Necrology of Ontology: Putnam, Ethics, Realism - Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne Access content directly
Journal Articles Monist Year : 2020

Necrology of Ontology: Putnam, Ethics, Realism

Sandra Laugier


This article aims at putting in context and at pursuing the concept elaborated by the later Putnam of an ethics without ontology, which I associate with certain other contemporary philosophers like Stanley Cavell and Cora Diamond; and in general of a philosophy without ontology. Putnam’s ambition is to get rid of ontology by refocusing reflection on ethics in a realistic spirit. This calls for a reappraisal of the entirety of Putnam’s evolution after the 1980s, especially his “Wittgensteinian turn,” which has sometimes been underappreciated. To say that ethics has nothing to do with ontology is to make a claim not only about ethics, but also about realism. That is why Putnam’s later work matters today, especially his radical break with the fact/value distinction (reflected in his claim that facts and values are entangled together in our statements and in our lives). This does not only concern ethics, for as Diamond has said and as Putnam reiterates in his own style and culture, we must refocus reflection on ethics and on the place of ethics in our forms of life and of language.


Philosophy Ethics
No file

Dates and versions

hal-03744999 , version 1 (03-08-2022)



Sandra Laugier. Necrology of Ontology: Putnam, Ethics, Realism. Monist, 2020, 103 (4), pp.391-403. ⟨10.1093/monist/onaa012⟩. ⟨hal-03744999⟩
8 View
0 Download



Gmail Facebook X LinkedIn More