Hilary Putnam, who may have been the first philosopher to advance the notion that the computer is an apt model for the mind, takes a radically new view of his own theory of functionalism in this book. Putnam argues that in fact the computational analogy cannot answer the important questions about the nature of such mental states as belief, reasoning, rationality, and knowledge that lie at the heart of the philosophy of mind.
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.
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.
If philosophy has any business in the world, it is the clarification of our thinking and the clearing away of ideas that cloud the mind. In this book, one of the world's preeminent philosophers takes issue with an idea that has found an all-too-prominent place in popular culture and philosophical thought: the idea that while factual claims can be rationally established or refuted, claims about value are wholly subjective, not capable of being rationally argued for or against. Although it is on occasion important and useful to distinguish between factual claims and value judgments, the distinction becomes, Hilary Putnam argues, positively harmful when identified with a dichotomy between the o...
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...
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.
This book offers an overview of Putnam's ideas, his key writings and his contributions to the various fields of philosophy. Thematically organized, the book begins with Putnam's work in the philosophy of language and shows how his theory of semantic externalism serves as a lynchpin for understanding his thought as a whole. Crucially, the author also examines the ways in which Putnam has shifted his position on some key philosophical issues and argues that there is in fact more unity to Putnam's thought than is widely believed. An entire chapter is devoted to Putnam's pragmatism and the possibilities this provides for revitalizing contemporary philosophy. This is the ideal companion to study of this hugely influential thinker.
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".
Professor Hilary Putnam has been one of the most influential and sharply original of recent American philosophers in a whole range of fields. His most important published work is collected here, together with several new and substantial studies, in two volumes. The first deals with the philosophy of mathematics and of science and the nature of philosophical and scientific enquiry; the second deals with the philosophy of language and mind. Volume one is now issued in a new edition, including an essay on the philosophy of logic first published in 1971.