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Theoria. Revista de Teoría, Historia y Fundamentos de la Ciencia

Volume 12, Issue 2, Mayo 1997

Manuel Garcia-Carpintero
Pages 213-223

Putnam’s Dewey Lectures

This paper points out several difficulties to understand Putnam’s views in his recent “Dewey Lectures”, which involve a certain move away from his “internal realism”. The main goal is to set into relief tensions in Putnam’s thinking probably provoked by his philosophical development. Two such tensions are touched upon. In the first place, Putnam wants to reject an account of phenomenal consciousness (sensory experience in particular) he had subscribed to during his realist times, which he calls “Cartesianism cum Materialism”, CM. He puts forward what he takes to be an alternative, apparently based on the traditional Chisholmian “Theory of Appearing”. The paper suggest firstly that, in view of the facts to be accounted for, a theory along those lines cannot count as a real alternative to CM. In the second part, the paper develops an analogous tension between the views on truth Putnam seems to be willing to defend in the Dewey Lectures, and previous criticisms of the semantic conception of truth by hirn that he claims still to be willing to subscribe.