Realism With a Human Face

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  • Pages: LXXIV-347
  • Support: Print
  • Format: 25 cm.
  • Languages: Anglais
  • Édition: Original
  • Location: Cambridge, Mass.
  • ISBN: 0-674-74950-2
  • URL: External link
  • Creation date: 04-01-2011
  • Last update: 02-10-2015



Hilary Putnam calls upon philosophers to attend to the gap between the present condition of their subject and the human aspirations that philosophy should and once did claim to represent. Putnam's goal is to embed philosophy in social life. – The first part of this book is dedicated to metaphysical questions. Putnam rejects the contemporary metaphysics that insists on describing both the mind and the world from a God's-eye view. In its place he argues for pluralism, for a philosophy that is not a closed systematic method but a human practice connected to real life. Philosophy has a task, to be sure, but it is not to provide an inventory of the basic furniture of the universe or to separate reality in itself from our own projections. Putnam makes it clear that science is not in the business of describing a ready-made world, and philosophy should not be in that business either. The author moves on to show that the larger human context in which science matters is a world of values animated by ethics and aesthetic judgments. No adequate philosophy should try to explain away ethical facts. The dimension of history is added in the third part of the book. Here Putnam takes up a set of American philosophers, some firmly within and others outside the canon of analytic philosophy, such as William James and C. S. Peirce, and he explores the pragmatist contribution to philosophy from James to Quine and Goodman. – Contents : Introduction [by James Conant]. – Part 1 : Metaphysics. 1. Realism with a Human Face (A. Realism; B. Relativism); 2. A Defense of Internal Realism; 3. After Empiricism; 4. Is Water Necessarily H2O?; 5. Is the Causal Structure of the Physical Itself Something Physical?; 6. Truth and Convention; 7. Why Is a Philosopher?; 8. The Craving for Objectivity. – Part 2 : Ethics and Aesthetics. 9. Beyond the Fact/Value Dichotomy; 10. The Place of Facts in a World of Values; 11. Objectivity and the Science/Ethics Distinction; 12. How Not to Solve Ethical Problems; 13. Taking Rules Seriously; 14. Scientific Liberty and Scientific License; 15. Is There a Fact of the Matter about Fiction?. – Part 3 : Studies in American Philosophy. 16. William James’s Ideas [with Ruth Anna Putnam]; 17. James’s Theory of Perception; 18. Peirce the Logician; 19. The Way the World Is; 20. The Greatest Logical Positivist; 21. Meaning Holism; 22. Nelson Goodman’s Fact, Fiction, and Forecast. – Notes. Credits. Index. M.-M. V.