How Not to Refute Quine: Evaluating Kim's Alternatives to Naturalized Epistemology


  • Benjamin Bayer

    1. Loyola University of Chicago
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      Benjamin Bayer completed his PhD in philosophy at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign in 2007 and is currently a lecturer in philosophy at Loyola University of Chicago. His research focuses on the intersection of epistemology and the philosophy of mind.


This paper offers an interpretation of Quine's naturalized epistemology through the lens of Jaegwon Kim's influential critique of the same. Kim argues that Quine forces a false choice between traditional deductivist foundationalism and naturalized epistemology and contends that there are viable alternative epistemological projects. However it is suggested that Quine would reject these alternatives by reference to the same fundamental principles (underdetermination, indeterminacy of translation, extensionalism) that led him to reject traditional epistemology and propose naturalism as an alternative. Given this interpretation of Quine, it is essential that a successful critic of naturalism also examine Quine's aforementioned principles. The divide between naturalist and nonnaturalist epistemology turns out to be defined by the divide between more fundamental naturalist and nonnaturalist approaches to semantics.