Putnam's Internal Realism and Kant's Empirical Realism

Idealistic Studies 26 (1):45-56 (1996)
This paper challenges Putnam's claim that his internal realism is a revival of Kant's empirical realism. I agree with Putnam that there are good reasons to revive Kant's rather neglected empirical realist doctrine. However, internal realism is not the way this should be done. At the center of the following discussion lies the important difference between Putman's "real within a scheme" model and Kant's assertion of the independent existence of empirical objects. The strategy for the paper is as follows. I intend to first detail the real and important connections that exist between the analyses of experience offered by Putnam and Kant. These similarities should not be discounted. In fact, I think we can distinguish the two projects only if we first appreciate the conceptual overlap that naturally gives rise to the perceived union of the two programmes. I will then develop a representative response that is invoked commonly by Kantians who disagree with Putman's identification. This will be followed by a brief discussion concerning why this standard reply fails. I will conclude by canvassing a more powerful epistemological reason for dissociating the two programmes.
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DOI 10.5840/idstudies19962613
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