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The Limits of Realism$
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Tim Button

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199672172

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199672172.001.0001

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(p.74) 9 Nonrealism
The Limits of Realism

Tim Button

Oxford University Press

Starting in the late 1970s, Putnam has outlined three positions that might hope to avoid the Cartesianism Principle. The first aim of this chapter is to provide an overview of the broad trajectory of Putnam’s thought, and a rough characterisation of those three positions. The second aim is to clarify and criticise Putnam’s earliest positive response to the model-theoretic arguments, his nonrealism. Putnam’s nonrealism emphasises a verificationist theory of understanding, and it paints a philosophical picture that immediately leads to the rejection of the Cartesianism Principle. This is very welcome. However, the picture is painted from a perspective which is every bit as external as that of the external realist. Nonrealism turns out to be external subjective idealism, and so must be rejected.

Keywords:   putnam’s nonrealism, putnam’s internal realism, theory of understanding, verificationism, external subjective idealism

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