Title

Putnam on 'Empirical Objects'

Document Type

Article

Journal/Book Title/Conference

Dialectica

Volume

43

Issue

3

Publication Date

1-1-1989

First Page

231

Last Page

248

DOI

10.1111/j.1746-8361.1989.tb00940.x

Abstract

Putnam claims that the objects we experience are “mind-dependent” and “theory-dependent”. He also writes that they are “constructed within our theories”. It is difficult to say what he means by these claims. I conclude that, according to Putnam, “empirical objects” do not really exist. But I attempt to show the sense in which he can be considered a realist about these objects. Putnam has adopted an idealism which allows for the correctness of realist claims within appropriate contexts. I also discuss Putnam's solution to the problem of how we manage to refer to “empirical objects”. I argue that this solution, and his views concerning the nature of objects, are faced with important difficulties.

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