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Hans Reichenbach: Realist and Verificationist

Hilary Putnam

in Future Pasts

Published in print September 2001 | ISBN: 9780195139167
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780199833214 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/019513916X.003.0013
 Hans Reichenbach: Realist and Verificationist

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By focusing on Reichenbach’s 1938 Experience and Prediction, Putnam argues against the claim that logical positivism represented a unified ideological viewpoint. It is a vast oversimplification, Putnam shows, to suppose that every logical positivist held that all meaningful statements are either empirically verifiable statements about sense data or else purely formal stipulations. Reichenbach, in particular, defended a form of commonsense realism, while at the same time criticizing foundational or metaphysical Realism. Thus for Putnam the most crucial philosophical questions about logical positivism concern, not a unique theory of meaning, but the particular assumptions about rationality, meaning and objectivity which each positivist brought to bear in arguing against metaphysical doctrines.

Keywords: Hans Reichenbach; logical positivism; realism; criterion of meaning; critique of metaphysics; rationality; meaning; objectivity

Chapter.  5609 words. 

Subjects: History of Western Philosophy

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