[FOM] NEW POSTING: CORCORAN REVIEWS PUTNAM ON PHILOSOPHY OF LOGIC
corcoran at buffalo.edu
Sun Mar 20 17:34:32 EDT 2016
CORCORAN ON PUTNAM'S PHILOSOPHY OF LOGIC
Putnam, H., 1972. Philosophy of Logic. Reviewed in Philosophy of Science
40, 1973, 131-33.
Philosophers of science, not simply logicians, will find much of interest in
this book (despite its title). Within its extremely short length it provides
a substantive overview of the role of abstract entities in science and it
employs as many examples and arguments from physics as from mathematics and
logic. This is one of those rare books which is both elementary without
being trivial and sophisticated without either being overly intricate or
presupposing a vast background of knowledge. Students of logic and/or
philosophy of science will gain as much from this book as their
professors-but the students may not be able to appreciate the depth of the
thought that has gone into it.
>From one point of view the book can be seen as an essay-length argument
designed to show that modern versions of nominalism are intellectually
dishonest and antiscientific and that a rational and undogmatic acceptance
of modern science presupposes a realistic (platonistic) stance in regard to
abstract entities. But it is more as well. The first half includes a
critique of the Leblanc-Quine substitution conception of logical truth and
an argument against limiting the scope of logic to the first order. The
second half which can be read for the most part without the first half)
concerns the role of abstract entities in physics and higher mathematics and
it presents arguments against various attempts to "fictionalize" them and/or
to "eliminate" them from the ontology of modern science.
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