Combining Philosophers

All the ideas for Michael Burke, B Russell/AN Whitehead and Hilary Putnam

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167 ideas

1. Philosophy / A. Wisdom / 1. Nature of Wisdom
For ancient Greeks being wise was an ethical value [Putnam]
1. Philosophy / D. Nature of Philosophy / 5. Aims of Philosophy / a. Philosophy as worldly
The job of the philosopher is to distinguish facts about the world from conventions [Putnam]
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]
1. Philosophy / G. Scientific Philosophy / 3. Scientism
A culture needs to admit that knowledge is more extensive than just 'science' [Putnam]
'True' and 'refers' cannot be made scientically precise, but are fundamental to science [Putnam]
3. Truth / A. Truth Problems / 1. Truth
'The rug is green' might be warrantedly assertible even though the rug is not green [Putnam]
Putnam's epistemic notion of truth replaces the realism of correspondence with ontological relativism [Putnam, by O'Grady]
3. Truth / C. Correspondence Truth / 1. Correspondence Truth
We need the correspondence theory of truth to understand language and science [Putnam]
Before Kant, all philosophers had a correspondence theory of truth [Putnam]
3. Truth / C. Correspondence Truth / 3. Correspondence Truth critique
Correspondence between concepts and unconceptualised reality is impossible [Putnam]
The correspondence theory is wrong, because there is no one correspondence between reality and fact [Putnam, by O'Grady]
3. Truth / E. Pragmatic Truth / 1. Pragmatic Truth
Truth is rational acceptability [Putnam]
Truth is an idealisation of rational acceptability [Putnam]
3. Truth / F. Semantic Truth / 1. Tarski's Truth / a. Tarski's truth definition
For scientific purposes there is a precise concept of 'true-in-L', using set theory [Putnam]
3. Truth / F. Semantic Truth / 2. Semantic Truth
Only Tarski has found a way to define 'true' [Putnam]
In Tarski's definition, you understand 'true' if you accept the notions of the object language [Putnam]
Tarski has given a correct account of the formal logic of 'true', but there is more to the concept [Putnam]
Semantic notions do not occur in Tarski's definitions, but assessing their correctness involves translation [Putnam]
3. Truth / H. Deflationary Truth / 1. Redundant Truth
Asserting the truth of an indexical statement is not the same as uttering the statement [Putnam]
4. Formal Logic / A. Syllogistic Logic / 1. Aristotelian Logic
Modern notation frees us from Aristotle's restriction of only using two class-names in premises [Putnam]
4. Formal Logic / A. Syllogistic Logic / 2. Syllogistic Logic
The universal syllogism is now expressed as the transitivity of subclasses [Putnam]
4. Formal Logic / B. Propositional Logic PL / 2. Tools of Propositional Logic / e. Axioms of PL
The best known axiomatization of PL is Whitehead/Russell, with four axioms and two rules [Russell/Whitehead, by Hughes/Cresswell]
4. Formal Logic / C. Predicate Calculus PC / 2. Tools of Predicate Calculus / a. Symbols of PC
'⊃' ('if...then') is used with the definition 'Px ⊃ Qx' is short for '¬(Px & ¬Qx)' [Putnam]
4. Formal Logic / F. Set Theory ST / 3. Types of Set / a. Types of set
In type theory, 'x ∈ y' is well defined only if x and y are of the appropriate type [Putnam]
4. Formal Logic / F. Set Theory ST / 3. Types of Set / d. Infinite Sets
We understand some statements about all sets [Putnam]
4. Formal Logic / F. Set Theory ST / 4. Axioms for Sets / o. Axiom of Constructibility V = L
The Löwenheim-Skolem theorems show that whether all sets are constructible is indeterminate [Putnam, by Shapiro]
V = L just says all sets are constructible [Putnam]
4. Formal Logic / F. Set Theory ST / 4. Axioms for Sets / p. Axiom of Reducibility
Russell saw Reducibility as legitimate for reducing classes to logic [Linsky,B on Russell/Whitehead]
4. Formal Logic / F. Set Theory ST / 8. Critique of Set Theory
Russell denies extensional sets, because the null can't be a collection, and the singleton is just its element [Russell/Whitehead, by Shapiro]
We regard classes as mere symbolic or linguistic conveniences [Russell/Whitehead]
5. Theory of Logic / A. Overview of Logic / 2. History of Logic
Before the late 19th century logic was trivialised by not dealing with relations [Putnam]
5. Theory of Logic / A. Overview of Logic / 5. First-Order Logic
Asserting first-order validity implicitly involves second-order reference to classes [Putnam]
5. Theory of Logic / B. Logical Consequence / 7. Strict Implication
Lewis's 'strict implication' preserved Russell's confusion of 'if...then' with implication [Quine on Russell/Whitehead]
