Quine, Putnam, and the Naturalization of Metaphysics

Sander Verhaegh

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademic


    Naturalists argue that metaphysics ought to be in some sense continuous with science. Putnam has claimed that if we push naturalism to its limits, we have to conclude with Quine that reference is indeterminate. Since Putnam believes Quine’s thesis to be extremely counterintuitive, he regards naturalism to be an unsatisfactory approach to metaphysics. In this essay, I will show that Quine’s ideas about reference do not necessarily follow from his naturalism and that, as a result, Putnam’s reductio argument against naturalism breaks down. In addition, I will argue that Putnam’s pluralistic alternative to Quine’s views is perfectly compatible with a naturalistic perspective as well and that, in consequence, even for a naturalist the relation between science and metaphysics is less straightforward than it might initially seem to be.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationMetaphysics or Modernity?
    EditorsS. Baumgartner, T. Heisenberg, S. Krebs
    Place of PublicationBamberg
    PublisherBamberg University Press
    Number of pages21
    ISBN (Electronic)978-3-86309-181-1
    ISBN (Print)978-3-86309-180-4
    Publication statusPublished - 2014

    Publication series

    NameSchriften der Fakultät Geistes- und Kulturwissenschaften der Otto-Friedrich-Universität Bamberg
    PublisherUniversity of Bamberg Press
    ISSN (Print)1866-7627

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