Rorty on Truth: Putnam and Relativism

Ilkka Pättiniemi Recall, dear reader, last week’s installment, and Rorty’s thoroughly sociological view of justification. I will take this view for granted for present purposes. That said, it’s time to get on with our story. Hilary Putnam was  one of the great pragmatists of the late 20th and the early 21st Centuries, and as suchContinue reading “Rorty on Truth: Putnam and Relativism”

Rorty on Truth: Conant, Orwell, and the Facts

Ilkka Pättiniemi Richard Rorty is infamous for his views on truth. Indeed, his insistence that truth is not, nor can it be, the goal of enquiry, and that truth is not an explanatory term (e.g. Rorty 1998), has caused some to call him a relativist, to say that he is anti-science, and so on. IContinue reading “Rorty on Truth: Conant, Orwell, and the Facts”

A Brief Remark on Thought Experiments, or Did Galileo Refute Aristotle?

Ilkka Pättiniemi The use of a specific a priori method in philosophy is often justified by remarking that the same method is also used to good effect in physics. The method in question is, of course, the use of thought experiments to refute, or to support, claims or theories. A thought experiment can be characterizedContinue reading “A Brief Remark on Thought Experiments, or Did Galileo Refute Aristotle?”

Non-Realism Is Not Anti-Realism

Johan Hietanen Recently, I’ve had the pleasure of discussing with philosophers of science about the virus behind COVID-19. Among other topics, I’ve heard an argument along the following lines: “If you’re not, at your core, a realist about the virus, then it would make no sense for you to support any prevention or management ofContinue reading “Non-Realism Is Not Anti-Realism”

Normative Relativism Isn’t Good for You

Ilmari Hirvonen Let’s start with a bold conjecture: you’re not a normative relativist. Not at least when it comes to issues like morals, linguistic interpretation, or inference. Indeed, adopting normative relativism in regards such topics would be, at the least, detrimental. But what is this thing called “normative relativism” anyway, and what’s so bad aboutContinue reading “Normative Relativism Isn’t Good for You”

The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Natural Language

Ilkka Pättiniemi In his classic paper “The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics in the Natural Sciences” (1960), Eugene Wigner tells a story of two friends meeting after a long while. One of them has become a statistician working in population trends. He shows a reprint of his recent paper to his friend, who, upon seeing aContinue reading “The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Natural Language”

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