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THE PRAGMATIC REALISM OF HILARY PUTNAM

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Chapter Summary

This paper will concentrate mainly on the analysis of some features present in Putnam’s internal realism and in his “natural realism” that he shares with the pragmatist thinkers Peirce and James. Following the middle way which Putnam tries to reach between “reactionary metaphysics” and “irresponsible relativism,” the first part of the paper deals with what is the positive insight of traditional realism, i.e., the reality of external things as independent from our mind, as it is emphasized by Putnam. It also analyzes how this idea of the mind-independent character of reality has been very well worked out in Peirce’s thought through the category of Secondness. The second part focuses on the right insight of relativism that Putnam wants to maintain: How our notion of reality changes and evolves together with our language, our life and our handling the world. The attention that H. Putnam pays to W. James is, also, especially important in relation to his way of understanding reality.

10.1163/9789401205849_015
/content/books/b9789401205849s015
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