Combining Philosophers

Ideas for Friedrich Schlegel, Hilary Putnam and Thomas Nagel

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4 ideas

1. Philosophy / G. Scientific Philosophy / 1. Aims of Science
Realism is the only philosophy of science that doesn't make the success of science a miracle [Putnam]
     Full Idea: Realism….is the only philosophy science which does not make the success of science a miracle.
     From: Hilary Putnam (works [1980]), quoted by Alexander Bird - Philosophy of Science Ch.4
     A reaction: This was from his earlier work; he became more pragmatist and anti-realist later. Personally I approve of the remark. The philosophy of science must certainly offer an explanation for its success. Truth seems the obvious explanation.
1. Philosophy / G. Scientific Philosophy / 3. Scientism
A culture needs to admit that knowledge is more extensive than just 'science' [Putnam]
     Full Idea: The acknowledgement that the sphere of knowledge is wider than the sphere of 'science' seems to me to be a cultural necessity if we are to arrive at a sane and human view of ourselves or of science.
     From: Hilary Putnam (Meaning and the Moral Sciences [1978], Intro)
     A reaction: A very nice remark, with which I intuitively agree, but then you are left with the problem of explaining how something can qualify as knowledge when it can't pass the stringent tests of science. How wide to we spread, and why?
Modern philosophy tends to be a theory-constructing extension of science, but there is also problem-solving [Nagel]
     Full Idea: Philosophy is now dominated by a spirit of theory construction which sees philosophy as continuous with science, but the other problem-centred style is still in existence and it is important to keep it alive.
     From: Thomas Nagel (The Philosophical Culture [1995], §6)
'True' and 'refers' cannot be made scientically precise, but are fundamental to science [Putnam]
     Full Idea: Some non-scientific knowledge is presupposed by science; for example, I have been arguing that 'refers' and 'true' cannot be made scientifically precise; yet truth is a fundamental term in logic - a precise science.
     From: Hilary Putnam (Meaning and the Moral Sciences [1978], Lec VI)
     A reaction: We might ask whether we 'know' what 'true' and 'refers' mean, as opposed to being able to use them. If their usage doesn't count as knowledge, then we could still end up with all actual knowledge being somehow 'scientific'.