Putnam's Critique of the Fact/Value Dichotomy

source: Philosophical Overdose    2016年7月31日
Professor Hilary Putnam gives a lecture titled "The fact/value dichotomy and its critics" at UCD in March 2007. The question "Is that supposed to be a fact or a value judgment?" is a familiar one that arises in everyday life. The presupposition seems to be that if something is a value judgment, then it cannot possibly be a statement of fact, and that value judgments are merely subjective. But is this right? Putnam attacks this dichotomy, arguing that we have no clear unproblematic notion of "fact", and that facts and values are essentially entangled with one another, even within science. He draws on the work of people like Quine with his attack on the analytic-synthetic distinction to help make his case. The fact-value dichotomy was crucial for the logical positivists and such emotivist approaches to ethics, making values and morals non-cognitive and outside the sphere of rationality altogether. Putnam argues that the dichotomy has also been culturally influential and has had an impact on society with various economic and social policies.
Hilary Putnam (1926-2016) was an American philosopher, mathematician, and computer scientist who was a central figure in analytic philosophy. He made important contributions in many areas, including logic, philosophy of mind, philosophy of language, epistemology, philosophy of science, and mathematics.
Putnam's "Reason, Truth, and History" is a great work and has a few chapters which deal with these issues on rationality and the fact-value dichotomy. The book can be found here: https://ia902606.us.archive.org/23/it...

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