Putnam on Truth

  • Frederick Stoutland


Hilary Putnam’s work has been original, technically proficient, relevant to broad human concerns, widely influential — and subject to unexpected sharp turns. He invented the computational functionalist view of the mind, showed how to make it precise, related it to wider issues, saw it become the received view — and then turned against it, eloquently urging its rejection. He put forward a new conception of scientific realism, worked out technical details, suggested its wider significance, helped make it prominent in epistemology and philosophy of science — and then became its foremost critic. If Putnam’s work did not have so many virtues, such sharp turns in his thought (of which these are only two examples) would suggest a philosopher unable to develop a stable view or unwilling to be serious. But the radical shifts in Putnam’s thought are not signs of instability or frivolity, nor of carelessness or faddishness. They rather manifest a sensitivity to underlying shifts in the intellectual and philosophical climate of our time, rooted in an acute sense of when and how fashionable ways of thinking have gone wrong and are leading nowhere.


Truth Condition True Belief Causal Theory Correspondence Theory Truth Concept 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Putnam, Hilary (1978), Meaning and the Moral Sciences, London: Routledge and Kegan Paul.Google Scholar
  2. Putnam, Hilary (1975a), Mathematics, Matter, and Method: Philosophical Papers, volume 1, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  3. Putnam, Hilary (1975b), Mind, Language, and Reality: Philosophical Papers, volume 2, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Putnam, Hilary (1981), Reason, Truth, and History, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Putnam, Hilary (1983), Realism and Reason: Philosophical Papers, Volume 3, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Putnam, Hilary (1987), The Many Faces of Realism, LaSalle: Open Court Publishing Co.Google Scholar
  7. Putnam, Hilary (1988), Representation and Reality, Cambridge: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  8. Putnam, Hilary (1990), Realism with a Human Face, Cambridge: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  9. Putnam, Hilary (1992a), Renewing Philosophy, Cambridge: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  10. Putnam, Hilary (1992b), “Truth, Activation Vectors, and Possession Conditions for Concepts”, Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, 52, No. 2.Google Scholar
  11. Putnam, Hilary (1994a), Words and Life, Cambridge: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  12. Putnam, Hilary (1994b), The Dewey Lectures: “Sense, Nonsense, and the Senses: An Inquiry into the Powers of the Human Mind”, Journal of Philosophy.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Frederick Stoutland

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations