Putnam’s Last Papers
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It is beyond question that the recently deceased Hilary Putnam (1926–2016) was one of the most important contemporary philosophers. He made groundbreaking contributions to the philosophies of science, mathematics, mind, and language. Very few philosophers in recent times have had such a wide and deep influence on philosophy.
The book under review is presumably Putnam’s final collection of essays. It gathers together articles that were not included in earlier collections, the previous being Philosophy in an Age of Science (2012). This new work consists of 13 essays published in different forums. Most of the articles are from the 2010s, and the collection thus represents well Putnam’s “final views” on various issues. Although ethics is not absent in this collection, the focus here is, after Putnam’s books Ethics without Ontology (2002) and The Collapse of the Fact/Value Dichotomy and Other Essays (2002), once again more on theoretical philosophy.
Putnam is famous for changing his views,...