Hilary Whitehall Putnam was an American philosopher and computer scientist, a major figure in analytic philosophy in the second half of the 20th century. He made significant contributions to philosophy of mind, philosophy of language, philosophy of mathematics, philosophy of science. At the time of his death, Putnam was Cogan University Professor Emeritus at Harvard University, he was known for his willingness to apply an equal degree of scrutiny to his own philosophical positions as to those of others, subjecting each position to rigorous analysis until he exposed its flaws. As a result, he acquired a reputation for changing his own position. In philosophy of mind, Putnam is known for his argument against the type-identity of mental and physical states based on his hypothesis of the multiple realizability of the mental, for the concept of functionalism, an influential theory regarding the mind–body problem. In philosophy of language, along with Saul Kripke and others, he developed the causal theory of reference, formulated an original theory of meaning, introducing the notion of semantic externalism based on a famous thought experiment called Twin Earth.
In philosophy of mathematics, he and his mentor W. V. O. Quine developed the "Quine–Putnam indispensability thesis", an argument for the reality of mathematical entities espousing the view that mathematics is not purely logical, but "quasi-empirical". In the field of epistemology, he is known for his critique of the well known "brain in a vat" thought experiment; this thought experiment appears to provide a powerful argument for epistemological skepticism, but Putnam challenges its coherence. In metaphysics, he espoused a position called metaphysical realism, but became one of its most outspoken critics, first adopting a view he called "internal realism", which he abandoned. Despite these changes of view, throughout his career he remained committed to scientific realism the view that mature scientific theories are true descriptions of ways things are. In the philosophy of perception Putnam came to endorse direct realism, according to which perceptual experiences directly present one with the external world.
In the past, he further held that there are no mental representations, sense data, or other intermediaries that stand between the mind and the world. By 2012, however, he rejected this further commitment, in favor of "transactionalism", a view that accepts both that perceptual experiences are world-involving transactions, that these transactions are functionally describable; such transactions can further involve qualia. In his work, Putnam became interested in American pragmatism, Jewish philosophy, ethics, thus engaging with a wider array of philosophical traditions, he displayed an interest in metaphilosophy, seeking to "renew philosophy" from what he identifies as narrow and inflated concerns. Outside philosophy, Putnam contributed to mathematics and computer science. Together with Martin Davis he developed the Davis–Putnam algorithm for the Boolean satisfiability problem and he helped demonstrate the unsolvability of Hilbert's tenth problem, he was at times a politically controversial figure for his involvement with the Progressive Labor Party in the late 1960s and early 1970s.
Putnam was born in Chicago, Illinois, in 1926. His father, Samuel Putnam, was a scholar of Romance languages and translator who wrote for the Daily Worker, a publication of the American Communist Party, from 1936 to 1946; as a result of his father's commitment to communism, Putnam had a secular upbringing, although his mother, was Jewish. The family lived in France until 1934, when they returned to the United States, settling in Philadelphia. Putnam attended Central High School; the two remained friends—and intellectual opponents—for the rest of Putnam's life. Putnam studied philosophy at the University of Pennsylvania, receiving his B. A. degree and becoming a member of the Philomathean Society, the oldest continually-existing collegiate literary society in the United States. He went on to do graduate work in philosophy at Harvard University, at UCLA's Philosophy Department, where he received his Ph. D. in 1951 for a dissertation entitled The Meaning of the Concept of Probability in Application to Finite Sequences.
Putnam's teacher Hans Reichenbach was a leading figure in logical positivism, the dominant school of philosophy of the day. After teaching at Northwestern, MIT, he moved to Harvard in 1965, his wife, the philosopher Ruth Anna Putnam, took a teaching position in philosophy at Wellesley College. Hilary and Ruth Anna were married on August 11, 1962. Ruth Anna, descendant of a family with a long scholarly tradition in Gotha, was born in Berlin, Germany, in 1927 to anti-Nazi political-activist parents and, like Putnam himself, she was raised an atheist. Putnam was an atheist; the Putnams, rebelling against the antisemitism that they had experienced during their youth, decided to establish a traditional Jewish home for their children. Since they had no experience with the rituals of Judaism, they sought out invitations to other Jews' homes f
Bertrand Arthur William Russell, 3rd Earl Russell, was a British philosopher, mathematician, writer, social critic, political activist, Nobel laureate. At various points in his life, Russell considered himself a liberal, a socialist and a pacifist, although he confessed that his skeptical nature had led him to feel that he had "never been any of these things, in any profound sense." Russell was born in Monmouthshire into one of the most prominent aristocratic families in the United Kingdom. In the early 20th century, Russell led the British "revolt against idealism", he is considered one of the founders of analytic philosophy along with his predecessor Gottlob Frege, colleague G. E. Moore and protégé Ludwig Wittgenstein, he is held to be one of the 20th century's premier logicians. With A. N. Whitehead he wrote Principia Mathematica, an attempt to create a logical basis for mathematics, the quintessential work of classical logic, his philosophical essay "On Denoting" has been considered a "paradigm of philosophy".
His work has had a considerable influence on mathematics, set theory, artificial intelligence, cognitive science, computer science and philosophy the philosophy of language and metaphysics. Russell was a prominent anti-war activist and he championed anti-imperialism, he advocated preventive nuclear war, before the opportunity provided by the atomic monopoly had passed and "welcomed with enthusiasm" world government. He went to prison for his pacifism during World War I. Russell concluded that war against Adolf Hitler's Nazi Germany was a necessary "lesser of two evils" and criticised Stalinist totalitarianism, attacked the involvement of the United States in the Vietnam War and was an outspoken proponent of nuclear disarmament. In 1950, Russell was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature "in recognition of his varied and significant writings in which he champions humanitarian ideals and freedom of thought". Bertrand Russell was born on 18 May 1872 at Ravenscroft, Monmouthshire, into an influential and liberal family of the British aristocracy.
His parents and Viscountess Amberley, were radical for their times. Lord Amberley consented to his wife's affair with their children's tutor, the biologist Douglas Spalding. Both were early advocates of birth control at a time. Lord Amberley was an atheist and his atheism was evident when he asked the philosopher John Stuart Mill to act as Russell's secular godfather. Mill died the year after Russell's birth, his paternal grandfather, the Earl Russell, had been asked twice by Queen Victoria to form a government, serving her as Prime Minister in the 1840s and 1860s. The Russells had been prominent in England for several centuries before this, coming to power and the peerage with the rise of the Tudor dynasty, they established themselves as one of the leading British Whig families, participated in every great political event from the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1536–1540 to the Glorious Revolution in 1688–1689 and the Great Reform Act in 1832. Lady Amberley was Lady Stanley of Alderley. Russell feared the ridicule of his maternal grandmother, one of the campaigners for education of women.
Russell had two siblings: brother Frank, sister Rachel. In June 1874 Russell's mother died followed shortly by Rachel's death. In January 1876, his father died of bronchitis following a long period of depression. Frank and Bertrand were placed in the care of their staunchly Victorian paternal grandparents, who lived at Pembroke Lodge in Richmond Park, his grandfather, former Prime Minister Earl Russell, died in 1878, was remembered by Russell as a kindly old man in a wheelchair. His grandmother, the Countess Russell, was the dominant family figure for the rest of Russell's childhood and youth; the countess was from a Scottish Presbyterian family, petitioned the Court of Chancery to set aside a provision in Amberley's will requiring the children to be raised as agnostics. Despite her religious conservatism, she held progressive views in other areas, her influence on Bertrand Russell's outlook on social justice and standing up for principle remained with him throughout his life, her favourite Bible verse, became his motto.
The atmosphere at Pembroke Lodge was one of frequent prayer, emotional repression, formality. Russell's adolescence was lonely, he contemplated suicide, he remarked in his autobiography that his keenest interests were in religion and mathematics, that only his wish to know more mathematics kept him from suicide. He was educated at home by a series of tutors; when Russell was eleven years old, his brother Frank introduced him to the work of Euclid, which he described in his autobiography as "one of the great events of my life, as dazzling as first love."During these formative years he discovered the works of Percy Bysshe Shelley. Russell wrote: "I spent all my spare time reading him, learning him by heart, knowing no one to whom I could speak of what I thought or felt, I used to reflect how wonderful it would have been to know Shelley, to wonder whether
A. J. Ayer
Sir Alfred Jules "Freddie" Ayer cited as A. J. Ayer, was an English philosopher known for his promotion of logical positivism in his books Language and Logic and The Problem of Knowledge, he was educated at Eton College and Oxford University, after which he studied the philosophy of logical positivism at the University of Vienna. From 1933 to 1940 he lectured on philosophy at Oxford. During the Second World War Ayer was a Special Operations Executive and MI6 agent, he was Grote Professor of the Philosophy of Mind and Logic at University College London from 1946 until 1959, after which he returned to Oxford to become Wykeham Professor of Logic at New College. He was president of the Aristotelian Society from 1951 to 1952 and knighted in 1970, he was known for his advocacy of humanism, was the second President of the British Humanist Association. Ayer was born in St John's Wood, in north west London, to a wealthy family from continental Europe, his mother, Reine Citroën, was from the Dutch-Jewish family who founded the Citroën car company in France.
His father, Jules Ayer, was a Swiss Calvinist financier. Ayer was educated at Ascham St Vincent's School, a former boarding preparatory school for boys in the seaside town of Eastbourne in Sussex, in which he started boarding at the comparatively early age of seven for reasons to do with the First World War, Eton College, a boarding school in Eton in Berkshire, it was at Eton that Ayer first became known for his characteristic precocity. Although interested in furthering his intellectual pursuits, he was keen on sports rugby, reputedly played the Eton Wall Game well. In the final examinations at Eton, Ayer came second in his year, first in classics. In his final year, as a member of Eton's senior council, he unsuccessfully campaigned for the abolition of corporal punishment at the school, he won a classics scholarship to Oxford. After graduation from Oxford University Ayer spent a year in Vienna, returned to England and published his first book, Language and Logic in 1936; the first exposition in English of Logical Positivism as newly developed by the Vienna Circle, this made Ayer at age 26 the'enfant terrible' of British philosophy.
In the Second World War he served as an officer in the Welsh Guards, chiefly in intelligence. Ayer was commissioned second lieutenant into the Welsh Guards from Officer Cadet Training Unit on 21 September 1940. After the war he returned to Oxford University where he became a fellow and Dean of Wadham College, he thereafter taught philosophy at London University from 1946 until 1959, when he started to appear on radio and television. He was an extrovert and social mixer who liked dancing and attending the clubs in London and New York, he was obsessed with sport: he had played rugby for Eton, was a noted cricketer and a keen supporter of Tottenham Hotspur football team, where he was for many years a season ticket holder. For an academic, Ayer was an unusually well-connected figure in his time, with close links to'high society' and the establishment. Presiding over Oxford high-tables, he is described as charming, but at times he could be intimidating. Ayer was married four times to three women, his first marriage was from 1932–1941 to Renée, who subsequently married philosopher Stuart Hampshire, Ayer's friend and colleague.
In 1960 he married Alberta Constance Wells. Ayer's marriage to Wells was dissolved in 1983 and that same year he married Vanessa Salmon, former wife of politician Nigel Lawson, she died in 1985 and in 1989 he remarried Dee Wells, who survived him. Ayer had a daughter with Hollywood columnist Sheilah Graham Westbrook. From 1959 to his retirement in 1978, Sir Alfred held the Wykeham Chair, Professor of Logic at Oxford, he was knighted in 1970. After his retirement, Ayer taught or lectured several times in the United States, including serving as a visiting professor at Bard College in the fall of 1987. At a party that same year held by fashion designer Fernando Sanchez, Ayer 77, confronted Mike Tyson, forcing himself upon the little-known model Naomi Campbell; when Ayer demanded that Tyson stop, the boxer asked, "Do you know who the fuck I am? I'm the heavyweight champion of the world," to which Ayer replied, "And I am the former Wykeham Professor of Logic. We are both pre-eminent in our field. I suggest that we talk about this like rational men".
