Hilary Putnam deals in this book with some of the most fundamental persistent problems in philosophy: the nature of truth, knowledge and rationality. His aim is to break down the fixed categories of thought which have always appeared to define and constrain the permissible solutions to these problems.
The time has come to reform philosophy, says Hilary Putnam, one of America's great philosophers. He calls upon philosophers to attend to the gap between the present condition of their subject and the human aspirations that philosophy should and once did claim to represent. Putnam's goal is to embed philosophy in social life. The first part of this book is dedicated to metaphysical questions. Putnam rejects the contemporary metaphysics that insists on describing both the mind and the world from a God's-eye view. In its place he argues for pluralism, for a philosophy that is not a closed systematic method but a human practice connected to real life. Philosophy has a task, to be sure, but it is...
"Words and Life" offers a sweeping account of the sources of several of the central problems of philosophy, past and present. A unifying theme of the volume is that reductionism, scientism, and old-style disenchanted naturalism tend to be obstacles to philosophical progress. The sweep of the problems considered here comprehends all the fundamental areas of contemporary analytic philosophy.
In this brief book one of the most distinguished living American philosophers takes up the question of whether ethical judgments can properly be considered objective--a question that has vexed philosophers over the past century. Reviewing what he deems the disastrous consequences of ontology's influence on analytic philosophy--in particular, the contortions it imposes upon debates about the objective of ethical judgments--Putnam proposes abandoning the very idea of ontology.
The richness of Putnam's philosophical oeuvre consists not only in the broad spectrum of problems addressed, but also in the transformations and restructuring his positions have undergone over the years. The essays collected in this volume are sensitive to both these dimensions. They discuss Putnam's major philosophical contributions to the theory of meaning, the philosophy of mind, the philosophy of science and mathematics, and moral theory. But, in addition, tracing threads of change and continuity, they analyze the dynamics underlying the unfolding of Putnam's thought. The volume also constitutes a critical introduction to a number of central issues in contemporary philosophy, including quantum logic, realism, functionalism, the 'minds as computer' metaphor, and the fact/value dichotomy.
This study examines Hilary Putnam's work in epistemology, philosophy of science and mathematics, philosophical logic and semantics and cognitive psychology. It takes account of his various shifts in philosophical viewpoint over the past four decades, and demonstrates how Putnam arrived at the different positions he has occupied during his career, and discusses the various forms of anti-realist doctrine with which he has engaged. The workd offers commentary on Putnam's writing about conceptual problems in the interpretation of quantum mechanics and places Putnam's work in a wider philosophical context, relating it to various contemporary debates in epistemology and the philosophy of science.
One of the most influential contemporary philosophers, Hilary Putnam's involvement in philosophy spans philosophy of mind, philosophy of language, ontology and epistemology and logic. This specially commissioned collection discusses his contribution to the realist and pragmatist debate. Hilary Putnam comments on the issues raised in each article, making it invaluable for any scholar of his work.
Volume Three is the completion of philosophical papers by one of America's most distinguished philosophers. His works mark his highly significant and original contribution in a number of related fields and they have been praised for "their sophistication, clear sightedness, depth and power".
First published in 1978, this reissue presents a seminal philosophical work by professor Putnam, in which he puts forward a conception of knowledge which makes ethics, practical knowledge and non-mathematic parts of the social sciences just as much parts of 'knowledge' as the sciences themselves. He also rejects the idea that knowledge can be demarcated from non-knowledge by the fact that the former alone adheres to 'the scientific method'. The first part of the book consists of Professor Putnam's John Locke lectures, delivered at the University of Oxford in 1976, offering a detailed examination of a 'physicalist' theory of reference against a background of the works of Tarski, Carnap, Popper, Hempel and Kant. The analysis then extends to notions of truth, the character of linguistic enquiry and social scientific enquiry in general, interconnecting with the great metaphysical problem of realism, the nature of language and reference, and the character of ourselves.