[hist-analytic] Putnam, Kripke, Kant etc.

Baynesr at comcast.net Baynesr at comcast.net
Mon Nov 2 12:09:42 EST 2009

Sorry for not posting sooner, but I spent my weekend trying to figure out 
how to get one file to another place on my webmaking what-cha-call-it. 
Slow going; Kant is easier, I'm afraid. However, a couple of philosophical 

First, before proceeding with Aune's book, I want to look at Putnam's 
excellent essay "Reds, Greens, and Logical Analysis" Phil. Review, (1956) 
pp. 206-217. This is a tricky little essay. Putnam, as you all know, is 
a first class logician. This is all the more reason for persons interested 
in "general philosophy" (the term is Russell's) to be cautious. I'm going 
to allege that Putnam begs the question in the early going and that his 
project doesn't succeed. Much depends on his reliance on the transitivity 
of "x is exactly the same color as y." At this point (I may change my mind), 
I believe this is a fatal error and begs the question. I could post Putnam's 
paper, but since leaving the Boston area I have little or no access to 
Phil. Review. Even my limited JSTOR account will not allow it. The issue is 
not legal etc. One other thing. 

People still thinking about Kripke and the meter stick might consider 
whatever contrasts they find between two kinds of identities. The first 
is Hesperus is Phosphorus. The second is 'The meter stick in Paris is 
39.37 inches long'. If these are both identity statements, then there 
are going to be some problems. It will turn out, if I am right, that 
the second is no more a valid identity that the identity of pain and 
C-fiber stimulation. More on that later. I want to emphasize that I do 
buy into rigid designation as a thesis about counterfactuals. Kripke's 
"intuitive test" for rigidity is met here and I think his point is valid: 
When I speak of Aristotle counterfactually I am speaking of that very 
man; not a counterpart etc. This demands something like rigidity; so 
the semantics of counterfactuals is the source of the strength of rigid 
designation. More, later, perhaps. 

Also, I've begun moves towards writing a full length manuscript on 
"Kant and the Logical Positivists." Kripke on rigidity is going to figure 
in here. Some of the best discussions of Kant and intuition appeared 
before Kripke's paper. People like Sellars and Manley Thompson. Thompson 
in particular has caught my attention lately. Sellar's work on Kant is, 
I think, superb only not as thorough say, as Allison etc, although Allison 
is, I think, the best commentator in English on Kant since Kemp-Smith. 
However, he is not "into" semantics. Which is, as far I'm concerned, "cool." 
Allison is a damned good philosopher! His book _Kant's Transcendental 
Idealism_, Yale, 1983 is, I think one of the very best things ever written 
in the history of philosophy. I read it a few years back and I'm definitely 
going to return once I use Aune as a refresher course in epistemology (and 
more besides) The paper I'll be examining by Thompson is his 1972 paper. 

"Singular Terms and Intuitions and Kant's Epistemology." Rev. of Metaphysics. 

Dec. 1972. no. 2, vol. XXXVI, pp. 314-344. I think I can get Rev of Met. people 

to allow webifying it; in the past they have been very helpful.For now a 

look at Putnam. The reason for this digression is that it seems 
to me that the strongest inducement to give Aune's book a close read is his 
discussion of the a priori and observational knowledge. So I want to be 
strong coming in on a discussion of the a priori, which I haven't touched 
seriously in about twenty years. So if anyone can get me Putnam's paper 
I'll put it up. 

I am reworking the front page of Hist-Analytic. It is proving laborious, 
but I think it will be far easier to navigate and "cleaner." 


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