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Hilary Putnam on Realism and Relativism

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  1. Introduction
  2. Explaining Putnam's views on realism and relativism
  3. Putnam differing from descriptive relativism
  4. Putnam application his theory of relativism to every property
    1. Humans going against their natural and most innate beliefs
    2. Turning his very argument for relativism against him
  5. Conclusion

Perhaps one of the most widely and longest-held issues that have been debated in the study of philosophy, is that of the dispute over the way in which we as humans can accurately describe the external world with regards to our everyday lives. Philosophers range in opinion from a view in accordance with that of George Berkeley and Bertrand Russell--who believe that we receive knowledge about the external world from our sense experience of a sole, correct picture of reality--to those who agree with skeptics such as Peter Unger--who insist that nobody can ever know that anything is so. Hilary Putnam tends to avoid either view by claiming a somewhat unique position, which allegedly evades both ?descriptive relativism' and ?radical cultural relativism'. He in turn maintains that respective ways of describing the world are equally accurate; because there is no ?conceptually neutral description of the world?. Putnam's argument, I feel, lays the ground for accepting his view, and with sufficient evidence and explanation can persuade his readers to take his stance.

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