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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.96) 11 Justificationism
The Limits of Realism

Tim Button

Oxford University Press

Throughout the 1980s, Putnam advanced justificationism, according to which there is a tight conceptual connection between truth and idealised justification. He ultimately dropped justificationism in favour of natural realism. However, since his natural realism fails to deal adequately with the problems raised by the model-theoretic arguments, this might have been premature. Accordingly, this chapter investigates justificationism in detail. Unfortunately, the existence of unjustifiable truths (and similarly problematic truths) show that there is no plausible strong conceptual connection, sentence-by-sentence, between truth and (even idealised) justification. Moreover, even if the justificationist could connect truth with idealised justification, this would not provide us with a sufficiently broad response to Cartesian angst. The complicated literature that connects truth with idealised justification is a red herring in the present context.

Keywords:   putnam’s justificationism, putnam’s internal realism, truth, idealised justification, evidence transcendence, unjustifiable truth, fitch’s paradox, cartesian scepticism

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