Review of WILLARD QUINE, Philosophy of logic, Harvard, 1970/1986. [Book Review]

Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 39:37-39 (1972)
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This book is best regarded as a concise essay developing the personal views of a major philosopher of logic and as such it is to be welcomed by scholars in the field. It is not (and does not purport to be) a treatment of a significant portion of those philosophical problems generally thought to be germane to logic. It would be easy to list many popular topics in philosophy of logic which it does not mention. Even its "definition" of logic-"the systematic study of logical truth"-is peculiar to the author and would be regarded as inappropriately restrictive by many logicians There are several standard ways of defining truth using sequences. Quine’s discussions in the 1970 first printing of Philosophy of logic and in previous lectures were vitiated by mixing two. Quine’s logical Two-Method Error, which eluded Quine’s colleagues, was corrected in the 1978 sixth printing. But Quine never explicitly acknowledged, described, or even mentioned the error in print although in correspondence he did thank Corcoran for bringing it to his attention. In regard to style one may note that the book is rich in metaphorical and sometimes even cryptic passages one of the more remarkable of which occurs in the Preface and seems to imply that deductive logic does not warrant distinctive philosophical treatment. Moreover, the author's sesquipedalian performances sometimes subvert perspicuity.

Author's Profile

John Corcoran
PhD: Johns Hopkins University; Last affiliation: University at Buffalo


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