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Willard Van Orman Quine Guest Book Volume 4

Willard van Orman Quine - Guest Book Volume 4. Each guest book item includes initials of the sender, the date of the message, the message text, and a summary of my response (if any) to the writer in bold text. You may link back to my home page or to any of the sites in my Family Web Site Ring:


Boynton and Quine Family web pages by DBQ

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Willard Van Orman Quine Guest Books

  • W V Quine Guestbook Volume 1 (June 9, 1996 - September 30 1999)
  • W V Quine Guestbook Volume 2 (October 1 1999 to February 21 2000)
  • W V Quine Guestbook Volume 3 (February 22, 2000 to June 20 2003)
  • W V Quine Guestbook Volume 4 (June 21, 2003 to present)
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    Willard Van Orman Quine Guest Book Volume 4
    June 21, 2003 - present

    1. [WVQ] July 18, 2003 "Robert Moses - W. V. Quine connection?" Dear Dr. Moses, One of your fans recently wrote to me asking why I had not listed you as a student of W. V. Quine at the W. V. Quine web site: www.wvquine.org. As my father died several years ago, I can't ask him. You can see the entries for many other former students at the web site. Best regards - and keep up the good work. Best regards - Doug, Douglas B. Quine, Ph.D. (webmaster: wvquine.org)

    2. [WVQ] July 31, 2003 "Robert Moses - W. V. Quine connection? Yes!" I just spoke with Bob Moses. Bob took Prof. W.V.O. Quine's "Math 280," on Mathematical Logic, in the Fall semester of 1957 at Harvard University. Also, Bob refers to Prof. Quine several times in his book, written with Charles E. Cobb, Jr. and published in 2001, entitled, Radical Equations-Civil Rights from Mississippi to the Algebra Project. Boston: Beacon Press.Dr. Quine's research has informed Bob Moses' work with the Algebra Project in critical ways. Sincerely, Ben Moynihan
      Benjamin Moynihan, M.Ed., Coordinator of National Initiatives, Algebra Project Inc., 99 Bishop Allen Drive, Cambridge, MA 02139, Internet: http://www.algebra.org

    3. [WVQ] August 7, 2003 "Hi Douglas, an interesting news item is out... on time" I read this and instantly started thinking about what your father would say about this (he'd probably cheer this Lynds fellow on): http://www.msnbc.com/news/949048.asp?0dm=T18PT:

      Theory of time rattles halls of science: Some physicists doubt publication from college dropout
      By Robert Roy Britt, SPACE.COM Aug. 6, 2003 — A radical new theory of time and motion has some of the world’s physicists doubting the claim while others laud the 27-year-old college dropout who came up with it, an unknown big thinker named Peter Lynds.


      Regards, Chris Johannessen (EM, PTL) ... email: Chris.Johannessen (at) penske.com e-Market Research Manager (and ardent Quine-an) Penske e-Business Group Penske Truck Leasing \ Penske Logistics http://www.pensketruckleasing.com

    4. [WVQ] August 12, 2003 "The Time of My Life by W.V. Quine ... and travel to Luxemburg" Dear Sir, My questions pertain to Quine's different visits to Luxemburg. Perhaps you are able to answer these questions on the basis of unpublished notes by Quine.
      1) In 1950 Quine came to Echternach in Luxemburg (p. 223). Do there exist notes relative to this visit (length of the visit, name of the hotel in Echternach)?
      2) Quine came to Luxemburg in 1950 (pp. 347 and 350). Same questions as before.
      3) Do there exist unpublished notes relative to the first visit in the year 1929 (p. 71)?
      4) Do there exist other unpublished remarks or observations on Luxemburg?
      I thank you very much for your help. Yours sincerely Roger Schmit, 4, rue des Bénédictins, L-6414 Echternach Luxembourg ... email: roger.schmit (at) ci.educ.lu
      Roger - I regret that I do not have access to any other information about my father's travels to Luxemburg. Although I made one trip to Luxemburg with him, his recollections in his autobiography are my best sources of information! If anyone else can add information to this note, I'd be happy to post it and try to relay it to you. My only other observation would be that the main W V Quine web page (www.wvquine.org) contains a list of the years and total duration of visits to every country he visited. Best regards - Doug

