Quine Writes 's Two Dogmas Of Empiricism

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Elisabeth Daigle Massey Contemporary Philosophy 8 December 2015 Contemp. PHL Paper Draft Quine writes “Two Dogmas of Empiricism” critiquing two parts of empiricism separate from the rest of what empiricism entails. These two dogmas are: a) there is a principled distinction between analytic and synthetic propositions, and b) reductionism is true. Quine also explains undetermination and its uses. His application is that anyone can believe anything if they are willing to let go of some background knowledge which could refute it. Commonly said as, believe x, come what may. Laudan has set out to demystify underdetermination because Quine’s use has been oversimplified and misused by many. It will be helpful to first define dogmas, reductionism…show more content…
One of the dogmas that Quine addresses is “reductionism.” Reductionism refers to the empiricist claim that the meaning of a proposition is its verification conditions. The belief that each statement is equivalent to some logical construct upon terms which refer to immediate experience, observations. Underdetermination is the thesis explaining that for any scientifically based theory there will always be at least one rival theory that is also supported by the evidence given, and that that theory can also be logically maintained in the face of any new evidence. This theory allows for conflicting things to coexist, they might be consistent by they are not necessarily rational. The Quine-Duhem thesis involves the idea that a “physicist can never subject an isolated hypothesis to experimental tests, but only a whole group of hypotheses.” This is to say that when an experiment is conducted and fails, the conductor cannot say I will test “x” and prove that “it was x that was in disagreement” because all he knows is that at least one variable, one hypotheses, in the group is unacceptable and therefore must be changed. The experiment does not flag the culprit, the reason the whole failed. Instead the entire hypothesis is put into question and can, in it’s entirety be tried again. This would seem to be analogous, though on its face it is not clearly analogous, to all theories and hypotheses, not just
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