By Willard Van Orman Quine

The appellation "polymath" is frequently evenly bestowed, however it will be utilized with self belief to the prestigious thinker Willard Van Orman Quine. Quine's components of curiosity are panoramic, as this energetic booklet amply demonstrates.

relocating from A (alphabet) to Z (zero), Quiddities roams via greater than 80 themes, every one offering a whole degree of piquant inspiration, wordplay, and knowledge, couched in effortless and chic prose--"Quine at his unbuttoned best," in Donald Davidson's phrases. Philosophy, language, and arithmetic are the topics so much totally represented; tides of entries contain trust, conversation, loose will, idiotisms, longitude and range, marks, prizes, Latin pronunciation, tolerance, trinity. Even the extra technical entries are larded with homely lore, anecdote, and eccentric humor.

Quiddities might be a deal with for admirers of Quine and for others who wish to imagine, who care approximately language, and who benefit from the loose play of mind on subject matters huge and small. For this choose viewers, it truly is a great e-book for searching.

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Definition in the philosophers' and mathematicians' sense remains an important matter, however, deserving of a name. Such will be my sense of the word and the topic of these pages. To define an expression is, paradoxically speaking, to explain 44 Definition how to get along without it. To define is to eliminate. We define an expression, the definiendum J by presenting another, the definiens J to the same effect. Availability of the definiens renders the definiendum dispensable, save perhaps as a convenient abbreviation.

But then that was true also of the good old NATURAL NUMBERS themselves. REAL NUMBERS, as examined in later pages under that head, are only positive and o. Preparatory to coming to grips with imaginary roots of negative real numbers, then, we must pro- 30 Complex Numbers vide for negative real numbers. In developing the REAL NUMBERS from the ratios we found it convenient to develop a new brand of ratios along with the irrationals, all under the head of real numbers. It is convenient similarly in developing signed real numbers, positive and negative, to develop a new brand of positive reals along with the negative ones.

At this point my flatfootedness is perhaps getting out of hand. It is in his ideas and plans, and not in the rearranging of his threads or pigments or vocabulary, that the artist's creativity lies. Looking then rather to ideas, we might ask whether new ideas are just recombinations of simple components that have been handed down; and we might conclude that they cannot always be just that, since the generations of man and his prehuman ancestors do not extend back forever. , is too fragile an idea to sustain intensive analysis, but at any rate there is no conservation law here to contend with; creation ex nihilo may be allowed free rein.

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