[Postponed] APSE-Talk: Paul Giladi - "Putnam on ‘The Last Dogma of Empiricism’: From Auto da Fé to Epistemic Disobedience?"

16th November

When: Thursday, 16th of November 2023, 15:00 - 17:00
Where: HS 3A, NIG

We are excited to welcome as our next speaker Dr. Paul Giladi, Lecturer in Philosophy at the School of History, Religions, and Philosophies, SOAS University of London.

He will give a talk titled "Putnam on ‘The Last Dogma of Empiricism’: From Auto da Fé to Epistemic Disobedience?"

In this chapter, I argue that the principal philosophic depth of Hilary Putnam’s dissolution of the fact/value dichotomy (FVD) is neither sourced in his argument that theory selection always presupposes values, nor in his argument that there is entanglement of fact and value in our use of thick ethical concepts. Rather, the principal philosophic depth mainly resides in Putnam’s charge that mainstream analytic philosophical circles often fetishize (scientific) naturalism. Putnam’s anti-scientism, more so than either of his entanglement theses, provides his readers with reason to regard FVD as a type of ideology. Because of its status as an ideology, and as therefore in the business of hegemonic sense-making, FVD is made sense of as a real threat to inquiry, insofar as FVD renders inquiry undemocratic by valorizing simplicity over complexity, cleanliness over messiness, dry deserts over lush landscapes. Putnam’s own ‘post-analytic’ pragmatist position never ostensibly espoused any
critical theoretic attitude toward modernity – let alone formulated Ideologiekritik. Nevertheless, I think his 21st-century articulations of his conceptual pluralism may be said to display more resonance with the decolonial concept of epistemic disobedience than with a ‘post-analytic’ tradition Putnam himself explicitly endorsed in
his final decade: liberal naturalism. I conclude that even though Putnam’s anti-scientistic defence of mathematically recalcitrant phenomena may be more radical than liberal naturalist defences of such phenomena, Putnam should be viewed as ultimately more epistemically mischievous than epistemically disobedient.