Three points are not clear to me about the relations between semantic externalism (Kripke, Putnam) and holism (Quine):
Is there a way according to which externalism and holism can be held together or are they inherently contradicting each other? It seems that holism implies that the meaning of a term depends upon its linguistic description, its conceptual role or its relations to other terms within the web of language. According to externalism the meaning is (at least partially) external to the mere language. Does this mean that the two approaches contradict?
Externalism about meaning says that there are two different kinds of sentences that can be said about an object - contingent and necessary. "Kripke is the son of X" will be necessary because it's essential to "Kripke". "Kripke is a logician", on the other hand, will be contingent. Quine says that there is no difference between Analytic and synthetic sentences. Now, the Analytic / Synthetic division is not the same as the necessary / contingent one, but yet, they are somehow connected. Does the fact that sentences can be divided in general into two categories create some problems to Holism?
If the two do contradict, it seems to me that Holism would be a better choice only because it goes deeper. I can say that the sentence "Kripke is the son of X" seems to be necessary only because the predicate "son of" in the my specific language bares a linguistic relation to "necessary". In other words - it's only because my web of words if organised this way and not the other that some sentences seem necessary and some seem contingent. Therefore, this metaphysical characteristic of sentences is only an illusion. Holism says - meaning is in the language. Externalism says - given a language (or "in the current world") this and that are correct (water is H2O and not XYZ, for example). Hence, it seems to me like Holism goes deeper and can explain why externalism fails. Am I missing something?