Friday, 12 August 2011

"Quinian" vs "Quinean"

Usually, people write "Quinean". But Quine's only use of an adjectival form in his works (as far as I know) is "Quinian":
... any more than there need be some peculiarly Quinian textural quality common to the protoplasm of my head and feet. (Quine, 1960, Word & Object, p. 171.)
Also, Quine was a bit of a language maven. Maybe he had some reason for writing "Quinian" instead of "Quinean".

8 comments:

  1. he wanted to combine our Main Op. Officer's name with his. ;)

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  2. Ian - ha. Could be ...

    Hi Gabriele, yes, that seems the right way. So, it always made me wonder why Quine chose "-ian". Usually, if there's no "e" at the end of the name, we use "-ian", as in "Kantian" or "Newtonian". If we have an "e", "-ean" seems right, as in "Humean". So, it's puzzling.
    Because Quine was a language maven, I'm sure he had some reason, had he ever been asked, but it remains secret. So, I follow Quine on the adjective for his name, and always give this Quine quote as my justification.
    Maybe one of Quine's colleagues from Harvard through the 30s - 80s knows why he chose it.

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  3. This reminds me of Quine's righteous use of 'singulary'. That sure caught on...

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  4. The Oxford English Dictionary (1987) only lists "Quinean" and cites Beer (1966), Kate (1972), and Hookway (1978) as the sources.

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  5. Many thanks, Douglas. Yes, the established usage is "Quinean" ...

    Jeff

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  6. This seems like the two trends for Deleuze: Deleuzean or Deleuzian.

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  7. Isn't it telling that the only authority that ought to matter has been set aside by tradition? If nothing else, this ought to serve as an illustration for a discussion within the Philosophy of Language

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