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Quine's Holism and Functionalist Holism

Michael McDermott
Mind
Vol. 110, No. 440 (Oct., 2001), pp. 977-1025
Published by: Oxford University Press on behalf of the Mind Association
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3093563
Page Count: 49
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Quine's Holism and Functionalist Holism
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Abstract

One central strand in Quine's criticism of common-sense notions of linguistic meaning is an argument from the holism of empirical content. This paper explores (with many digressions) the several versions of the argument, and discovers them to be uniformly bad. There is a kernel of truth in the idea that 'holism', in some sense, 'undermines the analytic-synthetic distinction', in some sense; but it has little to do with Quine's radical empiricism, or his radical scepticism about meaning.

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