    5. [WVQ] August 17, 2003 "WVQuine Page Suggestion ... Working Library List" To the Webmaster (Douglas B. Quine):
      I have a suggestion for an addition to the WVQuine.org webpage. What would be of great use to scholars would be a list of the books in Quine's working library, that is, the books he kept available on shelves in his home and office.
      Often there will be things in a text right before your eyes that an author is saying over and over again, but people won't see it, perhaps because they have a preconception of what the person believes. Then, when you look at what books that person has read and go back to the text, what that person was saying over and over again that everyone overlooked will leap out at you, and you will have a clearer understanding of the author.
      A list of Quine's working library could aid Quine scholars in this way. I hope that you will consider undertaking the project of putting such a list up at the WVQuine website in the near future.
      Sincerely yours, John Ongley ... email: j-ongley (at) northwestern.edu
      Dear John - Thank you for the suggestion. I regret that it is not possible to do this. First, the books have already started off on multiple journeys (the special items are on deposit in the rare book department of the Houghton Library at Harvard University) and secondly because the number of books was extraordinary. I'd guess there were probably 40 boxes of books in his Harvard University office and another substantial number in his study at home. He also made donations of the overflow every year or two to the Harvard University Library so a fixed "list" of books never could have existed. Best regards - Doug, webmaster

    6. [WVQ] October 12, 2003 "Positive Proof Arthron street address was 30 East Lorain" In the course of trying to answer a question for Prof. Saul Kripke at Princeton, I blindered into positive proof that Arthron's (W. V. Quine's rooming house at Oberline College) street address was 30 East Lorain. On page 49 of his autobiography, he mentions that he moved into Mrs. Holton's "Hock Shop" at 30 East Lorain after he left his original residence. Six pages later on page 55, he mentioned that he proposed improving the name of "Hock Shop" to Arthron ("the joint" in Greek). The book index listed page 55 as the first of 10 references to Arthron, it did not provide a linkage back before the renaming so my search missed it before. I was also surprised to discover that much of the text regarding his education at Oberlin in his autobiography comes verbatim from a long autobiographical essay in his note and sketch book of 1953-1954 at Oxford. - Doug W. V. Quine first residence autobiography

    7. [WVQ] October 12, 2003 "W. V. Quine first Akron residence" (Greg Mueller asked about the street address on Nash Street, Akron, Ohio, for W. V. Quine's birthplace and residence until the age of 11 months). The reason why I asked was because I currently attend the University of Akron and am living in a house on Nash street. I think I e-mailed you about two weeks ago and in that time I actually found some information about where he was born that you as well might be interested in: After going to the library and checking more online I found the address to be 396 Nash street. I currently reside in 406 Nash which puts his house (or what used to be it) two down from mine. From what I have found the house was abandoned many years and then torn down about 10 years ago. Attached are some pictures to prove all this. I'm in engineering and in one of my classes we actually studied the Quine-McCluskey Method for solving different problems so this, along with neatness of living that close, is why i was curious about this. - Greg Mueller C. R. Quine telephone listing in 1907
      Thank you for the excellent detective work! I'd given up after looking in my father's autobiography. The telephone listing for my grandpa C. R. Quine is compelling! I didn't even know that he had worked at Akron Clutch Company. I knew that he worked at Williams Foundry & Machine Shop before he founded Akron Equipment Company in 1917 which he ran for about 45 years and which still exists. (The listing above is my great-aunt Bess who sent me Christmas cards with Manx greetings).

      W. V. Quine Arthron rooming houseI did succeed in tracking down the rooming house (originally named the "Hock Shop") that my father lived in at Oberlin College for 3 years. It still stands (photo to right) at 30 East Lorain Street, Oberlin, Ohio. The renaming of the house was described in his 1985 autobiography (page 55) as follows: We felt that the name of Hock Shop could be improved. I proposed "Αρθρον" [or] "Arthron" [meaning] "Joint". Fred [Cassidy] elegantly painted the Greek word, using the back of the old sign". Many of the Arthron college roommates remained close for the rest of their lives and had reunions well into their arthritic years.

      A couple of years ago my family and I checked and the houses at 38 Hawthorne Street and 16 Orchard Road remained standing in Akron. Every one of Quine's 3 dozen known addresses is listed on his home page.


      The Quine-McCluskey Method is the way that most engineers are familiar with my father's work. Thanks again for your research. - Douglas B. Quine, webmaster, wvquine.org


    8. [WVQ] November 23, 2003 "Neurath quote" --- Where did Quine discuss the quote from Otto Neurath about knowing being like repairing a boat during a journey? John C. Fletcher, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus of Biomedical Ethics in Internal Medicine, University of Virginia School of Medicine - web site: http://www.jcfletcher.com
      Dr. Fletcher,
      I must admit that I was not aware of the discussion before. However, Google did its magic and I have the answer ("Word and Object") from: http://www.info.human.nagoya-u.ac.jp/~iseda/works/positive_skepticism.html
        Quine in Word and Object

        Quine develops the above holistic view on knowledge in Word and Object (1960). The most significant change from the view in "Two dogmas" is the combination of the above argument with Neurath's boat metaphor.[3] Because of this change, the entire picture becomes conservative rather than relativistic. Let us start with summarizing relevant parts of the book, and then think about the status of external question in this view.