Ayer and Tyson began to talk, allowing Campbell to slip out. In 1988, one year before his death, Ayer wrote an article entitled, "What I saw when I was dead", describing an unusual near-death experience. Of the experience, Ayer first said that it "slightly weakened my conviction that my genuine death... will be the end of me, though I continue to hope that it will be." However, a few days he revised this, saying "what I should have said is that my experiences have weakened, not my belief that there is no life after death, but my inflexible attitude towards that belief". Ayer died on 27 June 1989. From 1980 to 1989, Ayer lived at 51 York Street, where a memorial plaque was unveiled on 19 November 1995. In Language and Logic, Ayer presents the verification principle as the only valid basis for philosophy. Unless logical or empirical verification is possible, statements like "God exists" or "charity is good" are not true or untrue but meaningless, may thus be excluded or ignored. Religious language in particular was unverifiable and as such nonsense.
He criticises C. A. Mace's opini
In philosophy of mind, naïve realism known as direct realism, common sense realism or perceptual realism, is the idea that the senses provide us with direct awareness of objects as they are. Objects obey the laws of physics and retain all their properties whether or not there is anyone to observe them, they are composed of matter, occupy space and have properties, such as size, texture, smell and colour, that are perceived correctly. In contrast, some forms of idealism claim that no world exists apart from mind-dependent ideas, some forms of skepticism say we cannot trust our senses. Naïve realism is known as direct as against indirect or representational realism when its arguments are developed to counter the latter position known as epistemological dualism. For a history of direct realist theories, see Direct and indirect realism § History; the naïve realist theory may be characterized as the acceptance of the following five beliefs: There exists a world of material objects Some statements about these objects can be known to be true through sense-experience These objects exist not only when they are being perceived but when they are not perceived.
The objects of perception are perception-independent. These objects are able to retain properties of the types we perceive them as having when they are not being perceived, their properties are perception-independent. By means of our senses, we perceive the world directly, pretty much as it is. In the main, our claims to have knowledge of it are justified."In the area of visual perception in psychology, the leading direct realist theorist was J. J. Gibson. Other psychologists were influenced by this approach, including William Mace, Claire Michaels, Edward Reed, Robert Shaw, Michael Turvey. More Carol Fowler has promoted a direct realist approach to speech perception. Among contemporary analytic philosophers who defended direct realism one might refer to, for example, Hilary Putnam, John McDowell, Galen Strawson, John R. Searle, John L. Pollock. Searle, for instance, addresses the popular but mistaken assumption that we can only directly perceive our own subjective experiences, but never objects and states of affairs in the world themselves.
According to Searle, it has influenced many thinkers to reject direct realism. But Searle contends that the rejection of direct realism is based on a bad argument: the Argument from illusion, which in turn relies on vague assumptions on the nature or existence of "sense data". Various sense data theories were deconstructed in 1962 by the British philosopher J. L. Austin in a book titled Sense and Sensibilia. Talk of sense data has been replaced by talk of representational perception in a broader sense, scientific realists assume representational perception, but the assumption is philosophical, arguably little prevents scientific realists from assuming direct perception, as in direct or "naïve" realism. In a blog-post on "Naive realism and color realism" Putnam sums up with the following words: "... Being an apple is not a natural kind in physics. Being complex and of no interest to fundamental physics isn't a failure to be "real". I think green is as real as applehood.". Simon Blackburn has argued that whatever positions they may take in books, articles or lectures, naive realism is the view of "philosophers when they are off-duty."
It is not uncommon to think of naïve realism as distinct from scientific realism, which states that the universe contains just those properties that feature in a scientific description of it, not properties like colour per se but objects that reflect certain wavelengths owing to their microscopic surface texture. This lack of supervenience of experience on the physical world has influenced many thinkers to reject naïve realism as a physical theory. One should add, that naïve realism does not claim that reality is only what we see, etc. Scientific realism does not claim that reality is only what can be described by fundamental physics, it follows that the relevant distinction to make is not between naïve and scientific realism but between direct and indirect realism. The direct realist claims that the experience of a sunset, for instance, is the real sunset that we directly experience; the indirect realist claims that our relation to reality is indirect, so the experience of a sunset is a subjective copy of what is radiation as described by physics.
But the direct realist does not deny. An example of a scientific realist is John Locke, who held the world only contains the primary qualities that feature in a corpuscularian scientific account of the world, that other properties were subjective, depending for their existence upon some perceiver who can observe the objects."The modern philosopher of science Howard Sankey argues for a form of scientific realism which has commonsense realism as one of its foundations. Realism in physics refers to the fact that physical systems must have definite properties when measured or observed. Physics until the 19th century was implicitly and sometimes explicitly based on philosophical realism. Scientific realism in classical physics has remained compatible with the naïve realism of everyday thinking on the whole, but there is no consistent way to visualize the world underlying quantum theory in terms of ideas of the everyday world. "The general conclusion is that in quantum theory naïve realism, although necessary at the level of observations, fails at the microscopic level."
