Putnam’s Alethic Pluralism and the Fact-Value Dichotomy

European Journal of Pragmatism and American Philosophy 13 (2):1-16 (2021)
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Abstract

Hilary Putnam spent much of his career criticizing the fact/value dichotomy, and this became apparent already during the phase when he defended internal realism. He later changed his epistemological and metaphysical view by endorsing natural realism, with the consequence of embracing alethic pluralism, the idea that truth works differently in various discourse domains. Despite these changes of mind in epistemology and in theory of truth, Putnam went on criticizing the fact/value dichotomy. However, alethic pluralism entails drawing distinctions among discourse domains, especially between factual and nonfactual domains, and these distinctions are in tension with the rejection of the fact/value dichotomy, as this would in principle hinder factual domains as genuine. This issue raises, prima facie, some doubts about the effective compatibility of these views.

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Pietro Salis
Universita di Cagliari

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