Hilary Putnam had a great fall

Emergent Australasian Philosophers 2 (1):1-13 (2009)
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Hilary Putnam's Model-Theoretic argument attempts to dispose of the view that science provides us with a literally true description of the world. It uses the Löwenheim-Skolem Theorem to show that all consistent scientific theories are true of the real world, even if they contradict each other. This is incompatible with the realist conception of truth, which allows only for one version of reality. So, Putnam rejected this conception of truth in favour of his own 'internal realism,' which claims that theories can only be true or false within themselves; within their own framework. However, I demonstrate that the Model-Theoretic argument is unsound. It relies on a false premise – that every consistent theory is true of the real world. Putnam uses a clever manipulation of model theory to attempt to convince us of the truth of this premise, but I show that he commits a fundamental error in his method.



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