Russell's implication means that random sentences imply one another [Lewis,CI on Russell/Whitehead]
5. Theory of Logic / C. Ontology of Logic / 1. Ontology of Logic
Unfashionably, I think logic has an empirical foundation [Putnam]
Russell unusually saw logic as 'interpreted' (though very general, and neutral) [Russell/Whitehead, by Linsky,B]
5. Theory of Logic / C. Ontology of Logic / 3. If-Thenism
Putnam coined the term 'if-thenism' [Putnam, by Musgrave]
5. Theory of Logic / E. Structures of Logic / 5. Functions in Logic
We can identify functions with certain sets - or identify sets with certain functions [Putnam]
5. Theory of Logic / E. Structures of Logic / 6. Relations in Logic
In 'Principia' a new abstract theory of relations appeared, and was applied [Russell/Whitehead, by Gödel]
5. Theory of Logic / F. Referring in Logic / 1. Naming / a. Names
Using proper names properly doesn't involve necessary and sufficient conditions [Putnam]
5. Theory of Logic / I. Semantics of Logic / 3. Logical Truth
Having a valid form doesn't ensure truth, as it may be meaningless [Putnam]
5. Theory of Logic / I. Semantics of Logic / 6. Intensionalism
Intension is not meaning, as 'cube' and 'square-faced polyhedron' are intensionally the same [Putnam]
5. Theory of Logic / J. Model Theory in Logic / 2. Isomorphisms
If cats equal cherries, model theory allows reinterpretation of the whole language preserving truth [Putnam]
5. Theory of Logic / J. Model Theory in Logic / 3. Löwenheim-Skolem Theorems
The Löwenheim-Skolem Theorem is close to an antinomy in philosophy of language [Putnam]
6. Mathematics / A. Nature of Mathematics / 3. Nature of Numbers / i. Reals from cuts
A real number is the class of rationals less than the number [Russell/Whitehead, by Shapiro]
6. Mathematics / A. Nature of Mathematics / 5. The Infinite / f. Uncountable infinities
Sets larger than the continuum should be studied in an 'if-then' spirit [Putnam]
6. Mathematics / A. Nature of Mathematics / 5. The Infinite / i. Cardinal infinity
Very large sets should be studied in an 'if-then' spirit [Putnam]
6. Mathematics / B. Foundations for Mathematics / 1. Foundations for Mathematics
I do not believe mathematics either has or needs 'foundations' [Putnam]
6. Mathematics / B. Foundations for Mathematics / 4. Axioms for Number / a. Axioms for numbers
It is conceivable that the axioms of arithmetic or propositional logic might be changed [Putnam]
6. Mathematics / B. Foundations for Mathematics / 5. Definitions of Number / a. Defining numbers
Russell takes numbers to be classes, but then reduces the classes to numerical quantifiers [Russell/Whitehead, by Bostock]
6. Mathematics / C. Sources of Mathematics / 1. Mathematical Platonism / b. Against mathematical platonism
How can you contemplate Platonic entities without causal transactions with them? [Putnam]
6. Mathematics / C. Sources of Mathematics / 4. Mathematical Empiricism / a. Mathematical empiricism
Maybe mathematics is empirical in that we could try to change it [Putnam]
It is unfashionable, but most mathematical intuitions come from nature [Putnam]
6. Mathematics / C. Sources of Mathematics / 4. Mathematical Empiricism / b. Indispensability of mathematics
Science requires more than consistency of mathematics [Putnam]
Indispensability strongly supports predicative sets, and somewhat supports impredicative sets [Putnam]
We must quantify over numbers for science; but that commits us to their existence [Putnam]
6. Mathematics / C. Sources of Mathematics / 6. Logicism / a. Early logicism
Russell and Whitehead took arithmetic to be higher-order logic [Russell/Whitehead, by Hodes]
Russell and Whitehead were not realists, but embraced nearly all of maths in logic [Russell/Whitehead, by Friend]
'Principia' lacks a precise statement of the syntax [Gödel on Russell/Whitehead]
6. Mathematics / C. Sources of Mathematics / 6. Logicism / b. Type theory
The ramified theory of types used propositional functions, and covered bound variables [Russell/Whitehead, by George/Velleman]
The Russell/Whitehead type theory was limited, and was not really logic [Friend on Russell/Whitehead]
6. Mathematics / C. Sources of Mathematics / 6. Logicism / d. Logicism critique
In 'Principia Mathematica', logic is exceeded in the axioms of infinity and reducibility, and in the domains [Bernays on Russell/Whitehead]
6. Mathematics / C. Sources of Mathematics / 10. Constructivism / a. Constructivism
Russell and Whitehead consider the paradoxes to indicate that we create mathematical reality [Russell/Whitehead, by Friend]
