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The deaths of WV Quine and Elizabeth Anscombe represent the end of an era

By Ben Rogers   February 2001

The deaths within the space of two weeks of the American philosopher, WV Quine, and the English one, Elizabeth Anscombe, were somehow fitting. These were the two leading figures of two rival schools. Quine was perhaps the greatest heir to the tradition of Russell and the Vienna Circle and probably the leading American philosopher of the 20th century. Anscombe was one of the most important of the many philosophers who followed the later Wittgenstein, and arguably the greatest woman philosopher of our times. Strong characters both, they were unalike in almost everything.

Quine, born in 1908, seems to have been,…

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