0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.
There is no God’s Eye View of RealityThus spake Mr. Hilary Putnam in Reason, Truth, and History.Putnam speaks of metaphysical realism and objectivism, from both an externalist and an internalist point of view. Objectivism is a special case of metaphysical realism. Putnam argues that metaphysical realism is incoherent from an internalist perspective. This incoherence results from the impossibility of the externalist view; one cannot place the self outside of reality in order to find a unique perspective in which to view reality.Putnam shows that the externalist view is logically impossible because metaphysical realism is formulated within symbol systems. “The metaphysical realist views of meaning, reference, knowledge, and understanding all make presuppositions about symbol systems and their interpretations that are logically incoherent.” Putnam argues that there cannot be “exactly one true and complete description of the ‘the way the world is’…there can be no God’s eye view of reality”.Putnam is not arguing that there is no reality, i.e. basic realism, but only that the epistemology of the externalist view is logically incoherent. The problem rests on the assumption of the availability of a “God’s eye view”, which is inherent in the externalist perspective. We can not step outside of reality, we are part of reality. What is needed is an internalist view of reality, i.e. we must develop an epistemology that recognizes that we are functioning as part of reality and that it is impossible for us to just step outside and become an observer with a God’s eye point of view.In place of metaphysical realism Putnam proposes another form of realism: internalist realism wherein we take a point of view in accordance with the human functioning within the world of objects and not externally from the object. To quote Putnam:“I shall refer to it as the internalist perspective, because it is characteristic of this view to hold that what objects the world consists of? is a question that it only makes sense to ask within a theory of description…‘Truth’, in an internalist view, is some sort of (idealized) rational acceptability—some sort of ideal coherence of our beliefs with each other and with our experiences as those experiences are themselves represented in our belief system—and not correspondence with mind-independent ‘states of affairs’. There is no God’s Eye point of view that we can know or usefully imagine; there are only various points of view of actual persons reflecting various interests and purposes that their descriptions and theories subserve.”