Putnam and the political

Philosophy and Social Criticism 37 (7):743-757 (2011)
This article deals with how to talk about the political. After the introduction (I), I show, first, that Putnam’s arguments against the root dichotomies between facts and values (II), and between values and norms (III), are valid. I then discuss Putnam’s resistance to drawing skeptical lessons from these negative arguments, a fight that is largely successful (IV). I go on to sketch his own middle position, looking at the way he expands cognitive meaning in the practical sphere (V). I end by addressing Putnam’s specific stance towards the political, arguing here that a relative distinction between facts, values and norms allows us to speak about the political both in a more direct and a balanced way. This means reopening the case of representation (VI)
Keywords Hilary Putnam  Immanuel Kant  Fact/Value  Normativity  Representation  Jürgen Habermas
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DOI 10.1177/0191453711410028
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