About this topic
Summary "Realism" comes in many philosophical guises. One sort of realism concerns whether certain entities exist, or whether they exist independent of our minds. Realism in this metaphysical sense arises for numerous subject matters: everyday material objects, concepts, universals, mathematical objects, moral values, unobservable theoretical entities, and so on. Michael Dummett characterizes realism and anti-realism in semantic terms, suggesting that the fundamental issue is not about the existence of entities, but rather about whether statements of some specified class (such as mathematics or ethics) can have an objective truth value, independently of our means of knowing it.
Key works The diversity of realisms is discussed e.g. in Devitt 1991, Miller 2008, and Raatikainen 2014. A good systematic discussion of  realism about the external world as opposed to phenomenalism and idealism can be found in Locke 1967; see also Armstrong 1961. An already classic collection of articles for and against realism about unobservable theoretical entities, i.e. "scientific realism", is Leplin 1984. An influential recent defense is Psillos 1999; see also Devitt 1991. The realism/antirealism issue was recasted in semantic terms in Dummett 1978, 1993; see also Wright 1993Miller 2006 and Shieh 1998 are useful discussions. Devitt 1983 is a well-known critique of the Dummettian anti-realism.  
Introductions On the variety of realisms: Miller 2008; on scientific realism: Chakravartty 2013, Devitt 2005; on semantic realism and anti-realism: Miller 2006.
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Subcategories:History/traditions: Realism and Anti-Realism
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  1. Keith Algozin (1989). Metaphysics: The Elements. By Bruce Aune. The Modern Schoolman 66 (2):153-155.
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  2. John Bengson (forthcoming). Grasping the Third Realm. Oxford Studies in Epistemology 5.
    Some things we can know just by thinking about them: for example, that identity is transitive, that Gettier’s Smith does not know that the man who will get the job has ten coins in his pockets, that the ratio between two and six holds also between one and three, that it is wrong to wantonly torture innocent sentient beings, and various other things that simply strikeus, intuitively, as true when we consider them. The question is how : how can we (...)
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  3. Michel Bitbol, Some Steps Towards a Transcendental Deduction of Quantum Mechanics.
    The two major options on which the current debate on the interpretation of quantum mechanics relies, namely realism and empiricism, are far from being exhaustive. There is at least one more position available, which is metaphysically as agnostic as empiricism, but which shares with realism a committment to considering the structure of theories as highly significant. The latter position has been named transcendentalism after Kant. In this paper, a generalized version of Kant's method is used. This yields a reasoning that (...)
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  4. William F. Bristow (2002). Are Kant's Categories Subjective? Review of Metaphysics 55 (3):551-580.
    Argues that there is a significant respect in which Kant's categories are to be understood as subjective, namely, in the sense that they are to be understood as the self-legislated rules of our understanding. Argues that the subjectivism of Kant's idealism, by which is meant the relativization of knowledge of objects to our standpoint, is a consequence of the subjectivity of the categories, on this interpretation of their subjectivity. On the reading opposed here, Kant's subjectivism is strictly a consequence of (...)
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  5. James Robert Brown (1987). The Shaky Game: Einstein, Realism, and the Quantum Theory Arthur Fine Chicaco, IL: University of Chicago Press, 1986. Pp. Xi, 186. $25.00. [REVIEW] Dialogue 26 (04):776-.
  6. H. G. Callaway (1996). Review: Carl R. Hausman, Charles S. Peirce's Evolutionary Philosophy. [REVIEW] Dialectica 50 (No. 2):153-161.
    Carl Hausman is a former editor of The Journal of Speculative Philosophy, a revival of one of the first American philosophy journals, where Peirce published some of his early work; and Hausman has devoted a good deal of his career to Peirce scholarship. He interprets Peirce’s thought “as a fallibilistic foundationalism that affirms a unique realism according to which what is real is a dynamic, evolving extramental condition.” The theme is an interesting one partly in view of the many recent (...)
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  7. Quassim Cassam (1989). Kant and Reductionism. Review of Metaphysics 43 (September):72-106.
  8. Andrea Falcon (2007). Eriugena, Berkeley, and the Idealist Tradition. Review of Metaphysics 61 (2):417-419.
  9. Yiftach J. H. Fehige (2004). Der Mentale Zugang Zur Welt. [REVIEW] Logical Analysis and History of Philosophy 8 (1):231-238.
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  10. Daniel Forbes (2007). Chasing Reality: Strife Over Realism. Review of Metaphysics 61 (1):125-127.
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  11. John Haldane (2006). Ethics, Religion, and Relativism. Review of Metaphysics 60 (1):121-139.
