Is Putnam's causal theory of meaning compatible with internal realism?

Putnam originally developed his causal theory of meaning in order to support scientific realism and reject the notion of incommensurability. Later he gave up this position and adopted instead what he called ‘internal realism’, but apparently without changing his mind on topics related to his former philosophy of language. The question must arise whether internal realism, which actually is a species of antirealism, is compatible with the causal theory of meaning. In giving an answer I begin with an analysis of the content and metaphysical background of scientific realism. I show that it presupposes metaphysical realism and that Putnam's philosophical conversion is due to his becoming aware of the latter's incoherence. After giving a brief sketch of internal realism I conclude by arguing that within this new theoretical framework the causal theory of meaning loses its force as a weapon against incommensurability.
Keywords scientific realism  incommensurability  causal theory of meaning  metaphysical realism  god's eye point of view  internal realism  Putnam
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1023/A:1008240206638
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 16,667
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

123 ( #21,521 of 1,726,564 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

5 ( #147,216 of 1,726,564 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.