The Threefold Cord: Mind, Body, and World

The Threefold Cord: Mind, Body, and World

The Threefold Cord: Mind, Body, and World

The Threefold Cord: Mind, Body, and World


Hilary Putnam has approached the divisions between perception and reality and between mind and body with great creativity throughout his career. Now, in The Threefold Cord: Mind, Body, and World, he expounds upon these issues, elucidating both the strengths and weaknesses of current schools of thought. With his characteristic wit and acuity, Putnam offers refreshing solutions to some of philosophy's most vexing problems.


Part 1 of this book was presented as a series of three John Dewey Lectures (of the same title: “Sense, Nonsense, and the Senses: An Inquiry Into the Powers of the Human Mind”) at Columbia University, March 22, 24, and 29, 1994. in September of the same year a revised version of the three lectures appeared by permission of Columbia University as an issue of the Journal of Philosophy. Apart from copyediting, I have not further revised them for this publication,

An invitation from the committee of the American Philosophical Association that chooses the Josiah Royce lecturer (with the participation of the Brown Philosophy Department) led to part 2 of the book being presented as a series of three Josiah Royce Lectures (of the same title: “Mind and Body”) at Brown University, November 3, 5, and 7, 1997.

Together these two parts lay out my view on perception (hence the Mind and the World) and on the ancient Mind-Body puzzles. Trying to think of a book title that covered both topics, the reference to the “three-fold cord which is not easily broken” came to mind. Some have objected to the third part of the title, “Mind, Body, and World” as redundant, on the ground that the mind and the body are parts of the world, but this objection would, if allowed to stand, also rule out such familiar titles as “Mind and World,” so I have decided to ignore it.

After I had delivered the Royce Lectures at Brown, I became aware of an . . .

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