Peter Hylton: Carnap and Quine and the Nature of Evidence (and the Nature of Philosophy)
Lecture by Peter Hylton (University of Illinois, Chicago) organized by the Department of Theoretical Philosophy
In this talk I discuss the differing views of Carnap and Quine about evidence, as a way of gaining insight into their differing conceptions of philosophy and philosophical method.
I begin by discussing Carnap’s Logische Aufbau der Welt and the tension in Carnap’s early thought which it displays. He resolves the tension in 1932 by wholly abandoning any psychological element, and sticking to the idea of philosophy as a purely abstract subject (essentially as logic). This makes it impossible for him to give an account of knowledge or evidence.
Quine, by contrast, puts forward an explicitly scientific and empirical account of evidence. I briefly examine this account to show how it bears out Quine’s claims to be offering an account which is in conformity with scientific standards.
Peter Hylton took his Ph.D. at Harvard and is currently Professor of Philosophy and Distinguished Professor at the University of Illinois, Chicago. He has played an important role in the development of the field of history of analytic philosophy with his publications Russell, Idealism, and the Emergence of Analytic Philosophy (Oxford University Press, 1990) and Quine (Routledge, 2007). He has been awarded fellowships by the Rockefeller Foundation, the American Council of Learned Societies, and the National Endowment for the Humanities. Some of his essays are collected in Propositions, Functions, and Analysis (Oxford University Press, 2005).
When & where?
Wed 1 April 2015, 3-5pm
Faculty of Philosophy, room Omega
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