more from Hilary Putnam

Single Idea 6268

[catalogued under 19. Language / B. Reference / 4. Descriptive Reference / b. Reference by description]

Full Idea

The line of reasoning of Kuhn and Feyerabend can be blocked by arguing (as I have in various places, and as Saul Kripke has) that scientific terms are not synonymous with descriptions.

Gist of Idea

The claim that scientific terms are incommensurable can be blocked if scientific terms are not descriptions


Hilary Putnam (Meaning and the Moral Sciences [1978], Lec II.2)

Book Reference

Putnam,Hilary: 'Meaning and the Moral Sciences' [RKP 1981], p.23

A Reaction

A nice clear statement of the motivation for creating the causal theory of reference. See Idea 6162. We could still go back and ask whether we could block scientific relativism by rethinking how descriptions work, instead of abandoning them.

Related Idea

Idea 6162 Kuhn has a description theory of reference, so the reference of 'electron' changes with the descriptions [Rowlands on Kuhn]