        In the first chapter of Word and Object, Quine develops a behavioristic theory of language acquisition (1-25). We learn words by uttering sentences (including one-word sentences like "ouch") in certain situations and by society's approval of the utterance. Even though we learn language in this manner, our language cannot be reduced to protocol language or other sensory language, just by the reason Quine argued in "Two dogmas". Since people may have quite different internal experience in the same situation, the relation between language and experience can be different from an individual to another. In Quine's vivid metaphor, they are "like different bushes trimmed and trained to take the shape of identical elephants" (8).

        Therefore we cannot determine truth value of each sentence separately. Rather, we need to consider the entire framework to determine truth value of sentences in the framework: "where it makes sense to apply 'true' is to a sentence couched in the terms of a given theory and seen from within the theory, complete with its posited reality" (24). We need to use law of least action, standard of simplicity, principle of familiarity, principle of sufficient reason along with experience in such consideration (19-21). Quine calls these considerations "scientific method" (23). This scientific method end up with a conservative view of science, as is expected from the use of law of least action etc.: "we continue to take seriously our own particular aggregate science, our own particular world-theory or loose total fabric of quasi- theories, whatever it may be" (24). In this sense, our language is like Neurath's boat: "Neurath has linked science to a boat which, if we are to rebuild it, we must rebuild plank by plank while staying afloat in it" (3). Quine even rejects Peircean notion of truth, namely truth as "the opinion which is fated to be ultimately agreed to by all who investigate" (Peirce [1868] 1958, 133). Quine's reason is that we cannot meaningfully talk about the ideal theory or distance from the ideal theory because of underdetermination of theories by evidence and indeterminacy of translation (Quine 1960, 23-24). Thus we are strictly confined to our own particular theories.

        Then, where is the place of philosophers in this picture? Right after the Neurath's boat metaphor, Quine answers the question: "The philosopher and the scientist are in the same boat" (Quine 1960, 3). But what does he mean by this metaphorical statement? The following quotation is illuminating: "The philosopher's task differs from the others', then, in detail; but in no such drastic way as those suppose who imagine for the philosopher a vantage point outside the conceptual scheme that he takes in charge. There is no such cosmic exile" (275). Compare this quotation with the above quotation from "Two dogmas", in which Quine says that he agrees that external questions (and, he adds, internal questions, also) are matter of choosing conceptual scheme. Because now we need to keep the boat afloat, we lost the freedom to make a drastic change Quine was talking about in "Two dogmas". ....................
      Best regards - Doug, Douglas B. Quine, Ph.D., webmaster, wvquine.org

    9. [WVQ] December 8, 2003 "I espouse a more thorough-going pragmatism." --- Where does Quine say, "I espouse a more thorough-going pragmatism."? Thank you, Jacob Lynn Goodson --- jacob_goodson (at) hotmail.com
      I don't know so I have posted the question in the quotation queries section of the WV Quine home page - Doug

    10. [WVQ] December 11, 2003 "Quine-McCluskey ... Quine origins" --- Hello, I am a student from Salzburg, Austria. Some days ago we used the Quine-McCluskey Method to solve some engeneering problems. I asked who is "Quine-McCluskey", but noone knew him, so i started looking in the net. I found Willard Van Orman Quine and Edward J. McCluskey. I also found http://www.quine.org.uk/. Is this a scottish name? And, can u please tell me how do you say/express "Quine" ? Is it [kwine], [kuin], [kwuin], [kwin], ... with best wishes
      You ask good questions. Our name is pronounced as [kwine]. The word "Quine" in Scottish means a young girl - hence the web site that you found. However, as a last name (surname) the name "Quine" always comes from the Isle of Man (a small island between England and Ireland). In Manx, "Quine" means consul or ambassador. The Manx people have a long history since government was founded on the island in the year 979 by Viking invaders. As you know, www.wvquine.org is the W. V. Quine web site. Best regards - Doug

    11. [WVQ] September 10, 2004 "Quine asked me what I meant by transcendental?" --- The clarification of this very important. Firstly, if someone says that meaning is transcendental, it can be two things: 1_ it can mean that meaning is something akin to an innatist or even a theological principle that needs no explanation.

