Most commentators have overlooked the impact of Russell on Quine, focusing instead on the influence of Carnap. In what follows, I will argue that the early Quine’s engagement with Russell’s logicism was a crucial stage in the development of his philosophy. More specifically, we can see Quine’s naturalism as developing out of a certain strand of Russell’s thought concerning scientific philosophy. In addition to giving us a better sense of the origins of Quine’s philosophy, this reading also shows how his early work, focusing mostly on technical areas of logic, is deeply related to his later and more famous philosophical views. In particular, his reworking of Principia Mathematica can be understood as the technical working-out of his view that the purpose of philosophy is the clarification our conceptual scheme.


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pp. 133-155
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