Hilary Putnam, Richard Rorty and the Tradition of American Pragmatism

Actually, I wrote my master degree thesis about the relation betweend Hilary Putnam, Richard Rorty and the tradition of American Pragmatism. Both philosophers are influenced by Peirce, James and Dewey but both defend very different theories. That is something I came to wonder when I read the classical pragmatists and texts of Putnam and Rorty. I wondered how this could even be possible.

Rorty defends a relativistic, post-modern, anti-realist philosophy, that emphasizes that philosophy actually is a mistake. On the other hand there is Hilary Putnam, who defends scientific realism and argues that philosophy really has something to contribute to public life. I devoted my master thesis to the question how two philosophers who have a common starting place can end up at two opposite sides of the spectrum of philosophical theories. (Even though pragmatism is not the only tradition these philosophers depend on, but it is an important one. Rorty calls himself a pragmatist, Putnam does not but he devoted a lot of his time and writing to american pragmatists.)

I never really wrote something about that topic here on this blog. But I still defend most of the views I held in my master thesis. So I am trying now to put some points forward in the next posts.

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