The last book by Hilary Putnam, edited by Mario De Caro

Hilary Putnam

Naturalism, Realism, and Normativity

Harvard University Press
Edited by Mario De Caro
Publication: April 2016
248 pages

Table of Contents
Introduction: Putnam’s Philosophy and Metaphilosophy [Mario De Caro]
I. Liberal Naturalism and Normativity
1. Naturalism, Realism, and Normativity
2. On Bernard Williams’s “Philosophy as a Humanistic Discipline”
3. What Evolutionary Theory Doesn’t Tell Us about Ethics
II. Realism and Ontology
4. Sosa on Internal Realism and Conceptual Relativity
5. Richard Boyd on Scientific Realism
III. Realism and Verificationism
6. Hans Reichenbach: Realist and Verificationist
7. Between Scylla and Charybdis: Does Dummett Have a Way Through?
8. When “Evidence Transcendence” Is Not Malign
IV. Naive Realism, Sensation, and Apperception
9. Sensation and Apperception
10. Perception without Sense Data
11. “Naive Realism” and Qualia
V. Looking Back
12. The Development of Externalist Semantics
13. Sixty-Five Years of Philosophy: A Participant’s Thoughts and

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Obituaries *** Necrologi

Martha C.Nussbaum, Hilary Putnam (1926-2016), The Huffingtonpost

Jane O’Grady, Hilary Putnam obituary, The Guardian

Bruce Weber, Hilary Putnam, Giant of Modern Philosophy, Dies at 89, The New York Times

Mario De Caro, Il realismo non ammette miracoli, Il Sole 24 ore

Maurizio Ferraris, E’ morto Hilary Putnam, “patriarca” della filosofia, La Repubblica

A collection of obituaries and memories here: DailyNous

My personal obituary:

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Rest in peace Hilary Putnam!


Very sadly, I’ve learned that Hilary Putnam has died today at the age of 89.

Anyone who met him and read his writings sympathetically can attest he was a great man AND a great philosopher.

The philosophical landscape will appear much empty from now on. But his struggle against both “irrealistic” scientism and irresponsible relativism will remain always as a very precious heritage.

We will miss you a lot, dear Hilary.


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International Conference on the Philosophy of Hilary Putnam

October 3, 2015 – October 5, 2015

Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, Indian Institute of Technology, BombayPowai Mumbai, India

Main speakers:

Maria Baghramian,University College Dublin
Alan Berger,Brandeis University
Simon Blackburn,Cambridge University
James Conant,University of Chicago
Mario De Caro,University of Roma Tre
Maximilian de Gaynesford,University of Reading


Sanjit Chakraborty, Jadavpur University
Ranjan Panda, Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay
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Putnam’s blog “Sardonic comment”

Putnam now has a blog, titled “Sardonic comment”! About this unusual name, he writes:

“In 1976, when I delivered the John Locke Lectures at Oxford, I often spent time with Peter Strawson, and one day at lunch he made a remark I have never been able to forget. He said, “Surely half the pleasure of life is sardonic comment on the passing show”.  This blog is devoted to comments, not all of them sardonic, on the passing philosophical show.”

Well done!



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Philosophy as a value. Hilary Putnam awarded Honoris Causa Laurea by the University of Venezia Cà Foscari


I am pleased to announce that Hilary Putnam has been honored with a Laurea Honoris Causa at the University of Venezia Cà Foscari (Italy) .

I graduated at this university, so I am doubly happy for him!

Here a video of the ceremony, and Putnam’s prolusion “Philosophy as a value”.

A short interview here:

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Putnam’s reply to J.Fodor’s review

“It seems that Fodor was seized by what seemed to him to be the ‘key’ to all my views: Wittgensteinian semantics! You got me wrong, Jerry, I am no ‘Wittgensteinian’.”

