For fifty years, Willard Van Orman Quine's books and articles have stimulated intense debate in the fields of logic and the philosophy of language. Many scholars in fact, regard Quine as the greatest living English-speaking philosopher; yet his views remain widely misunderstood and misinterpreted. This book provides the first major explication and defense of Quine's systematic philosophy and is ideally suited for use as a required or supplementary text in a wide variety of undergraduate and graduate courses in philosophy and linguistics.The book explores the far-reaching implications of Quine's views on language for contemporary analytic philosophy. It is unique in providing a lucid and rich description and reconstruction of the historical context from which Quine's work grew, focusing in particular on the role that Russell and Wittgenstein played in shaping the problems inherited by Quine. It presents Quine's difficult later views in an accessible fashion, bringing out as no other study has the very radical nature of his position. One of the book's highlights is its careful examination and assessment of Tarski's theory of truth as it relates to the traditions of Russell and Wittgenstein and to Quine's own philosophy.
This book grew out of his dissertation with the active criticism and support of Quine himself.