6. Mathematics / C. Sources of Mathematics / 10. Constructivism / d. Predicativism
To avoid vicious circularity Russell produced ramified type theory, but Ramsey simplified it [Russell/Whitehead, by Shapiro]
7. Existence / D. Theories of Reality / 1. Realism
Realism is a theory, which explains the convergence of science and the success of language [Putnam]
Metaphysical realism is committed to there being one ultimate true theory [Putnam]
Realists believe truth is correspondence, independent of humans, is bivalent, and is unique [Putnam]
7. Existence / D. Theories of Reality / 3. Anti-realism
You can't deny a hypothesis a truth-value simply because we may never know it! [Putnam]
If we try to cure the abundance of theories with causal links, this is 'just more theory' [Putnam, by Lewis]
The sentence 'A cat is on a mat' remains always true when 'cat' means cherry and 'mat' means tree [Putnam]
It is an illusion to think there could be one good scientific theory of reality [Putnam]
7. Existence / D. Theories of Reality / 7. Facts / a. Facts
A fact is simply what it is rational to accept [Putnam]
8. Modes of Existence / B. Properties / 12. Denial of Properties
Very nominalistic philosophers deny properties, though scientists accept them [Putnam]
8. Modes of Existence / E. Nominalism / 1. Nominalism / a. Nominalism
Nominalism only makes sense if it is materialist [Putnam]
9. Objects / A. Existence of Objects / 1. Physical Objects
Aristotle says an object (e.g. a lamp) has identity if its parts stay together when it is moved [Putnam]
9. Objects / A. Existence of Objects / 2. Abstract Objects / b. Need for abstracta
Physics is full of non-physical entities, such as space-vectors [Putnam]
9. Objects / A. Existence of Objects / 5. Individuation / e. Individuation by kind
Persistence conditions cannot contradict, so there must be a 'dominant sortal' [Burke,M, by Hawley]
The 'dominant' of two coinciding sortals is the one that entails the widest range of properties [Burke,M, by Sider]
9. Objects / B. Unity of Objects / 1. Unifying an Object / b. Unifying aggregates
'The rock' either refers to an object, or to a collection of parts, or to some stuff [Burke,M, by Wasserman]
9. Objects / B. Unity of Objects / 3. Unity Problems / b. Cat and its tail
Tib goes out of existence when the tail is lost, because Tib was never the 'cat' [Burke,M, by Sider]
9. Objects / B. Unity of Objects / 3. Unity Problems / c. Statue and clay
Shape is essential relative to 'statue', but not essential relative to 'clay' [Putnam]
Maybe the clay becomes a different lump when it becomes a statue [Burke,M, by Koslicki]
Burke says when two object coincide, one of them is destroyed in the process [Burke,M, by Hawley]
Sculpting a lump of clay destroys one object, and replaces it with another one [Burke,M, by Wasserman]
9. Objects / B. Unity of Objects / 3. Unity Problems / d. Coincident objects
Two entities can coincide as one, but only one of them (the dominant sortal) fixes persistence conditions [Burke,M, by Sider]
9. Objects / D. Essence of Objects / 5. Essence as Kind
Putnam bases essences on 'same kind', but same kinds may not share properties [Mackie,P on Putnam]
9. Objects / D. Essence of Objects / 15. Against Essentialism
Putnam smuggles essentialism about liquids into his proof that water must be H2O [Salmon,N on Putnam]
9. Objects / F. Identity among Objects / 7. Indiscernible Objects
An object is identical with itself, and no different indiscernible object can share that [Russell/Whitehead, by Adams,RM]
10. Modality / A. Necessity / 11. Denial of Necessity
If necessity is always relative to a description in a language, then there is only 'de dicto' necessity [Putnam, by O'Grady]
10. Modality / B. Possibility / 1. Possibility
Mathematics eliminates possibility, as being simultaneous actuality in sets [Putnam]
10. Modality / D. Knowledge of Modality / 1. A Priori Necessary
A statement can be metaphysically necessary and epistemologically contingent [Putnam]
10. Modality / D. Knowledge of Modality / 4. Conceivable as Possible / a. Conceivable as possible
Conceivability is no proof of possibility [Putnam]
12. Knowledge Sources / A. A Priori Knowledge / 8. A Priori as Analytic
If a tautology is immune from revision, why would that make it true? [Putnam]
12. Knowledge Sources / B. Perception / 4. Sense Data / b. Nature of sense-data
The old view that sense data are independent of mind is quite dotty [Putnam]
12. Knowledge Sources / E. Direct Knowledge / 2. Intuition
Russell showed, through the paradoxes, that our basic logical intuitions are self-contradictory [Russell/Whitehead, by Gödel]