      2_ it can mean that the significance of a word is related to an operation called the transcendental reduction which is updated Platonism, namely, Husserl. A word resides in reduction to a fixed meaning, like a chair, which means many chairs that could be recognised, but actually one semantic reduction, which is its Platonic and fixed meaning.

      Naturally, Quine would reject this methdologically, because Quine is a naturalist in epistemology. Here, Quine is without a reduction as I would call, because he has not progressed enough to integrate the reduction of a word to its idealist structuralism. Quine is Husserl, without a reduction, he is still looking at the action of the senses in creating a meaning, but never able to come to a fixed structure.

      Naturally, for anyone that knows me, I have no time for anyone but one that can accept an idealist reduction.

      Using Hans Halvorson's truth table, I am going to stretch this and argue that (1) and (2) are the same. This would make perfect sense, as I have repeatly emphasized to Prof. Gilbert Harman, and others, that it take a theological mind, it would appear to me, to be able to make this reduction, because either skeptics or behavioralists are ever learning and never able to get anywhere definite in epistemology.

      Husserl is the knowledge of what is seen sub specie eternitatis. Against Quine, we do not look at the things that are seen, but the things that are unseen, and the reason that the mind can take on these fixed forms of transcendental meaning, with would also include Kant, because the mind grasps space and time as a precondition of awareness, is because our thinking is not grounded in the leftist sensual world, but in something that is highly intuitionist. And though I appreciate that this would bear some fruit here with Williard's methods, I would still not be able, unless they can show me this, in more detail, to agree that meaning is anything but transcendental because of the eidetic reduction.

      Quine is a leftist naturalistic thinker, but in my book, he would eventually get to the reduction. How do we learn the meaning of words? By interaction with the world around us, but also because words themsevles, in and of themselves, simpliciter, have that much power: hence meaning is transcendental because the tradition of meaning is deduction from a standard of fixed meanings that pertain to the eternal nature of the mind. When we use a word, it is already reduced, and these semantic particles are what are assumed in a controlled linguistic universe.

      Caveat emptor: every time something is listed as one and two, this does not mean that it is the same. Gary Butler who is Congressman and James McCrery is not the same, but thinking about this, it is close. Who is on the left and right from my model? From one reading it would be the present holder of the office that would be on the right because he knows everyone that is rich, but in another sense he is leftist because he is connected to big government, like military. However, once we reduce large frames, it is close to identity somehow. It is like saying that Plato and Aristotle is the same, or that Kant and Husserl is the same, or that Marx and Hegel is the same.

      I have noticed that Oscar Becker has discussed Heidegger's relation to Husserl, and this would,using my model, be evidence of how Husserl is on the right, and Heidegger on the left, and a pure Ich, is something fitting with my philosophy more than the empirical Ich. Like I said, I have no time for empirical matters, in this strict sense, because I want to, like Calikles, reduce everything and get on with this. Socrates said that he gave up empirical science in his youth because he wanted to study how men's morals fitted an eternal scheme of things.

      Willard, get note to Yasmin/or Rebecca that I have called about the stationary for Red snapper corporation, and that we want to use this for the accounting, see if you can search a little bit with Prof. Halim in Heidelberg if he could get us anything about Oscar Becker. Also, tell Rebecca that Gary Butler does not know Quine that well enough to make grand commentary, other than just talking quietly to him. But I am sure that we can tangle with this enough to be fruitful, over dinner with red snapper,

      this micrology is taking two philosophers from randomness, who is Calikles and who is socrates? Is both the same? When can Halvorson get me this "gamma space" proof?

      canary copy:tell me more about that friend!

      With Kindest Regards, Gary Butler (email: louiedog (at) sport.rr.com)

