Putnam on 'Empirical Objects'
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.
Gordon Steinhoff, “Putnam on 'Empirical Objects',” Dialectica 1989, v. 43, pp. 231-248.