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Putnam's ModelTheoretic Argument Reconstructed
 The Journal of Philosophy
, 1999
"... Among those addressed by Putnam's modeltheoretic argument it is common opinion that the argument is invalid because questionbegging. If the standard analysis of the argument is along the right lines, then what has been called the `just more theory move' is to be held responsible for this. In the p ..."
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Among those addressed by Putnam's modeltheoretic argument it is common opinion that the argument is invalid because questionbegging. If the standard analysis of the argument is along the right lines, then what has been called the `just more theory move' is to be held responsible for this. In the present paper, an alternative reading of Putnam's argument is o#ered that makes the `just more theory move' come out perfectly legitimate, and the argument as a whole valid. 1 Introduction Metaphysical realism has been the main subject of the critical part of Putnam's work for over twenty years now. At the heart of this doctrine, as presented by Putnam, is a thesis which we shall here call Methodological Fallibilism (MF). What it says is that even an epistemically ideal theory may fall short of truth, where the notion of truth involved is that of Correspondence Truth (CT). 1 Note that MF is not merely about epistemically ideal theories. The claim is that no empirical theory, no matter how...
Reflections on Skolem's Paradox
"... In 1922, Thoraf Skolem published a paper titled "Some remarks on Axiomatized Set Theory". The paper presents a new proof of... This dissertation focuses almost exclusively on the first half of this project  i.e., the half which tries to expose an initial tension between Cantor's theorem and the Lö ..."
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In 1922, Thoraf Skolem published a paper titled "Some remarks on Axiomatized Set Theory". The paper presents a new proof of... This dissertation focuses almost exclusively on the first half of this project  i.e., the half which tries to expose an initial tension between Cantor's theorem and the LöwenheimSkolem theorem. I argue that, even on quite naive understandings of set theory and model theory, there is no such tension. Hence, Skolem's Paradox is not a genuine paradox, and there is very little reason to worry about (or even to investigate) the more extreme consequences that are supposed to follow from this paradox. The heart of my...
Two arguments against realism
 In Preparation
"... Over the last 20 years or so, Hilary Putnam has developed a series of arguments which use basic theorems of model theory to undermine semantic realism. Here, I discuss two generalizations of these arguments. The first employs some new forms of model theory to generate substantially stronger conclusi ..."
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Over the last 20 years or so, Hilary Putnam has developed a series of arguments which use basic theorems of model theory to undermine semantic realism. Here, I discuss two generalizations of these arguments. The first employs some new forms of model theory to generate substantially stronger conclusions than Putnam’s original arguments generated. The second illustrates a method for replacing the model theory in Putnam’s arguments with results from other branches of science—in particular, with results from astronomy. Now, I should say at the outset that neither of these new arguments is supposed to be persuasive: each of them fails, and fails rather badly, when regarded as a serious objection to realism. Nevertheless, the arguments serve three purposes. First, the parallels between my new arguments and Putnam’s original arguments help to highlight what’s really going on in the latter, and the obvious flaws in my arguments help to isolate the corresponding flaws in Putnam’s arguments. Second, these new arguments expose the inadequacy of several recent defenses of Putnam. (Very roughly, I argue that if these defenses saved Putnam’s arguments, then they would save my arguments as well. But, my arguments are unsalvageable. So, the defenses don’t save Putnam.) Finally, the arguments present a new challenge to Putnam and his defenders: to provide a formulation of the modeltheoretic argument which makes that argument seem compelling without doing the same for mine.