The negation of nonsense is nonsense: Hilary Putnam on science and religion

While the influential analytical philosopher Hilary Putnam has made significant contributions to philosophy of mind, philosophy of language and philosophy of science, he isn't generally regarded as a philosopher of religion or a theologian. Nonetheless, I argue that his work should be of great interest to philosophers of religion and theologians. Focusing on the relationship between science and religion, this paper explores the importance of Putnam's attempt to reconcile his anti-metaphysical stance and his commitment to a religious form of life for theology. I first demonstrate why an anti-metaphysical stance and a commitment to Judaism can be deemed contradictory, and then characterize Putnam's anti-metaphysical stance as a modus vivendi to avoid both of what I call analytic and scientistic metaphysics. In a third step I offer my interpretation of Putnam's way of relating science and religion without metaphysics in the qualified sense, and subsequently spell out some important consequences of the emerging picture for theology. In my conclusion I give an account of Putnam as a transitional thinker, and draw a parallel between some of his work and Kierkegaard's “leap of faith”
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DOI 10.1515/nzst.2010.022
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Yiftach J. H. Fehige (2007). Putnams Semi-Fideismus. Theologische Quartalschrift 185 (3):215-234.
Jürgen Dümont (1999). Putnam's Model-Theoretic Argument(S). A Detailed Reconstruction. Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 30 (2):341-364.

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