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Reason, Truth and History

3.71 of 5 stars 3.71  ·  rating details  ·  92 ratings  ·  7 reviews
Hilary Putnam deals in this book with some of the most fundamental persistent problems in philosophy: the nature of truth, knowledge and rationality. His aim is to break down the fixed categories of thought which have always appeared to define and constrain the permissible solutions to these problems.
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published December 31st 1981 by Cambridge University Press (first published 1981)
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Jaimee
Oct 25, 2007 Jaimee rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who like to punish themselves
This book made me want to claw my eyes out. I was really excited about it at first because he discusses the philosophy of language, which is incredibly interesting. Then he talks about being a brain in a vat, and who doesn't want to consider that? It was downhill from there, though. Exactly how downhill I can't honestly say because I did not finish the book. I was faced with the following choice: 1)continue living my life with my sanity intact and preserving at least a tiny bit of assurance that ...more
Andrew
Reason, Truth, and History is a short, dense book rife with ideas, some of which are mind-blowing, others of which seem rather suspect.

First and probably foremost, I'm impressed by the man's embrace of pragmatism and rejection of the scientism and so-called "realism" that dominates so much of the philosophical discourse, especially in the present American intellectual landscape.

However, I am suspicious of some of his analytical techniques. I'm afraid I find most of Putnam's thought experiments t
...more
Kate
Damn you Hilary Putnam for giving me an appetite for metaphysics! By the way...why only 4 stars? Since you asked: because of loss of sleep, tormented thoughts, the copious hours I spent trying to figure this book out (thank you Chris!). And, I am still trying to figure it out. Word to the wise, read to the end! The last few chapters are a pleasant surprise if you can get past the first 6. But then the first 6 are so worth while at the same time. This is a mind bender for sure, but very accessibl ...more
Siavash
This has got to be one of the best books putnam has written. The arguments are well made and accompanied by punctual and entertaining intuition pumps. I found the best about it though is how it attempts at least to discuss issues in such away that distances away from the notorious analytical/continental breakdown. Also definitely recommended for general audience to get their feet wet in philosophy.
David Joseph
Slow and steady feels a certain way. We will notice ourselves building a language to discuss it. Something like that?

I dunno. Sorta Neo-Kantian.

I continue to find his analogies painful.

Bummer, because I think he does a terrific job reorganizing and confronting skeptical observations and problematics.



Cierra
This book has some fascinating philosophical ideas in it. I think it should be a must read for anyone studying philosophy. While I may not agree with everything He has written, Putnam does a good job at staying generally clear. Over all a good book.
manwithoutqualities
It's Putnam - classy, deep, wide . . .
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  • Objectivity, Relativism, and Truth: Philosophical Papers (Philosophical Papers (Cambridge)) (Volume 1)
  • Word and Object
  • Mind and World
  • Ways of Worldmaking
  • On the Plurality of Worlds
  • The Social Construction of What?
  • Against Method: Outline of an Anarchistic Theory of Knowledge
  • Inquiries Into Truth and Interpretation
  • Empiricism and the Philosophy of Mind
  • Philosophy of Mind: Classical and Contemporary Readings
  • Experience and Nature
  • Naming and Necessity
  • The Modularity of Mind
  • Sense and Sensibilia: Reconstructed from the Manuscript Notes by C.J. Warnock
  • The Construction of Social Reality
  • Autopoiesis and Cognition: The Realization of the Living
  • The View from Nowhere
  • God, Freedom and Evil
20758
Hilary Whitehall Putnam (born July 31, 1926) is an American philosopher, mathematician, and computer scientist who has been a central figure in analytic philosophy since the 1960s, especially in philosophy of mind, philosophy of language, philosophy of mathematics, and philosophy of science. He is known for his willingness to apply an equal degree of scrutiny to his own philosophical positions as ...more
More about Hilary Putnam...
The Collapse of the Fact/Value Dichotomy and Other Essays Ethics Without Ontology Representation and Reality Philosophical Papers, Volume 2: Mind, Language and Reality Pragmatism: An Open Question

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