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  12. Mervyn Hartwig & Jamie Morgan (eds.) (2012). Critical Realism and Spirituality: Theism, Atheism, and Meta-Reality / Edited by Mervyn Hartwig and Jamie Morgan. Routledge.
    The rise of neo-integrative worldviews : towards a rational spirituality for the coming planetary civilization -- Beyond fundamentalism : spiritual realism, spiritual literacy and education -- Realism, literature and spirituality -- Judgemental rationality and the equivalence of argument : realism about God, response to Morgan's critique -- Transcendence and God : reflections on critical realism, the "new atheism", and Christian theology -- Human sciences at the edge of panentheism : God and the limits of ontological realism -- Beyond East and (...)
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  13. Elisabeth Heinrich & Dieter Schönecker (eds.) (2011). Wirklichkeit Und Wahrnehmung des Heiligen, Schönen, Guten: Neue Beiträge Zur Realismusdebatte. Mentis.
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  14. Jonathan A. Jacobs (1995). Practical Realism and Moral Psychology. Georgetown University Press.
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  15. Jonathan Joseph & John M. Roberts (eds.) (2004). Realism, Discourse, and Deconstruction. Routledge.
    Theories of discourse bring to realism new ideas about how knowledge develops and how representations of reality are influenced. We gain an understanding of the conceptual aspect of social life and the processes by which meaning is produced. This collection reflects the growing interest realist critics have shown towards forms of discourse theory and deconstruction. The diverse range of contributions address such issues as the work of Derrida and deconstruction, discourse theory, Eurocentrism and poststructuralism. What unites all of the contributions (...)
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  16. Jean-François Kahn (2011). Philosophie de la Réalité: Critique du Réalisme. Fayard.
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  17. John Laird (1920/1971). A Study in Realism. Freeport, N.Y.,Books for Libraries Press.
    CHAPTER I INTRODUCTION Comme done il est clair que je pense, il est clair aussi que je pense a quelque chose, c'est-a-dire, que je connais, et que j'ape^ois ...
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  18. Paolo Landi (2009). L'esperienza E l'Insieme Totale: L'Orizzonte di Husserl E Il Principio Del Realismo Critico. Clinamen.
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  19. Peter T. Manicas (2007). The World Observed/the World Conceived. Review of Metaphysics 61 (1):149-151.
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  20. Joseph Margolis (1996). Relativism Vs. Pluralism and Objectivism. Journal of Philosophical Research 21:95-106.
    Relativism may take a coherent and self-consistent form, by replacing a bivalent logic with a many-valued logic; “incongruent” propositions may then be valid, that is, propositions that on a bivalent model but not now would be or would yield contradictories. I reject “relationalism,” any relativism in accord with which “true” means “true-for-x” (in accord with the usual reading of Plato’s Theaetetus). I show how epistemic pluralism is an analogue of the “is”/“appears” distinction and presupposes a form of objectivism, however attenuated. (...)
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  21. James McCosh (1977). Realistic Philosophy Defended in a Philosophic Series. Ams Press.
    1. Expository.--2. Historical and critical.
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  22. George Melhuish (1973). The Paradoxical Nature of Reality. Bristol,St. Vincent's Press.
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  23. Murray Miles (2007). Kant's Transcendental Proof of Realism. Review of Metaphysics 61 (1):166-167.
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  24. Carl Miller (2007). Value, Reality, and Desire. Review of Metaphysics 60 (3):677-678.
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  25. Richard W. Miller (1993). Meaningful Projects. In George Levine (ed.), Realism and Representation. University of Wisconsin Press. 100--124.
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  26. Antonio Nunziante (2013). The “Morbid Fear of the Subjective”. Privateness and Objectivity in Mid-Twentieth Century American Naturalism. Metodo. International Studies in Phenomenology and Philosophy 1 (1-2):1-19.
    The “Morbid Fear of the Subjective” (copyright by Roy Wood Sellars) represents a key-element of the American naturalist debate of the Mid-twentieth century. On the one hand, we are witnessing to the unconditional trust in the objectivity of scientific discourse, while on the other (and as a consequence) there is the attempt to exorcise the myth of the “subjective” and of its metaphysical privateness. This theoretical roadmap quickly assumed the shape of an even sociological contrast between the “democraticity” of natural (...)
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  27. Antonio Nunziante (2012). Lo spirito naturalizzato. La stagione pre-analitica del naturalismo americano. Verifiche.
