Reason, Truth and History
Hilary Putnam deals in this book with some of the most fundamental persistent problems in philosophy: the nature of truth, knowledge and rationality. His aim is to break down the fixed categories of thought which have always appeared to define and constrain the permissible solutions to these problems.
- Electronic book text
- 31 Dec 1981
- CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY PRESS
- Cambridge University Press (Virtual Publishing)
- Cambridge, United Kingdom
Table of contents
Preface; 1. Brains in a vat; 2. A problem about reference; 3. Two philosophical perspectives; 4. Mind and body; 5. Two conceptions of rationality; 6. Fact and value; 7. Reason and history; 8. The impact of science on modern conceptions of rationality; 9. Values, facts and cognition; Appendix; Index.
'Hilary Putnam's Reason, Truth, and History is an interesting, ambitious well-written book, which deals with a broad set of issues (in epistemology, metaphysics, value theory, and the philosophy of language) and diverse thinkers (ranging from Plato, Berkeley and Kant to Carnap, Quine, Kuhn, Wittgenstein, and Foucault). In spite of its broad scope, the book is both relatively short and possesses a remarkable degree of unity and coherence ... the book is important because it reflects a serious effort to break the grip that the natural sciences have had on philosophical thought in this century. Although Putnam is not hostile to science, he rejects the equation of rational thinking with scientific thinking and rejects the idea that science provides the only true descriptions of reality.' International Philosophical Quarterly 'This is a timely book, with penetrating discussion of issues very much in the forefront of the contemporary philosophy. Despite the prominence of negative arguments it contains much to contribute positively to our understanding of what is needed for a conception of rationality and objectivity that covers ethics and value theory generally as well as physics.' Ethics 'It is refreshingly wide-ranging and ambitious, covering the philosophies of logic, language and knowledge, philosophy of mind, philosophy of history, and ethics. It manages to derive fresh insights even from such familiar topics as Wittgenstein's so-called Private Language argument. Without pretentiousness or name-dropping, it combines strands from recent Anglo-American and Continental philosophy. And it is written in a style which is usually lively and witty.' Philosophical Books