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Hilary Putnam couldn’t make up his mind—and that’s wonderful

The great philosopher, who died yesterday aged 89, might have saved materialism

By Daniel Elstein  

Philosopher Hillary Putnam ©Spangineer,

Read more: A philosopher in the age of science

The recent death of Hilary Putnam at the age of 89 brings to a close one of the most distinguished, varied and prolific careers in analytic philosophy. He was one of the great American philosophers, and at the time of his death had a serious claim to being the greatest living philosopher. Born in Chicago in 1926 to atheist, left-wing parents, Putnam received his PhD from UCLA in 1951, studying under Hans Reichenbach,…

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