I just wasted a great deal of time tracking down these quotes… I had jumbled them all up in my head and had attributed that mishmash to E. P. Thompson. I no longer have time now to work on what I’d planned to work on w/r/t these. Ugh. For now:

Neurath: “We are like sailors who must rebuild their ship on the open sea, never able to dismantle it in dry-dock and to reconstruct it there out of the best materials.”

Quine: “a boat which, if we are to rebuild it, we must rebuild plank by plank while staying afloat in it”

So I don’t forget the whole reason I looked for the quote(s) in the first place: I want to play with the metaphor in relation the ‘building a ship’ column I wrote a while ago. Must get back to that eventually.