    12. [WVQ] August 22, 2005 "Finding A Quote by Quine" --- To whom it may concern, I am looking for the source from which a quote by Quine came. I am not asking you to do my work for me, I simply asking for help in finding where I might look further to find the source from which the following quote came. The quote starts as follows: "...the Web, all our beliefs are justified by all our beliefs, they are connected by an explanatory network..." Any help that you might could offer be it knowledge of the quote or sources from which I might draw will be greatly appreciated. Tony Bethea [tonybethea (at) hotmail.com]
      I do not know, however, I found two other people seeking the same answer through Google more than a year ago. The broader context appears to be:
      In the web, all our beliefs are justified by all our other beliefs, they are connected by an explanatory network, and changes in one place can require changes elsewhere. Thus all belief is connected to observation in the world. Are any beliefs immune from this process? Some beliefs do not depend on observation for their justification, in fact no observation whatever could show them to be wrong. Beliefs of this type are said to count as a-priori knowledge: Their justification is independent of experience, a-priori knowledge is contrasted with empirical knowledge which does depend on observation for its justification.
      according to http://www.answers.google.com/answers/threadview?id=353409 and http://www.quotationspage.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=2050&sid=a326cacd4a61b375f5276192f341545e - Regards - Doug
    13. [WVQ] Nov 24, 2005 "Tom Lehrer style philosophy song" --- Prof. Quine, Since you like Tom Lehrer, you'll be un-fond to the max, perhaps, of this philosopher's [not stone(d)] songs http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Tor_Hershman/ Best Regards to you Sir. --- dwh_78 (at) hotmail.com
    14. [WVQ] March 27, 2006 "Van Orman family" --- As I "Googled" the name Van Orman, I came across your site due to your ancestor, Harriett Ellis Van Orman. I am beginning a search for information on my mother's side of the family. Her biological father's name is Elmer Van Orman. He and my grandmother in 1935 (I think) in Pennsylvania. My mother (Elmer's daughter) was born in 1936 in Bradford PA. He left my grandmother when my mother was two years old. Do you have any knowledge of him being related to Harriett Ellis Van Orman? I would appreciate anything you could tell me as I begin my research. Thank you, Connie
    15. [WVQ] March 28, 2006 "Attributed to Quine" --- I have a note attributed to “Quine” which states: “the implicit assumption of mutual understanding.” However, the source does not provide a reference to Quine. Source material: Beach, F.A. 1979. Animal models and psychological inference. In: Human Sexuality: A comparative and developmental perspective. H.A. Katchadourian, ed. Univ of Calif Press. Berkeley. Can anyone provide the original source of the Quine quote? Thanks Jim Weed National Institutes of Health Bethesda, MD 20892 weedj (at) mail.nih.gov
      Jim - I'm finding a related (but more complete) quote in several references:
      A/ "The less a science has advanced, the more its terminology tends to rest on an uncritical assumption of mutual understanding." (Quine, 1936, p. 90) cited in: Of minds, brains, and behavior-a review of Uttal's (1998) toward a new behaviorism: The case against perceptual reductionism Behavior and Philosophy, Spring 1999 by Machado, Armando
      B/ "The less [a field] is advanced, the more its terminology rests on an uncritical assumption of mutual understanding." (W. V. Quine) cited in: http://www.sequenza21.com/2005/03/cults.html
      C/ "The less a science is advanced, the more its terminology tends to rest on an uncritical assumption of mutual understanding." -- Willard V. Quine in "Word and Object" cited by: Dan Augustine - ds.augustine at mail.utexas.edu - Austin, Texas at http://ml.islandnet.com/pipermail/dixielandjazz/2003-March/008343.html
      D/ "The less a science is advanced, the more its terminology tends to rest on an uncritical assumption of mutual understanding." -- Willard V. Quine (1946, page 84) cited in: http://72.14.203.104/search?q=cache:nyBzvEugyhYJ:murphylibrary.uwlax.edu/ereserves/Disability%2520service/Cst%2520300/Intro%2520to%2520comm%2520research/chapter%252003.rtf+%22assumption+of+mutual+understanding%22+%2BQuine&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=9
      I'd be interested to see what actual citation this leads you to. Please keep me posted. Best regards - Doug
    16. [WVQ] June 30, 2006 "Blog reference to Professor Quine" --- To whom it may concern, Just so you know, I made reference to the late Professor Quine in my blog and you can find the refence near the top of my blog. My blog's address? It's: http://michaelflessas.blogspot.com
      Regards, Michael Flessas Homepage: http://flessas.googlepages.com/
    17. [WVQ] January 18, 2008 "Wikipedia article on predicate functor logic" --- I have written a Wikipedia article on predicate functor logic, the formalism that was the subject of nearly all of Quine's technical writings in the last three decades of his life. Roger Desmoulins --- jj5498 (at) gmail.com
      Roger - Thank you; there are also excellent articles on Willard Van Orman Quine and the Quine-McCluskey Algorithm at Wikipedia. Regards - Doug
    18. [WVQ] September 27, 2008 "W. V> Quine" --- Professor Quine was not only the greatest American philospher of the XX century, he was a person of great moral values.I have had the honor of knowing him personally, attend his classes and have several conversations with him in his office at Harvard. Bruno Garofalo --- Bgarofalo1 (at) comcast.net

    Willard Van Orman Quine Guest Books