Putnam on radical skepticism: Wittgenstein, Cavell, and occasion-sensitive semantics

Duncan Pritchard

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review

Abstract / Description of output

While there has been a lot of attention devoted to how Putnam ap-plies content externalism to the problem of radical scepticism, there has been considerably less attention paid to his other writings on this subject. This paper examines Putnam’s wider treatment of radical scepticism. It looks at his critiques of such figures as P.F. Strawson, Barry Stroud, and Michael Williams, and considers how, under the influence of Wittgenstein, Austin, Stanley Cavell, and (more recently) Charles Travis, Putnam has developed an anti-scepticalline that is built around an occasion-sensitive semantics. While taking a generally sympathetic line to Putnam’s anti-scepticism, it is also argued on broadly Wittgensteinian grounds (albeit the Wittgenstein of On Certainty, rather than that of the Philosophical Investigations, which is the primary concern of Putnamand his key influences) that the need to adopt such a semantics in order to respond to radical scepticism is significantly overstated.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEngaging Putnam
EditorsJames Conant, Sanjit Chakraborty
PublisherDe Gruyter
ISBN (Electronic)9783110769210, 9783110769340
ISBN (Print)9783110769166
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Publication series

NameBerlin Studies in Knowledge Research
ISSN (Print)2365-1601
ISSN (Electronic)2365-6573


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