Analytic Philosophy

W.V.O. Quine

Did W.V.O. Quine practice what he preached about philosophical relevance?

No, and many have been grateful for this. As a philosopher, Quine has been criticized for his “ivory tower” view of the field and his claim that philosophers are not particularly qualified for “helping to get society on an even keel.” However, in real life, Quine was very involved in resisting Nazism. After he visited Germany as a Harvard fellow in the 1930s and met the logical positivists of the Vienna Circle, he reacted against the Nazis’ incursions into philosophy (one of which was an avowedly racist mathematical journal, Deutsche Mathematik) by volunteering for the U.S. Navy. After he returned to teaching at Harvard, he organized symposia and talks for members of the Vienna Circle from 1938 to 1941, particularly for Rudolf Carnap (1891–1970), although Carnap was later hired by the University of Chicago. Quine also helped Alfred Tarski (1902–1983) gain employment at City College in New York.


This is a web preview of the "The Handy Philosophy Answer Book" app. Many features only work on your mobile device. If you like what you see, we hope you will consider buying. Get the App