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Your short essay should be concerned with the reading, and center on a single thesis. A thesis is a simple, non-trivial and interesting statement making a claim about a certain topic. It is neither a summary statement nor a mere paraphrase. It is a position that you hold on the topic. You should devote your short essay to establishing your thesis.
W. Quine, Word and Object, ch. 6, pp. 191-232
191 Paraphrase away unclear expressions; ban quantification into opaque contexts. 193 ‘Tom believes that the door is open.’ as a relation between Tom and a proposition? Make the that clause into an eternal sentence by eliminating indexicals by using indices. View a sentence as a sequence of its elements. 192 Sentences fine—are universals. But their referents as propositions> not
196 Modality and modal logic: necessary and possible. Motivated by material conditional vs. formal conditional.
197 Does ‘necessary’ mean ‘is analytic’?
Problem: ‘necessarily 9 > 4’ 9 = the number of planets; therefore necessarily the number of plantets > 4.’
198 Necessity and being essential [Aristotle]: Human being-bicyclist- two legged; mathematician-rational. Just a bias or whim which ones to treat as essential to a human.
201 Is a proposition the meaning of a sentence, to be used as objects of propositional attitudes [like ‘Tom believes’]? Would have to use a narrow synonymy; otherwise all analytic sentences have same meaning—Carnap’s intensional isomorphism. Hard to make it specific enough. 204-5 seems hopeless; so too for positing propositions.
206-7 Any reason to posit propositions? Dispositions to speech behavior works better in translation; talk of propositions seems to make us think that there is a uniquely correct translation. 208 Use eternal sentences instead.
209 Use classes/sets instead of attributes and relation; relations as sets of ordered n-tuples. 211 Prepositional attitudes with opacity. So their objects cannot be sets, which can be specified with merely coextensional function. 212-3 Indirect quotation as the objects? 214 Assumes likeness of meaning 216 Instead: have not objects; just take believes that P’ as a predicate of Tom. How far can indirect quotation deviate from the direct quotation? Can we do indirect quotation for animal belief? 218 an indirect quotation is no longer a report but an interpretation
218 Brentano on the medieval intentiones. 220 can never get away from the intentional attitude. [a good more recent example: defining aggression and violence in animal behavior: must admit intentions?] 221-2 Stimulus meaning does not need them, but they are needed once we bring in analytical hypothesis for terms. But Quine would rather ignore them as then we would need objects for propositional attitudes—even thought intentional talk must be used in ordinary life.
222-3 subjunctive conditionals or counterfactuals—used for disposition terms like ‘soluble’. 224 Paraphrase them away: x has a certain molecular structure and x dissolves. 225 But there are much wilder counterfactuals: think of some.
226 Let a conditional have a truth-value gap when the antecedent is false. 227 Science and theorizing use writing and eternal sentences free of context.
228 Get rid of causes and becauses and instead use logical inference. Still allow for indefinitely many unanalyzed general terms. Restricting categories of terms and their combinations is tempting but limits too much. 231 especially if the sentences of the theory are allowed as objects in the theory. Can reduce general terms to sets with a two place relation.

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