more from Hilary Putnam

Single Idea 6274

[catalogued under 13. Knowledge Criteria / C. External Justification / 7. Testimony]

Full Idea

Empathy with others may give less than 'Knowledge', but it gives more than mere logical or physical possibility; it gives plausibility, or (to revive Platonic terminology) it provides 'right opinion'.

Gist of Idea

Empathy may not give knowledge, but it can give plausibility or right opinion


Hilary Putnam (Meaning and the Moral Sciences [1978], Lec VI)

Book Reference

Putnam,Hilary: 'Meaning and the Moral Sciences' [RKP 1981], p.75

A Reaction

See Ideas 174 and 2140 for Plato. Putnam is exploring areas of knowledge outside the limits of strict science. Behind this claim seems to lie the Principle of Charity (3971), but a gang of systematic liars (e.g. evil students) would be a problem case.

Related Ideas

Idea 174 True opinion without reason is midway between wisdom and ignorance [Plato]

Idea 2140 True belief without knowledge is like blind people on the right road [Plato]

Idea 3971 There is simply no alternative to the 'principle of charity' in interpreting what others do [Davidson]