Analyzing Quine 's Thesis On The Nature Of The World

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Things and their Place in Theories

This paper discusses Quine’s thesis on the nature of our ideas and how they are used in order to make sense of the world, and decide what can be said to be reality.
Quine begins his paper by discussing our knowledge of external things and how we can come to know what we know. On page two of Things and their Place in Theories, Quine states, “there is nothing we can be more confident of than external things,” meaning that the pieces of knowledge we can be most sure of are things that are discovered a posteriori, after sufficient empirical evidence is gathered. This quote shows that Quine denies the notion of foundationalism and believes that there is no piece of knowledge that can be said to be a base for all other knowledge. Instead of having a foundationalist view on the world, Quine believes in naturalism.
Quine reveals that he has a naturalistic “unswerving belief in external things, [like] people, nerve endings, sticks, stones,” (Quine, ‘Things…’ p. 21) and he says that the identification and description of all things external to us is to be found in science itself, and not in some prior philosophy (Quine, ‘Things…’ p. 21). His view on nature supports Professor Smith’s statement that the world is something that is made through empirical knowledge, and not an already existing entity that is discovered. Quine says, “Scientists and philosophers seek a comprehensive system of the world,” (Quine, ‘Things…’ p. 9) and the way to do this is

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