These nine essays are largely concerned with the theory of meaning and references—semantics. At the same time adjacent portions of philosophy and logic are discussed. To the existence of what objects may a given scientific theory be said to be committed? And what considerations may suitably guide us in accepting or revising such ontological commitments? These are among the questions dealt with in this book, particular attention being devoted to the role of abstract entities in mathematics. There is speculation on the mechanism whereby objects of one sort or another come to be posited, a process in which the notion of identity plays an important part.
Professor Quine's challenging and original views are here for the first time presented as a unity. The chief merit of the book is the heart-searching from which it arose and to which it will give rise. In vigour, conciseness, and clarity, it is characteristic of its author.
This volume of essays has a unity and bears throughout the imprint of Quine's powerful and original mind. It is written with the felicity in the choice of words which makes everything that Quine writes a pleasure to read, and which ranks him among the best contemporary writers on abstract subjects.
W. V. Quine was Edgar Pierce Professor of Philosophy, Harvard University. He wrote twenty-one books, thirteen of them published by Harvard University Press.