    Aim of this work is to dispel the myth of naturalism's "vagueness". Naturalism marks a significant “Atlantic” shift in the philosophical culture of the pre-war age (from the Thirties to Forties): from “old Europe to dynamic America” (as the historian Larrabee said). The controversy with visionary and fascist European theories was indeed very strong in the academic culture of the '30-'40s. The idea was to oppose to the former the virtue of a liberal democracy, supported by the liberality of the (...)
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  28. Ricardo Parellada (2007). Natural Moralities: A Defense of Pluralistic Relativism. Review of Metaphysics 61 (2):451-452.
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  29. Mark Philp (2010). What is to Be Done? Political Theory and Political Realism. European Journal of Political Theory 9 (4):466-484.
    This article argues for greater realism in political theory with respect to judgements about what politicians ought to do and how they ought to act. It shows that there are major problems in deducing what a given politician should do from the value commitments that are common to liberalism and it makes a case for recognizing the major role played by the context of action and particular agent involved. It distinguishes political virtue from moral virtues and argues that the ‘decisionist’ (...)
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  30. Richard Rorty (1970). Strawson's Objectivity Argument. Review of Metaphysics 24 (December):207-244.
  31. Paul Saka (2013). Mind and Paradox. Journal of Experimental and Theoretical Artificial Intelligence 25 (3):377-87.
    Paradoxes are mind-dependent in a number of ways. First, by definition, paradoxes offer surprises or apparent contradictions. Since surprise and appearance rely on subjective psychological reactions, paradoxes rely on psychological events. Second, propositional versions of the liar paradox must eventually appeal to sentences if they are to achieve traction, yet sentential versions of the liar paradox rely on language and hence on mentality. Third, belief paradoxes such as B, "No one believes B", transparently hinge on the existence of mental states. (...)
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  32. Paul Saka (2010). Rarely Pure and Never Simple: Tensions in the Theory of Truth. Topoi 29 (2):125-135.
    Section 1 discerns ambiguity in the word “truth”, observing that the term is used most naturally in reference to truth-bearers rather than truth-makers. Focusing on truths-as-truth-bearers, then, it would appear that alethic realism conflicts with metaphysical realism as naturalistically construed. Section 2 discerns ambiguity in the purporting of truth (as in assertion), conjecturing that all expressions, not just those found in traditionally recognized opaque contexts, can be read intensionally (as well, perhaps, as extensionally). For instance, we would not generally want (...)
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  33. Herbert Louis Samuel Samuel (1971). In Search of Reality. Freeport, N.Y.,Books for Libraries Press.
    CHAPTER I INTRODUCTORY THE history of mankind is to be studied epoch by epoch, nation by nation, but philosophy, science and religion must survey it as a ...
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  34. Sebastian Schmoranzer (2010). Realismus Und Skeptizismus. Mentis.
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  35. Pranab Kumar Sen & D. P. Chattopadhyaya (eds.) (2000). Realism, Responses and Reactions: Essays in Honour of Pranab Kumar Sen. Sole Distributor, Munshiram Manoharlal.
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  36. Kenneth R. Westphal (2009). ‘Consciousness, Scepticism and the Critique of Categorial Concepts in Hegel’s 1807 Phenomenology of Spirit’. In M. Bykova & M. Solopova (eds.), Сущность и Слово. Сборник научных статей к юбилею профессора Н.В.Мотрошиловой. Phenomenology & Hermeneutics Press.
    This paper (in English) highlights a hitherto neglected feature of Hegel’s 1807 Phenomenology of Spirit: its critique of the content of our basic categorial concepts. It focusses on Hegel’s semantics of cognitive reference in ‘Sense Certainty’ and his use of this semantics also in ‘Perception’ and ‘Force and Understanding’. Explicating these points enables us to understand how Hegel criticizes Pyrrhonian Scepticism on internal grounds.
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  37. Kenneth R. Westphal (1997). Affinity, Idealism and Naturalism: The Stability of Cinnabar and the Possibility of Experience. Kant-Studien 88 (2):139-189.
    In the Critique of Pure Reason Kant introduced both transcendental idealism and transcendental arguments into philosophy. Transcendental arguments in general aim to establish conditions necessary for our having self-conscious experience at all. Transcendental idealism holds that such conditions do not hold independently of human subjects; those conditions obtain or are satisfied because they are generated or fulfilled by the structure or functioning of the subject’s cognitive capacities. Is transcendental idealism the only possible explanation of such conditions? I pursue this question (...)
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  38. John Daniel Wild (1948/1984). Introduction to Realistic Philosophy. University Press of America.
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  39. Chris Yeomans (2007). Hegel, Idealism, and Analytic Philosophy. Review of Metaphysics 60 (3):686-687.