13. Knowledge Criteria / C. External Justification / 7. Testimony
Knowledge depends on believing others, which must be innate, as inferences are not strong enough [Putnam]
Empathy may not give knowledge, but it can give plausibility or right opinion [Putnam]
13. Knowledge Criteria / E. Relativism / 6. Relativism Critique
Some kind of objective 'rightness' is a presupposition of thought itself [Putnam]
14. Science / A. Basis of Science / 4. Prediction
Most predictions are uninteresting, and are only sought in order to confirm a theory [Putnam]
14. Science / B. Scientific Theories / 2. Aim of Science
Science aims at truth, not at 'simplicity' [Putnam]
14. Science / B. Scientific Theories / 3. Instrumentalism
Naïve operationalism would have meanings change every time the tests change [Putnam]
14. Science / D. Explanation / 4. Explanation Doubts / a. Explanation as pragmatic
You can't decide which explanations are good if you don't attend to the interest-relative aspects [Putnam]
15. Nature of Minds / B. Features of Minds / 5. Qualia / b. Qualia and intentionality
The Twin Earth theory suggests that intentionality is independent of qualia [Jacquette on Putnam]
17. Mind and Body / B. Behaviourism / 2. Potential Behaviour
Dispositions need mental terms to define them [Putnam]
17. Mind and Body / B. Behaviourism / 4. Behaviourism Critique
Superactors and superspartans count against behaviourism [Putnam, by Searle]
Total paralysis would mean that there were mental states but no behaviour at all [Putnam]
17. Mind and Body / C. Functionalism / 1. Functionalism
Is pain a functional state of a complete organism? [Putnam]
Functionalism is compatible with dualism, as pure mind could perform the functions [Putnam]
Functional states correlate with AND explain pain behaviour [Putnam]
17. Mind and Body / C. Functionalism / 2. Machine Functionalism
Instances of pain are physical tokens, but the nature of pain is more abstract [Putnam, by Lycan]
Functionalism says robots and people are the same at one level of abstraction [Putnam]
17. Mind and Body / C. Functionalism / 8. Functionalism critique
If concepts have external meaning, computational states won't explain psychology [Putnam]
Functionalism can't explain reference and truth, which are needed for logic [Putnam]
Is there just one computational state for each specific belief? [Putnam]
17. Mind and Body / D. Property Dualism / 3. Property Dualism
Temperature is mean molecular kinetic energy, but they are two different concepts [Putnam]
17. Mind and Body / E. Mind as Physical / 3. Eliminativism
If we are going to eliminate folk psychology, we must also eliminate folk logic [Putnam]
17. Mind and Body / E. Mind as Physical / 7. Anti-Physicalism / b. Multiple realisability
Neuroscience does not support multiple realisability, and tends to support identity [Polger on Putnam]
If humans and molluscs both feel pain, it can't be a single biological state [Putnam, by Kim]
18. Thought / A. Modes of Thought / 4. Folk Psychology
Can we give a scientific, computational account of folk psychology? [Putnam]
18. Thought / A. Modes of Thought / 5. Rationality
Rationality is one part of our conception of human flourishing [Putnam]
18. Thought / A. Modes of Thought / 6. Judgement / a. Nature of Judgement
The multiple relations theory says assertions about propositions are about their ingredients [Russell/Whitehead, by Linsky,B]
Only the act of judging completes the meaning of a statement [Russell/Whitehead]
18. Thought / B. Mechanics of Thought / 4. Language of Thought
If everything uses mentalese, ALL concepts must be innate! [Putnam]
No machine language can express generalisations [Putnam]
18. Thought / C. Content / 5. Twin Earth
If Twins talking about 'water' and 'XYZ' have different thoughts but identical heads, then thoughts aren't in the head [Putnam, by Crane]
We say ice and steam are different forms of water, but not that they are different forms of H2O [Forbes,G on Putnam]
Does 'water' mean a particular substance that was 'dubbed'? [Putnam, by Rey]
'Water' on Twin Earth doesn't refer to water, but no mental difference can account for this [Putnam]
Reference may be different while mental representation is the same [Putnam]
18. Thought / C. Content / 6. Broad Content
Reference is social not individual, because we defer to experts when referring to elm trees [Putnam]
I can't distinguish elm trees, but I mean by 'elm' the same set of trees as everybody else [Putnam]
'Water' has an unnoticed indexical component, referring to stuff around here [Putnam]
