American philosopher, born in 1926. He studied at the universities of Pennsylvania, Harvard and California, where he got the title of Doctor in 1951. He is Professor at Harvard since 1965.
A first period can be distinguished in the philosophy of Putnam, in which, without abandoning the analytical tradition, adopt positions that are opposed to certain attitudes of extreme, as for example to the strict opposition between nominalism and realism, between conventionality and realism, between analytic and synthetic, etc. However, it is not nor a defense of eclectic, moderate or intermediate positions; Putnam believes that all attitudes must have analysis, result of which points of view free of prejudices that do not match the Orthodox attitudes, or the "neoortodoxas" can be obtained. The attitude of Putnam can be considered generally gently empiricist and materialist; in any case, in any way innatista or Mentalist. However, this attitude always relies on the study of conceptual structures subjected to perpetual revision.
The Putnam position from 1976 is considerably different to that kept in that first stage. Since then, he has defended a position he called "internal realism" or "pragmatic realism". It is to defend the possibility of an objective knowledge but denying however that it can give priority to any of the descriptions of the world, since none of them can constitute the description of things as they are in themselves.
His key works include the Philosophical Papers, in three volumes: I. Matehematics, Matter and Method (1975); II. Mind, Language and Reality (1975); III. Realism and Reason (1983). Other works are: Philosophy of Logic (1972); Meaning and the Moral Sciences (1978); Reason, Truth and History (1981); The Many Faces of Realism (1987); Representation and Reality (1989); Realism with a Human Face (1990); and Islamic Philosophy (1992). Is also the author of the articles "Meaning of 'Meaning'" (1975), "Philosophy of Mathematics: a Report" (1979), "What is Innate and Why: Comments on the Debate" (1980), "Why isn't a ready-made World?" (1982), and "Why Reason can't Be Naturalized" (1982).