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Willard Von Orman Quine

Quine (1908-2000) was an American analytic philosopher who made important contributions to our understanding of how scientific theories are developed. He proposed that theory-building, and knowledge in general, was only true holistically. Knowledge was not an individual true or false statement, but an entire fabric of statements and beliefs that only loosely corresponds with reality. Famously, "Statements about the external world face the tribunal of sense experience as a whole". Meaning, any statement can be held come-what-may. Only in relation to other statements can we identify inconsistencies. Quine saw scientific theories as abstract, largely under-determined models of reality that could only be validated as a whole.