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Arguing about Realism: Adjudicating the Putnam-Devitt Dispute

Jade Fletcher

Puni tekst: engleski pdf 190 Kb

str. 39-53

preuzimanja: 162



In this paper I want to adjudicate the dispute between those philosophers who do and those who do not think that the philosophy of language can illuminate metaphysical questions. To this end, I take the debate between Devitt and Putnam as a case study and diagnose what I take to be illuminating about their disagreement over metaphysical realism. I argue that both Putnam and Devitt are incorrect in their assessment of the significance of the model theoretic argument for realism. That, whilst Devitt is entitled to claim that truth does not have anything to do with realism, Putnam’s challenge can still gain traction and seriously call into question our ability to engage in realist metaphysics. I argue that even if a completely semantically neutral conception of realism can be successfully articulated, doing so has the potential to bankrupt the methodology of metaphysical realism. Having taken this debate as a case study, I then offer some brief remarks on how to understand the philosopher who claims that realist metaphysicians should care about discussions of metasemantics and truth. Whilst I want to be cautious about generalising on the basis on this case alone, I think there are important lessons to be learned about the way in which considerations to do with language can shed light on the concerns of metametaphysics.

Ključne riječi

Metaphysics, Metametaphysics, Reference, Indeterminacy, Truth, Hilary Putnam, Michael Devitt

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