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Enlightening “Science and Philosophy”


1. Why and how the very need for philosophy became a question

2. Logical Positivism as a failed response

3. Postmodernism as another failed response

4. The importance and value of philosophy as I see it

5. Another look at the history


Read more here


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A new book: Philosophy in an Age of Science. Physics, Mathematics, and Skepticism

Philosophy in an Age of Science. Physics, Mathematics, and Skepticism

Hilary Putnam

Edited by Mario De Caro and David Macarthur

672 pages

Harvard University Press

April 2012


  • Preface
  • Introduction: Hilary Putnam: Artisanal Polymath of Philosophy / Mario De Caro and David Macarthur
  • Part 1: On the Relations between Philosophy and Science
    • 1. Science and Philosophy (2010)
    • 2. From Quantum Mechanics to Ethics and Back Again (2012)
    • 3. Corresponding with Reality (2011)
    • 4. On Not Writing Off Scientific Realism (2010)
    • 5. The Content and Appeal of “Naturalism” (2004)
    • 6. A Philosopher Looks at Quantum Mechanics (Again) (2005)
    • 7. Quantum Mechanics and Ontology (2011)
    • 8. The Curious Story of Quantum Logic (2011)
  • Part 2: Mathematics and Logic
    • 9. Indispensability Arguments in the Philosophy of Mathematics (2006)
    • 10. Revisiting the Liar Paradox (2000)
    • 11. Set Theory: Realism, Replacement, and Modality (2007)
    • 12. On Axioms of Set Existence (2011)
    • 13. The Gödel Theorem and Human Nature (2011)
    • 14. After Gödel (2006)
    • 15. Nonstandard Models and Kripke’s Proof of the Gödel Theorem (2000)
    • 16. A Proof of the Underdetermination “Doctrine” (2011)
    • 17. A Theorem of Craig’s about Ramsey Sentences (2011)
  • Part 3: Values and Ethics
    • 18. The Fact/Value Dichotomy and Its Critics (2011)
    • 19. Capabilities and Two Ethical Theories (2008)
    • 20. The Epistemology of Unjust War (2006)
    • 21. Cloning People (1999)
  • Part 4: Wittgenstein: Pro and Con
    • 22. Wittgenstein and Realism (2007)
    • 23. Was Wittgenstein Really an Antirealist about Mathematics? (2001)
    • 24. Rules, Attunement, and “Applying Words to the World”: The Struggle to Understand Wittgenstein’s Vision of Language (2001)
    • 25. Wittgenstein, Realism, and Mathematics (2002)
    • 26. Wittgenstein and the Real Numbers (2007)
    • 27. (With Juliet Floyd) Wittgenstein’s “Notorious” Paragraph about the Gödel Theorem: Recent Discussions (2008)
    • 28. Wittgenstein: A Reappraisal (2011)
  • Part 5: The Problems and Pathos of Skepticism
    • 29. Skepticism, Stroud, and the Contextuality of Knowledge (2001)
    • 30. Skepticism and Occasion-Sensitive Semantics (1998)
    • 31. Strawson and Skepticism (1998)
    • 32. Philosophy as the Education of Grownups: Stanley Cavell and Skepticism (2006)
  • Part 6: Experience and Mind
    • 33. The Depths and Shallows of Experience (2005)
    • 34. Aristotle’s Mind and the Contemporary Mind (2000)
    • 35. Functionalism: Cognitive Science or Science Fiction? (1997)
    • 36. How to Be a Sophisticated “Naïve Realist” (2011)
  • Acknowledgments
  • Index
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Lauener Prize

Launer Prize or an Outstanding Oeuvre in Analytical Philosophy

Prizewinner 2012: Professor Hilary Putnam

Award Ceremony: Thursday 21 June 2012, Bern, Switzerland


The fifth recipient of the Lauener Prize for an Outstanding Oeuvre in Analytical Philosophy is Hilary Putnam, Cogan University Professor Emeritus at Harvard University. The Lauener Prize is given for Putnam’s body of philosophical work.


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