Author: Davidson, Donald
Source: Grazer Philosophische Studien, Fifty Years of Quine's Two Dogmas. Edited by Hans-Johann Glock, Kathrin Glür, and Geert Keil , pp. 281-297(17)
Abstract:In this paper, I credit Quine with having implicitly held a view I had long urged on him: externalism. Quine was the first fully to recognize that all there is to meaning is what we learn or absorb from observed usage. This entails the possibility of indeterminacy, thus destroying the myth of meanings. It also entails a powerful form of externalism. There is, of course, a counter-current in Quine's work of the mid century: the idea of stimulus meaning. Attractive as this choice of empirical base is compared to such options as sense data, appearances, and percepts, it has serious difficulties. In general, an externalism which ties the contents of observation sentences and perceptual beliefs directly to the sorts of situations that usually make them true is superior to those forms of empiricism which introduce intermediaries between word and object.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: 2003-07-01