The Time of My Life: An Autobiography

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MIT Press, 1985 - Philosophers - 499 pages
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"Some Pow'r did us the giftie grant/ To see oursels as others can't." With that play on Burns' famous line as a preface, Willard Van Orman Quine sets out to spin the yarn of his life so far. And it is a gift indeed to see one of the world's most famous philosophers as no one else has seen him before. To catch an intimate glimpse of his seminal and controversial theories of philosophy, logic, and language as they evolved, and to hear his warm and often amusing comments on famous contemporary philosophers. From his beginnings in Akron, Ohio in the early 1900s, Quine takes us on a tour of over 100 countries over three-quarters of a century, including close observations of the Depression and two world wars. Far from a philosophical tract, it is an ebullient, folksy account of a richly varied and rounded life. When he does dip into philosophy, it is generally of the armchair sort, and laced with a gentle good humor: "There is that which one wants to do for the glory of having done it, and there is that which one wants to do for the joy of doing it. One can want to be a scientist because he wants to see himself as a Darwin or an Einstein, and one can want to be a scientist because he is curious about what makes things tick .... In normal cases the two kinds of motivation are in time brought to terms .... In me the glory motive lingered ...... In this book, Quine approaches the details of his life the way he has always approached them with a sharp sense of interest, adventure and fun. And he has a skill for picking a word that is just off-center enough to pull an ordinary event out of the humdrum of daily life and evoke its personal meaning. The result is a book of memories that is utterlymesmerizing. Willard Van Orman Quine is the author of numerous books, including "Word and Object, "published by The MIT Press in 1960. A Bradford Book.
 

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Contents

In the Beginning
1
Next of Kin
8
The Life of the Mind
11
Widening Horizons
18
Youthful Enterprise
25
Life at Orchard Road
29
High School
36
Civilized Society
42
Continental Interludes
252
Two Years on Home Ground
258
Andes
263
Prinstitute and Royaumont
267
Child Development
273
Mexico and Stanford
279
Southwest Pacific
284
Japan
291

Freshman
49
Sophomore and Junior
54
Wild West
60
Europe and After
68
Transplanted
75
Graduate Study
82
Sheldon Fellow
86
Vienna
92
Prague and After
96
Warsaw and After
101
Et in Arcadia Ego
108
Pillar to Post
115
Terminal Fellow
120
Faculty Instructor
125
On an Azore
132
Still Faculty Instructor
138
Mathematical Logic
142
Tenure
146
Mexico in Depth
151
Flying down to Rio
158
Metropolitan Brazil
166
O Sentido and the Bureaucrats
172
Up the Other Side
176
Lieutenant
181
Sturm und Drang
185
Teaching and Writing Again
192
Year of Fulfillment
199
Mexico at Length
203
Central America and Back
209
Rand Fulbright and Europe
217
Family Man Again
224
Taxco III and After
230
Installation at Oxford
235
Michaelmas Term and Morocco
241
Hilary and Trinity Terms
247
Korea Alaska Europe
297
Four Years at Home
303
Six Characters in Search
308
Italy Again
312
Greece Again
316
Egypt
321
Strictly by Sea
328
Middletown London St Martin
335
Ohio Canada New York
341
Italy Dalmatia Vienna
347
Harvard down Paris up
351
Northern Climes
359
Ethiopia
367
Kenya
374
More Africa
379
The Year of the Islands
386
Interstitial Years
392
Savile Fellow
399
Iberia Tuscany Persia
403
America and Bellagio
411
Home Ground and Points South
415
Jerusalem and After
419
Sweden Russia England
423
La Derniere Classe
427
Retired and Footloose
432
More French Lectures
436
America Sweden Iceland
440
South Africa
446
Germany and Mexico
452
Egypt and Europe
458
India
463
The Present Chapter
472
Indexed Autobibliography
481
Index
487
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