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The Collapse of the Fact/Value Dichotomy and Other Essays

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$29.50 • £23.95 • €26.50

ISBN 9780674013803

Publication: March 2004


208 pages

5-1/4 x 8 inches


Hume’s and much 20th-century moral philosophy contrasted moral with factual judgments and led people to conclude that the former, unlike the latter, are subjective in the sense of not being rationally supportable. Putnam…believes that the contrast is ill conceived and that the conclusion is both unwarranted and false. He acknowledges the usefulness of the fact/value distinction but denies that anything metaphysical follows from it… Putnam covers such matters as imperative logic, economics vis-à-vis ethics, and preference theory and such thinkers as V. Walsh, L. Robbins, and R.M. Hare. A fine philosophical workout.—Robert Hoffman, Library Journal

In this bold, energetic, and extensive work, Putnam undertakes a revitalization of philosophy. He wants to put philosophy back in touch with the ‘human issues which it has always been philosophy’s highest goal to articulate’… This is exciting and engaging stuff, and anyone with an interest in philosophy, at whatever level, will enjoy it and learn from it.—Martha Nussbaum, The University of Chicago

This is an excellent collection on a very important issue… These are also very useful contributions, because they guide the reader, particularly the general reader, who is not an expert in either philosophy or science or economics, around the issue, so that one sees its contours, what connects with what, how it ramifies out through different disciplines. The collection as a whole thus fulfils two rather different functions: (a) bringing new and original arguments to bear against the erroneous thesis that there is a dichotomy between fact and value, and (b) guiding the reader around the contours of the issue and pointing to interesting relevant arguments developed elsewhere by others.—Charles Taylor, McGill University