De Gruyter (2001)

Axel Mueller
Northwestern University
This is a two tiered investigation. On the one hand, the author presents a systematic account of the philosophy of Hilary Putnam. Being the first comprehensive account to be published in the German-speaking world, the author traces the development of Putnam's realism and philosophy of language and their connections from the early 1950's to 2000. Contrary to the popular view of the discontinuity of Putnam's philosophy, he demonstrates that Putnam maintains certain semantic, pragmatic and epistemological foundations for the rational confirmability, fallibility and self-corrigibility of theoretical knowledge in the empirical sciences as a constant around which many other philosophical assumptions are allowed to vary under critical examination. The resulting view of Putnam's philosophical "position" is decidedly "anti-metaphysical" (contrary to the common association of his philosophy of language with e.g. Kripke's understanding of realism), but not fully "deflationary" (contrary to the reclamation of his criticism of realist metaphysics as Quinean or Rortyan skepticism). On the other hand, the author generalizes, in the second and third parts of the book, Putnam's now famous theory of meaning and reference to develop a framework for the pragmatics of semantic continuity and discontinuity, as well as conceptual change within general terms in empirical settings, like natural kind terms, theoretical terms in natural sciences and commonsense classifications. The third part presents, develops and defends the basic normative premisses as a pragmatic alternative to both, metaphysical (Kripke, Devitt) and sceptical approaches (Quine, Kuhn). The main result here is that many (if not all) preconditions for the semantic bahvior of 'rigid' general terms are not, as usually assumed, ontological in nature, but can be usefully framed as part of the pragmatics of general terms in epistemic practices counting with rational revisability.
Keywords Putnam, Hilary  Meaning  Reference  Contextual Apriori  (Meaning and Reference of) Natural Kind Terms  Pragmatics  Pragmatism  Quine, W.V.O.  Kripke, S.  Theoretical terms
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ISBN(s) 311016955X   9783110169553   311016955X
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References found in this work BETA

Knowing One’s Own Mind.Donald Davidson - 1987 - Proceedings and Addresses of the American Philosophical Association 60 (3):441-458.
Analyticity.P. A. Boghossian - 1997 - In B. Hale & C. Wright (eds.), A Companion to the Philosophy of Language. Blackwell. pp. 331-368.
Indexicals and Demonstratives.John Perry - 1997 - In Bob Hale & Crispin Wright (eds.), A Companion to the Philosophy of Language. Blackwell. pp. 486--612.
Putnam's Theory on the Reference of Substance Terms.Eddy M. Zemach - 1976 - Journal of Philosophy 73 (March):116-27.

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The Meaning of ‘Populism’.Axel Mueller - 2019 - Philosophy and Social Criticism 45 (9-10):1025-1057.

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