PUTNAM AND THE “GOD’S-EYE VIEW”: ON THE LOGICAL STRUCTURE OF ANTI-FOUNDATIONALIST PRAGMATISM

in Following Putnam’s Trail
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I concentrate on difficulties met by Putnam’s “internal” or “scientific” realism. They concern his attempt to reconcile pragmatism and realism. My line of argument is the following. A) By exploiting Putnam’s argument against the “God’s-eye view” (GEV) and the Brains-in-a-Vat argument (BIV), it can be shown that the realism he is defending is either a too strong metaphysical realism or a too weak “residual” position. B) If it is a metaphysical position, then it contradicts Putnam’s own views on GEV. C) If it is a “residual” position, then in the context of a Theory of meaning for formal and natural languages, it is not more explicative (and it may be even less so) than some forms of functionalism. The paper ends with an attempt to reconcile Putnam’s pragmatism with a functionalist approach to epistemic features of “meaning,” for the sake of a reconciliation between pragmatism and realism.

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