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The formidable philosopher of science and mathematics, Hillary Putnam, died last year, at 89, shortly [relatively] after his retirement. His was an intellectually peripatetic career. Though he defended garden variety metaphysical realism in his early years, his skepticism led him to a more restrained internal realism, which led to pragmatism and flirtation with theories based upon coherence, consensus, convergence (in the long run, under ideal epistemic conditions), and something like idealized rational acceptability. I essentially lost track of his position on these issues and, though I believe he broadly maintained a complex anti-anti-realism position throughout his career/life, I have no idea what he believed re truth and the word/world relationship at the time of his death.

Does anybody know, or have any idea of what he was up to philosophically just before his death?

  • I was wondering the same thing even concerning his earlier positions How does Putnam reconcile having referents in language with rejection of realism? – Conifold Apr 5 '17 at 1:29
  • Great question, @Conifold. Thing is, I do not believe he (like CS Pierce) ever really, fully, completely, abandoned realism -- in the sense of a je ne sais quoi constraint/friction upon what can be warrantedly/reasonably said/believed. This is why I have for years thought of him as an "anti-anti-realist." But it would be interesting to know where he "stood" just before he [retired and] died. – gonzo Apr 5 '17 at 2:03

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