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Natural Realism or Transactionalism: On the Relationships between Putnam and Two Pragmatists, James and Dewey

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The relationships between Hilary Putnam and the pragmatists (especially William James and John Dewey) are obvious but subtle. To shed some light on this issue, the author will explore a key issue that not only stands as Putnam’s main inheritance from the pragmatists, but that also illuminates the relationships between them more clearly than any other issues. This key issue is the understanding of perception and the philosophical position that arises from this understanding. The author argues that in adopting Dewey’s transactionalism (or interactionalism), Putnam advances from James’ insight to Dewey’s, a shift that is particularly manifest in Putnam’s attempt to add another layer of meaning to what he refers to as the second naïveté that he detects and appreciates in James’ natural realism.

Affiliations: 1: School of Philosophy, Fudan University Shanghai 200433China


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