Concluding on W.V.O. Quine’s “Epistemology Naturalized” (1969), featuring Mark, Wes, and Seth. Start with part one.
We consider more implications about Quine’s attempt to turn epistemology into psychology.
In the full episode, we take one more stab at making sense of the indeterminacy of translation that is part of Quine’s holism about linguistic meaning.
Finally, we consider whether Quine counts as a behaviorist? If you’re talking about the “building blocks” of meaning, before you have full-on language and reference, it’s probably necessary to talk about behavior, e.g. as Langer talked about sign-behavior that was preliminary to the use of symbols.
The “behavior” in question for Quine is actually a situation: being in the presence of some external object such that Carnap at least would identify the meaning of an observation sentence with that external sensory situation. While Quine rejects that due to his holism (there might be multiple “meanings” for a sensory situation), he still as empiricist identifies this public performance of a report on what’s right in front of you as foundational for meaning, making this a related view to Wittgenstein’s private language argument (which involves meanings being public, not private images in individual minds).