The Model-Theoretic Argument: From Skepticism to a New Understanding

In Sanford Goldberg (ed.), The Brain in a Vat. Cambridge, Britain: Cambridge University Press. pp. 208-225 (2016)

Gila Sher
University of California, San Diego
In this paper I investigate Putnam’s model-theoretic argument from a transcendent standpoint, in spite of Putnam’s well-known objections to such a standpoint. This transcendence, however, requires ascent to something more like a Tarskian meta-level than what Putnam regards as a “God’s eye view”. Still, it is methodologically quite powerful, leading to a significant increase in our investigative tools. The result is a shift from Putnam’s skeptical conclusion to a new understanding of realism, truth, correspondence, knowledge, and theories, or certain aspects thereof, based on, among other things, a better understanding of what models are designed (and not designed) to do.
Keywords Model-Theoretic Argument  Putnam  Realism  Truth  Correspondence  Models  Theories  Model Theory  Logic  Skepticism
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