18. Thought / D. Concepts / 3. Ontology of Concepts / b. Concepts as abilities
Concepts are (at least in part) abilities and not occurrences [Putnam]
19. Language / A. Nature of Meaning / 1. Meaning
Theory of meaning presupposes theory of understanding and reference [Putnam]
Meaning and translation (which are needed to define truth) both presuppose the notion of reference [Putnam]
19. Language / A. Nature of Meaning / 4. Meaning as Truth-Conditions
Truth conditions can't explain understanding a sentence, because that in turn needs explanation [Putnam]
We should reject the view that truth is prior to meaning [Putnam]
19. Language / A. Nature of Meaning / 6. Meaning as Use
"Meaning is use" is not a definition of meaning [Putnam]
19. Language / A. Nature of Meaning / 7. Meaning Holism / b. Language holism
Holism seems to make fixed definition more or less impossible [Putnam]
Meaning holism tried to show that you can't get fixed meanings built out of observation terms [Putnam]
Understanding a sentence involves background knowledge and can't be done in isolation [Putnam]
19. Language / B. Reference / 1. Reference theories
How reference is specified is not what reference is [Putnam]
19. Language / B. Reference / 3. Direct Reference / a. Direct reference
We should separate how the reference of 'gold' is fixed from its conceptual content [Putnam]
Like names, natural kind terms have their meaning fixed by extension and reference [Putnam]
19. Language / B. Reference / 3. Direct Reference / b. Causal reference
I now think reference by the tests of experts is a special case of being causally connected [Putnam]
19. Language / B. Reference / 3. Direct Reference / c. Social reference
We need to recognise the contribution of society and of the world in determining reference [Putnam]
Neither individual nor community mental states fix reference [Putnam]
Maybe the total mental state of a language community fixes the reference of a term [Putnam]
Aristotle implies that we have the complete concepts of a language in our heads, but we don't [Putnam]
Reference (say to 'elms') is a social phenomenon which we can leave to experts [Putnam]
19. Language / B. Reference / 4. Descriptive Reference / a. Sense and reference
Often reference determines sense, and not (as Frege thought) vice versa [Putnam, by Scruton]
19. Language / B. Reference / 4. Descriptive Reference / b. Reference by description
The claim that scientific terms are incommensurable can be blocked if scientific terms are not descriptions [Putnam]
19. Language / F. Communication / 4. Private Language
Language is more like a cooperative steamship than an individual hammer [Putnam]
A private language could work with reference and beliefs, and wouldn't need meaning [Putnam]
19. Language / F. Communication / 6. Interpreting Language / b. Indeterminate translation
The correct translation is the one that explains the speaker's behaviour [Putnam]
Language maps the world in many ways (because it maps onto other languages in many ways) [Putnam]
There are infinitely many interpretations of a sentence which can all seem to be 'correct' [Putnam]
19. Language / F. Communication / 6. Interpreting Language / c. Principle of charity
You can't say 'most speaker's beliefs are true'; in some areas this is not so, and you can't count beliefs [Putnam]
22. Metaethics / A. Value / 1. Nature of Value / b. Fact and value
The word 'inconsiderate' nicely shows the blurring of facts and values [Putnam]
26. Natural Theory / B. Natural Kinds / 4. Source of Kinds
The hidden structure of a natural kind determines membership in all possible worlds [Putnam]
26. Natural Theory / B. Natural Kinds / 5. Reference to Natural Kinds
Natural kind stereotypes are 'strong' (obvious, like tiger) or 'weak' (obscure, like molybdenum) [Putnam]
"Water" is a natural kind term, but "H2O" is a description [Putnam]
Express natural kinds as a posteriori predicate connections, not as singular terms [Putnam, by Mackie,P]
26. Natural Theory / C. Causation / 8. Particular Causation / d. Selecting the cause
An alien might think oxygen was the main cause of a forest fire [Putnam]
26. Natural Theory / D. Laws of Nature / 8. Scientific Essentialism / a. Scientific essentialism
If causes are the essence of diseases, then disease is an example of a relational essence [Putnam, by Williams,NE]
Archimedes meant by 'gold' the hidden structure or essence of the stuff [Putnam]
26. Natural Theory / D. Laws of Nature / 8. Scientific Essentialism / b. Scientific necessity
If water is H2O in the actual world, there is no possible world where it isn't H2O [Putnam]