By Hilary Putnam
Hilary Putnam has been confident for it slow that the current scenario in philosophy demands revitalization and renewal; during this newest publication he exhibits us what form he would favor that renewal to take. Words and Life bargains a sweeping account of the assets of a number of of the crucial difficulties of philosophy, earlier and current, and of why a few of these difficulties are usually not going to depart because the first 4 half tides within the volume-"The go back of Aristotle," "The Legacy of Logical Positivism," "The Inheritance of Pragmatism," and "Essays after Wittgenstein"-suggest, a few of the essays are concerned about tracing the new, and the now not so contemporary, historical past of those difficulties.
The objective is to convey out what's coercive and arbitrary approximately a few of our current methods of posing the issues and what's of continuous curiosity in convinced previous techniques to them. quite a few supposedly undying philosophical difficulties look, on nearer inspection, to alter with altered historic conditions, whereas there seems to be a lot of everlasting worth in Aristotle's, Peirce's, Dewey's, and Reichenbach's paintings on a few of the difficulties that proceed to workout us.
A unifying topic of the quantity as a complete is that reductionism, scientism, and old-style disillusioned naturalism are usually stumbling blocks to philosophical growth. The titles of the ultimate 3 components of the volume-Truth and Reference," "Mind and Language," and "The variety of the Sciences-indicate that the sweep of the issues thought of right here comprehends all of the primary parts of latest analytic philosophy wealthy intimately, the e-book can also be grand in scope, permitting us to track the continued highbrow evolution of 1 of the main major philosophers of the century.
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We also speak of realism in connection with novels and stories; and here again we often have in mind certain kinds of attention to reality: to detail and particularity . . We expect in a realistic novel something you might call a phenomenalism of character: it is built up out of observed detail, and in a sense there is nothing to it over and above what we are shown . . once we look outside philosophy, the idea of connections between what is there called ‘realism’ and what we associate with empiricism becomes less puzzling .
Philosophical] problems are like riddles . . I can recognize, even before I have. . a way of deciding. . such ques tions (and in that way fixing their sense), that . . [some proposed answer] is not the answer. But what it’s not, is only as yet a form of words. The rejection of an answer, like the question itself, seems not quite to grasp its own sense, seems to exist, as it were, on borrowed sense, on an advance from the solution to the problem. Cora Diamond, “Riddles and Anselm’s Riddle” Of the essays collected here, the one which represents the most strik ing departure in Putnam’s recent thought is probably “Rethinking Mathematical Necessity” (Chapter 12).
After discussing various passages about pictures (including the one above) from Wittgenstein’s Lectures on Religious Belief, Putnam remarks: These remarks seem to go totally against the idea that Wittgenstein was against pictures as such. When Wittgenstein attacks philoso phers for being in the grip of a picture, the usual reading of this is that Wittgenstein opposes pictures—that pictures are bad. But Wittgenstein in his lectures during the 1930s repeatedly praises pic tures in two ways: he praises them as good ways of explaining the meaning of words75.
Words and Life by Hilary Putnam