Putnam's paradox: Metaphysical realism revamped and evaded

Philosophical Perspectives 11 (s11):17-42 (1997)
Hilary Putnam's argument against metaphysical realism (commonly referred to as the "model theoretic argument") has now enjoyed two decades of discussion.(1) The text is rich and contains variously construable arguments against variously construed philosophical positions. David Lewis isolated one argument and called it "Putnam's Paradox".(2) That argument is clear and concise; so is the paradoxical conclusion it purports to demonstrate; and so is Lewis' paradox-avoiding solution. His solution involves a position I call "anti-nominalism": not only are classes real, but they are divided into arbitrary and 'natural' classes. The natural classes 'carve nature at the joints', being (as other philosophers might say) the extensions of 'real' properties, universals, or Forms.(3) Thus the argument was turned, in effect, into support for a metaphysical realism stronger than Putnam envisaged
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DOI 10.1111/0029-4624.31.s11.2
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Jamin Asay (2013). Three Paradigms of Scientific Realism: A Truthmaking Account. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 27 (1):1-21.
Leon Horsten (2010). Having an Interpretation. [REVIEW] Philosophical Studies 150 (3):449 - 459.

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