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Internal Realism, Truth and Understanding

Gordon Steinhoff
PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association
Vol. 1986, Volume One: Contributed Papers (1986), pp. 352-363
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/193136
Page Count: 12
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Internal Realism, Truth and Understanding
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Abstract

Putnam presents a Peircean characterization of truth in an attempt to avoid relativism, which he argues is incoherent. I argue that Putnam has not avoided relativism. According to Putnam's theory of understanding, we must understand all claims concerning a Peircean community in terms of our own experiences and in terms of our own standards of rational assertability. Truth simply collapses into warranted assertability. At this point Putnam appeals to the objectivity of our standards of assertability. But Putnam's notion of "objectivity for us" is a notion of objectivity which the relativist can happily adopt. Putnam's failure to provide more than a superficial distinction between internal realism and relativism means that internal realism faces the same problems which Putnam directs at "self-refuting" relativism.

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