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Future PastsThe Analytic Tradition in Twentieth Century Philosophy$
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Juliet Floyd and Sanford Shieh

Print publication date: 2001

Print ISBN-13: 9780195139167

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/019513916X.001.0001

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Hans Reichenbach: Realist and Verificationist

Hans Reichenbach: Realist and Verificationist

(p.277) 12 Hans Reichenbach: Realist and Verificationist
Future Pasts

Hilary Putnam

Oxford University Press

By focusing on Reichenbach’s 1938 Experience and Prediction, Putnam argues against the claim that logical positivism represented a unified ideological viewpoint. It is a vast oversimplification, Putnam shows, to suppose that every logical positivist held that all meaningful statements are either empirically verifiable statements about sense data or else purely formal stipulations. Reichenbach, in particular, defended a form of commonsense realism, while at the same time criticizing foundational or metaphysical Realism. Thus for Putnam the most crucial philosophical questions about logical positivism concern, not a unique theory of meaning, but the particular assumptions about rationality, meaning and objectivity which each positivist brought to bear in arguing against metaphysical doctrines.

Keywords:   Hans Reichenbach, logical positivism, realism, criterion of meaning, critique of metaphysics, rationality, meaning, objectivity

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