Putnam’s account of apriority and scientific change: its historical and contemporary interest

Synthese 176 (3):429-445 (2010)
Download Edit this record How to cite View on PhilPapers
Abstract
In the 1960s and 1970s, Hilary Putnam articulated a notion of relativized apriority that was motivated to address the problem of scientific change. This paper examines Putnam’s account in its historical context and in relation to contemporary views. I begin by locating Putnam’s analysis in the historical context of Quine’s rejection of apriority, presenting Putnam as a sympathetic commentator on Quine. Subsequently, I explicate Putnam’s positive account of apriority, focusing on his analysis of the history of physics and geometry. In the remainder of the paper, I explore connections between Putnam’s account of relativized a priori principles and contemporary views. In particular, I situate Putnam’s account in relation to analyses advanced by Michael Friedman, David Stump, and William Wimsatt. From this comparison, I address issues concerning whether a priori scientific principles are appropriately characterized as “constitutive” or “entrenched”. I argue that these two features need to be clearly distinguished, and that only the constitutive function is essential to apriority. By way of conclusion, I explore the relationship between the constitutive function of a priori principles and entrenchment.
ISBN(s)
PhilPapers/Archive ID
TSOPAO
Upload history
Archival date: 2021-03-09
View other versions
Added to PP index
2009-06-02

Total views
268 ( #24,636 of 64,057 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
51 ( #14,954 of 64,057 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads since first upload
This graph includes both downloads from PhilArchive and clicks on external links on PhilPapers.