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  40. Saiyid Z̤afar al-Ḣasan (1928/1971). Realism. Cambridge, [Eng.]The University Press.
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Metaphysical Realism
  1. Sophie R. Allen (2002). Deepening the Controversy Over Metaphysical Realism. Philosophy 77 (4):519-541.
    A significant ontological commitment is required to sustain metaphysical realism—the view that there is a single, objective way the world is—in order to defend it from common sense objections. This involves presupposing the existence of properties (or tropes, or universals) and relations between them which define the objective structure of the world. This paper explores the grounds for accepting this ontological assumption and examines a sceptical argument which questions whether, having assumed the world is objectively divided into fundamental properties, we (...)
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  2. William Alston (2001). A Sensible Metaphysical Realism. Marquette University Press.
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  3. William P. Alston (ed.) (2002). Realism & Antirealism. Cornell University Press.
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  4. William P. Alston (2002). What Metaphysical Realism Is Not. In Realism and Antirealism. Cornell Up. 97-115.
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  5. Jamin Asay (2012). A Truthmaking Account of Realism and Anti-Realism. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 93 (3):373-394.
    Realism and anti-realism about a domain of thought are metaphysical theses that involve the natures of the truthmakers in that domain and the truthmaking relation that is operant in the domain. Truthmaker theory is not exclusive territory for realists: anti-realist views are also best understood in terms of how they understand truthmakers and truthmaking. In particular, I explore the possibility of projectivist truthmaking, and show how it makes sense of quasi-realism. In addition to critically examining some extant accounts of the (...)
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  6. Jamin Asay (2011). Truthmaking, Truth, and Realism: New Work for a Theory of Truthmakers. Dissertation, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
    Truthmaker theory begins with the idea that truth depends upon reality. When a truth-bearer is true, that is because something or other in the world makes it true. My dissertation offers a theory of truthmakers that shows how we should flesh out this thought while avoiding the contentious metaphysical commitments that are built into other truthmaker theories. Because of these commitments, many philosophers have come to view truthmaker theory as being essentially tied to correspondence theories of truth, and to metaphysical (...)
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  7. S. J. Avery Cardinal Dulles (2008). The Metaphysical Realism of Pope John Paul II. International Philosophical Quarterly 48 (1):99-106.
    Karol Wojtyła (Pope John Paul II) found phenomenology very helpful for the analysis of concrete human experience and for overcoming the ethical formalism ofKant. Phenomenology, he believed, could also enrich classical Thomism by exploring the lived experience of freedom, interiority, and self-governance. But phenomenology, in his opinion, needed to be supplemented by metaphysics in order to ground experiences such as the sense of duty in the real order. He criticized much modern philosophy for abandoning metaphysics and thus neglecting the sapiential (...)
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  8. Guy Axtell (1993). Naturalism, Normativity, and Explanation: The Scientistic Biases of Contemporary Naturalism. Metaphilosophy 24 (3):253-274.
    The critical focus of this paper is on a claim made explicitly by Gilbert Harman and accepted implicitly by numerous others, the claim that naturalism supports concurrent defense of scientific objectivism and moral relativism. I challenge the assumptions of Harman's ‘argument from naturalism' used to support this combination of positions, utilizing. Hilary Putnam’s ‘companions in guilt’ argument in order to counter it. The paper concludes that while domain-specific anti-realism is often warranted, Harman’s own views about the objectivity of facts and (...)
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  9. Lynne Rudder Baker (2007). The Metaphysics of Everyday Life: An Essay in Practical Realism. Cambridge University Press.
    Lynne Rudder Baker presents and defends a unique account of the material world: the Constitution View. In contrast to leading metaphysical views that take everyday things to be either non-existent or reducible to micro-objects, the Constitution View construes familiar things as irreducible parts of reality. Although they are ultimately constituted by microphysical particles, everyday objects are neither identical to, nor reducible to, the aggregates of microphysical particles that constitute them. The result is genuine ontological diversity: people, bacteria, donkeys, mountains and (...)
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  10. Lynne Rudder Baker (2006). Everyday Concepts as a Guide to Reality. The Monist 89 (3):313-333.
    On September 11, 2001, as everyone knows, the towers of the World Trade Center in New York were attacked. I want to discuss this event in order to motivate a nonreductionist view of the extensions of everyday concepts. Next, I shall set out, and begin to defend, the particular view of nonreductionism that I favor—the Constitution View. Then, I shall consider two venerable metaphysical issues (the nature of vagueness and the mind-independent/mind- dependent distinction) in light of the Constitution View. If (...)
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