When W. V. Quine died in 2000, America lost one of its great philosophers, one whose felicity with language and deadpan wit made his writings a sheer delight, no mean feat for a man concerned with some of the most pressing questions of the age (see, for example, Quiddites: An Intermittently Philosophical Dictionary for an example of what we mean). Upon reviewing Quiddites, Raymond Sokolov wrote in the Wall Street Journal:
Mr. Quine is an intellectual--high, wide and handsome--opening his mind to the rest of us here in a way that exemplifies the best of what a first-rate mind can do when aiming to explain himself to non specialists in mostly nontechinical language...Every phrase in this book is a condensation of ideas usually stated at greater length, but Mr. Quine has the gift of turning the complex into the conversational without sanding off the edges. Often he sounds like the world's most intelligent stand-up comic...It is impossible in this space to exhibit the full Quinian magic, the magnificent command of reasoning, pace, rhetoric and humor--how in two pages he considers the traditional arguments justifying altruism as self-interest and finds them wanting.
With the centennial of Quine's birth coming up on June 25, a host of events are planned--see Douglas Boynton Quine's website for a complete schedule. Douglas Boynton Quine is also the co-editor, with Dagfinn Føllesdal, of two Quine books we've got coming out this fall: Quine in Dialogue and Confessions of a Confirmed Extensionalist and Other Essays, which collects the main essays from the last, productive period of Quine’s prodigious career, as well as notable earlier essays that haven't been included in our previous collections. Needless to say, we're as honored as ever to be presenting the work of a great American polymath, one whose efforts to make philosophy accessible mark an achievement that will stand the test of time.