Interpreting Putnam's dialectical method in philosophy

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Hilary Putnam's philosophical views have undergone extensive interpretation over many years. One such interpretive work is George Myerson's book Rhetoric, Reason and Society. Myerson's interest in dialogic rationalism leads him to examine the views of many theorists of rationality, philosophers and non-philosophers alike. As a prominent philosopher of rationality, Putnam is at the very center of this examination. Notwithstanding this fact, I contend that Myerson misinterprets the dialectical character of Putnam's philosophy in general and of Putnam's views on rationality in particular. This misinterpretation, I argue, is revealing of an illusion of thought to which Myerson is subject, an illusion that makes it seem that it is possible to theorize intelligibly about rationality from a metaphysical standpoint. This same illusion, I claim, also makes it seem that Myerson's positive views on rationality are intelligible. Employing a close textual analysis of Myerson's book, I argue that neither scenario is the case. 2005.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)476-489
Number of pages14
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Dialectic
  • Dialogic rationalism
  • George Myerson
  • Hilary Putnam
  • Intelligibility
  • Metaphysical standpoint
  • Positivism
  • Rationality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Philosophy


Dive into the research topics of 'Interpreting Putnam's dialectical method in philosophy'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this