental problem of ontology (as decided in the frame of a given theory by stipulating a set of quantified variables), and 'naturalizing' epistemology (by the thesis that the main tasks of epistemology are empirical ones and belong to cognitive psychology). But it seems questionable to assume that Quine's reluctance to develop philosophy as a normative or aprioristic discipline led him to adopt a pragmatic point of view.
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  • B. Stanosz, ul. Warynskiego 6 m 75, 00-631 Warszawa, Poland
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