Monday, June 9, 2014

Unscrambling my own syntax 

In a previous post, I wrote that my interpretation is that Quine thought that Popper is right that observations by themselves cannot support a hypothesis, but "he holds that, in conjunction with theories that we accept, but contrary to empiricism as traditionally understood, not simply because they are supported by observations.”
I would like to correct this scrambled syntax. What I meant was that Quine believed that theories are never probabilized by observations alone, but (sometimes) by previously accepted theories, or by previously accepted theories conjoined with certain observations plus mathematical statistics. According to him, the total body of our theoretical beliefs is not, contra Carnap and Reichenbach, probabilized by the sum total of our observational beliefs.