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The Southern Journal of Philosophy

Volume 45, Issue 3, Fall 2007

Robert Sinclair
Pages 455-472

Quine’s Naturalized Epistemology and the Third Dogma of Empiricism

This essay reconsiders Davidson’s critical attribution of the scheme–content distinction to Quine’s naturalized epistemology. It focuses on Davidson’s complaint that the presence of this distinction leads Quine to mistakenly construe neural input as evidence. While committed to this distinction, Quine’s epistemology does not attempt to locate a justificatory foundation in sensory experience and does not then equate neural intake with evidence. Quine’s central epistemological task is an explanatory one that attempts to scientifically clarify the route from stimulus to science. Davidson’s critical remarks wrongly assign concerns to Quine’s view that it does not have and further obscures the status of his naturalized conception of epistemology.

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