Quine and Conceptual Pragmatism
- Transactions of the Charles S. Peirce Society: A Quarterly Journal in American Philosophy
- Indiana University Press
- Volume 48, Number 3, Summer 2012
- pp. 335-355
- Additional Information
Quine famously concluded that his rejection of the analytic-synthetic distinction resulted in a more 'thorough' pragmatism. While suggesting a possible link to American pragmatism, Quine would later explain that he was only extending the use of 'pragmatic' found in Carnap's thought. However, Quine has also acknowledged the influence of his teacher C.I. Lewis, who defended his 'Conceptual Pragmatism' in the 1920s and 1930s. This essay focuses on Quine's alleged connection to pragmatism by examining the influence of Lewis's pragmatism on Quine's developing epistemological perspective. It makes reference to Quine's unpublished graduate papers in order to argue that the structural affinities between Quine's and Lewis's conceptions of epistemology suggest an important historical source of the pragmatic elements in Quine's view. This further highlights a forgotten element of the epistemological backdrop to Quine's mid-century interpretation and criticism of Carnap's use of the analytic-synthetic distinction.