Seminarul CELFIS de miercuri, 14 mai, are in program

Bryan Hall (Indiana University)
The Two Dogmas without Empiricism

Seminarul are loc ca de obicei de la ora 18 in amfiteatrul Titu Maiorescu, la Facultatea de Filosofie (Splaiul Independentei 204).


In ‘Two Dogmas of Empiricism,’ W.V. Quine begins his attack on the analytic/synthetic dogma by criticizing Immanuel Kant’s conception of analyticity. After dismissing Kant’s interpretation as well as others, he articulates a view of the analytic/synthetic distinction that connects it to the other dogma of empiricism, reductionism. Ultimately, Quine rejects both dogmas in favor of a new form of empiricism which subscribes to neither one. Just as Quine believes it is possible to defend empiricism without the dogmas, I will argue that the Kantian can defend both dogmas while avoiding the forms of empiricism that Quine considers in his article. The paper is broken into three sections. First, I offer a brief overview of the two dogmas and their relationship to one another before examining Quine’s argument against ‘radical reductionism,’ i.e., the position that every meaningful sentence is translatable into a sentence about immediate experience that is either true or false. The second section shows how one of Kant’s arguments in the Critique of Pure Reason anticipates the crux of Quine’s argument against radical reductionism. What is left after this argument is only an ‘attenuated form’ of reductionism that Quine believes is identical to the analytic/synthetic distinction. In the third section, I explain how Kantians can draw the analytic/synthetic distinction in a way that is consistent with this attenuated form of reductionism while avoiding the objections that Quine lodges against the two dogmas. I argue that this allows the Kantian to accept the dogmas while avoiding both the radically reductive form of empiricism as well as the form of empiricism that Quine endorses.