A renewal of philosophy is precisely the point of this book, in which one of America's most distinguished philosophers, surveying an astonishingly wide range of major issues, proposes a new, clear-cut approach - an "attitude" - to philosophical questions. Hilary Putnam contests the view that only science offers an appropriate model for philosophical inquiry, that only a metaphysics congruent with physics suffices, while questions of art and ethics, love, death and religion must be set aside due to the lack of an adequate language or perspective. His discussion of topics from artificial intelligence to natural selection, and of reductive philosophical views derived from these models, identifies the insuperable problems encountered by philosophy when it ignores the normative or attempts to reduce it to something else. Looking for a better way of doing philosophy, Putnam takes up the problems posed by religious discourse, often viewed by philosophers as prescientific and primitive, an unlikely survivor from the age of superstition.
In pages on Wittgenstein, he refutes this view and shows how the philosopher's frequently misunderstood forays into religious discourse actually open up philosophy to a broad range of practical, moral, and political issues. In closing, Putnam considers Dewey, who occupies a middle ground between metaphysics and skepticism, and whose broadly epistemiological arguments in favour of democracy this book advances.
- The project of artificial intelligence
- does evolution explain representation?
- a theory of reference
- materialism and relativism
- Bernard Williams and the absolute conception of the world
- irrealism and deconstruction
- Wittgenstein on religious belief
- Wittgenstein on reference and relativism
- a reconsideration of Deweyan democracy.
: pbk ISBN 9780674760943
Hilary Putnam, one of America's most distinguished philosophers, surveys an astonishingly wide range of issues and proposes a new, clear-cut approach to philosophical questions--a renewal of philosophy. He contests the view that only science offers an appropriate model for philosophical inquiry. His discussion of topics from artificial intelligence to natural selection, and of reductive philosophical views derived from these models, identifies the insuperable problems encountered when philosophy ignores the normative or attempts to reduce it to something else.
Preface The Project of Artificial Intelligence Does Evolution Explain Representation? A Theory of Reference Materialism and Relativism Bernard Williams and the Absolute Conception of the World Irrealism and Deconstruction Wittgenstein on Religious Belief Wittgenstein on Reference and Relativism A Reconsideration of Deweyan Democracy Notes Index
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