The Book, Cat, & Cat Book Lovers Almanac

of historical trivia regarding books, cats, and other animals. Actually this blog has evolved so that it is described better as a blog about cats in history and culture. And we take as a theme the advice of Aldous Huxley: If you want to be a writer, get some cats. Don't forget to see the archived articles linked at the bottom of the page.

July 31, 2016

July 31, 1926

Hilary Putnam (July 31, 1926 to March 13, 2016) was an prominent American philosopher. According to Brian Leiter Putnam was:

One of the great figures of post-WWII "analytic" philosophy, Professor Putnam made seminal contributions to the philosophies of science, mathematics, language, and mind. He earned his PhD at UCLA with Hans Reichenbach, and taught at Northwestern, Princeton, MIT and for most of his career at Harvard, where he was emeritus.

Like many philosophers Putnam uses examples that may well mention cats. One such is given in the following quote found in Hilary Putnam: Pragmatism and Realism (2012) by James Conant, ‎and Urszula M. Zeglen. Here Putnam uses a statement about a cat to explain the position, of "some philosophers as Fred Dretske and Jerry Fodor [who want] to reduce meaning claims to claims about causal-probalistic covariation...[and so they claim meaning] can be reduced to the alleged fact that 'tokenings' of the word 'cat' covary with occurrences of cats, or to the alleged fact that there is a 'nomic connection' between tokenings of 'cat' and a Property of Cathood....

Putnam shared with the school of logical positivism an obliviousness to the obvious. For example, his emphasis on language ignored the fact words by definition are always shared; they do not exist originally or usefully, in what is considered an individual mind.

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