Quotations by Willard Van Quine


Just as the introduction of the irrational numbers ... is a convenient myth [which] simplifies the laws of arithmetic ... so physical objects are postulated entities which round out and simplify our account of the flux of existence... The conceptional scheme of physical objects is [likewise] a convenient myth, simpler than the literal truth and yet containing that literal truth as a scattered part.
Quoted in J Koenderink Solid Shape (Cambridge Mass. 1990).

To be is to be the value of a variable.
On What There Is (1948)

[The state lottery is] a public subsidy of intelligence [since] it yields public income that is calculated to lighten the tax burden of us prudent abstainers at the expense of the benighted masses of wishful thinkers.
Quiddities.

I have been accused of denying consciousness but I am not conscious of having done so.

The lore of our fathers is a fabric of sentences. A pale gray lore, black with fact and white with convention.


JOC/EFR February 2006

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