G. E. Moore
George Edward Moore was an English philosopher. He was, with Bertrand Russell, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Gottlob Frege, one of the founders of the analytic tradition in philosophy. Along with Russell, he led the turn away from idealism in British philosophy, became well known for his advocacy of common sense concepts, his contributions to ethics and metaphysics, "his exceptional personality and moral character", he was Professor of Philosophy at the University of Cambridge influential among the Bloomsbury Group, the editor of the influential journal Mind. He was elected a fellow of the British Academy in 1918, he was a member of the Cambridge Apostles, the intellectual secret society, from 1894 to 1901, the Cambridge University Moral Sciences Club. Moore was born in Upper Norwood, Greater London, on 4 November 1873, the middle child of seven of Dr Daniel Moore and Henrietta Sturge, his grandfather was the author Dr George Moore. His eldest brother was Thomas Sturge Moore, a poet and engraver, he was educated at Dulwich College and in 1892 went up to Trinity College, Cambridge to study classics and moral sciences.
He became a Fellow of Trinity in 1898, went on to hold the University of Cambridge chair of Mental Philosophy and Logic, from 1925 to 1939. Moore is best known today for his defence of ethical non-naturalism, his emphasis on common sense in philosophical method, the paradox that bears his name, he was admired by and influential among other philosophers, by the Bloomsbury Group, but is unknown today outside of academic philosophy. Moore's essays are known for their clear, circumspect writing style, for his methodical and patient approach to philosophical problems, he was critical of modern philosophy for its lack of progress, which he believed was in stark contrast to the dramatic advances in the natural sciences since the Renaissance. Among Moore's most famous works are his book Principia Ethica, his essays, "The Refutation of Idealism", "A Defence of Common Sense", "A Proof of the External World", he was president of the Aristotelian Society from 1918-19. Paul Levy wrote in Moore: G. E. Moore and the Cambridge Apostles that Moore was an important member of the secretive Cambridge Apostles.
G. E. Moore died on 24 October 1958. Together they had the poet Nicholas Moore and the composer Timothy Moore, his influential work Principia Ethica is one of the main inspirations of the movement against ethical naturalism and is responsible for the twentieth-century concern with meta-ethics. Moore asserted that philosophical arguments can suffer from a confusion between the use of a term in a particular argument and the definition of that term, he named this confusion the naturalistic fallacy. For example, an ethical argument may claim that if a thing has certain properties that thing is'good.' A hedonist may argue that ` pleasant' things. Other theorists may argue. Moore contends that if such arguments are correct, they do not provide definitions for the term'good.' The property of'goodness' cannot be defined. It can only be grasped. Any attempt to define it will shift the problem. Moore's argument for the indefinability of "good" is called the open-question argument; the argument hinges on the nature of statements such as "Anything, pleasant is good" and the possibility of asking questions such as "Is it good that x is pleasant?"
According to Moore, these questions are open and these statements are significant. Moore concludes from this. In other words, if value could be analysed such questions and statements would be trivial and obvious. Since they are anything but trivial and obvious, value must be indefinable. Critics of Moore's arguments sometimes claim that he is appealing to general puzzles concerning analysis, rather than revealing anything special about value; the argument depends on the assumption that if "good" were definable, it would be an analytic truth about "good," an assumption many contemporary moral realists like Richard Boyd and Peter Railton reject. Other responses appeal to the Fregean distinction between sense and reference, allowing that value concepts are special and sui generis, but insisting that value properties are nothing but natural properties. Moore contended. In Principia Ethica, he writes: It may be true that all things which are good are something else, just as it is true that all things which are yellow produce a certain kind of vibration in the light.
And it is a fact, that Ethics aims at discovering what are those other properties belonging to all things which are good. But far too many philosophers have thought that when they named those other properties they were defining good. Therefore, we cannot define "good" by explaining it in other words. We can only point to an ac