Putnam is one of the most influential philosophers of recent times, and his authority stretches far beyond the confines of the discipline. However, there is a considerable challenge in presenting his work both accurately and accessibly. This is due to the width and diversity of his published writings and to his frequent spells of radical re-thinking. But if we are to understand how and why philosophy is developing as it is, we need to attend to Putnam's whole career. He has had a dramatic influence on theories of meaning, semantic content, and the nature of mental phenomena, on interpretations of quantum mechanics, theory-change, logic and mathematics, and on what shape we should desire for future philosophy. By presenting the whole of his career within its historical context, de Gaynesford discovers a basic unity in his work, achieved through repeated engagements with a small set of hard problems. By foregrounding this integrity, the book offers an account of his philosophy that is both true to Putnam and helpful to readers of his work.
Table of Contents
Preface 1. Introduction Part I: Context 2. Overview 3. Analytic philosophy Part II: Character 4. Structural issues 5. Core issues 6. Intentionality Part III: Content: earlier perspectives 7. Mind 8. Science 9. Language 10. Intentional states Part IV: Content: later perspectives 11. Reality 12. Reference 13. Truth 14. Experience 15. Conclusion: an integrated vision Notes Bibliography Index
Maximilian de Gaynesford is Reader in Philosophy at the University of Reading, UK.
"An excellent introduction to Putnam's work, which offers an original encompassing interpretative hypothesis as a guide through this complex corpus of work." - Axel Mueller, Northwestern University, IS
"Distinctive and original, especially in its focus upon the problem of intentionality as a central and dominant theme running through Putnam's work. It provides a very useful account of the historical and philosophical context in which Putnam's work developed. It is well-informed and elegantly written." - Bob Hale, University of Sheffield, UK