Re: Putnam’s Introduction to Ethics Without Ontology
In this post, I’ll briefly discuss the main moves made by Putnam in the introductory chapter. I’ll focus on some of the things that struck me as interesting or provocative.
On the first page of the Introduction, Putnam writes, "I believe that the unfortunate division of contemporary philosophy into seperate "fields" … often conceals the way in which the very same arguments and issues arise in field after field. For example, arguments for "antirealism" in ethics are virtually identical with arguments for "antirealism" in the philosophy of mathematics."
First question: is this true? How similar are the arguments for anti-realism wrt ethical claims to arguments for anti-realism wrt to mathematical claims?
One kind of anti-realist argument wrt to ethics is the culural relativist style argument. Is there an analogous argument wrt mathematics that has enjoyed an analogous amount of attention or popularity?
One kind of anti-realist argument wrt mathematics is based on worries about our epistemic access to causally isolated mathematical entities. Is there an analgous argument wrt ethics that has enjoyed an analogous amount of attention or popularity?
These questions are not rhetorical. I’m curious about whether similar arguments for anti-realism in both domains have been actually raised.