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Willard Van Orman Quine Quotes

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Willard Van Orman Quine
June 25, 1908 - December 25, 2000

Language is a social art.


Uncritical semantics is the myth of a museum in which the exhibits are meanings and the words are labels. To switch languages is to change the labels.


Confusion of sign and object is original sin coeval with the word.


'Ouch' is not independent of social training. One has only to prick a foreigner to appreciate that it is an English word.


Language is conceived in sin and science is its redemption.


The familiar material objects may not be all that is real, but they are admirable examples.


It is one of the consolations of philosophy that the benefit of showing how to dispense with a concept does not hinge on dispensing with it.


One man's observation is another man's closed book or flight of fancy.


We do not learn first what to talk about and then what to say about it.


Physics investigates the essential nature of the world, and biology describes a local bump. Psychology, human psychology, describes a bump on the bump.


To be is to be the value of a variable.


Meaning is what essence becomes when it is divorced from the object of reference and wedded to the word.


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