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. 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. Dennis Dieks (2003). Book Review: Foundations of Quantum Mechanics, an Empiricist Approach. By Willem M. De Muynck. Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht/Boston/London, 2002, Xxiv+680 Pp., $219.00 (Hardcover). ISBN 1-4020-0932-1. [REVIEW] Foundations of Physics 33 (6):1003-1006.
  9. Jonathan Duquette (2011). “Quantum Physics and Vedanta”: A Perspective From Bernard D'Espagnat's Scientific Realism. Zygon 46 (3):620-638.
    Abstract. In the last decades, several rapprochements have been made between quantum physics and the Advaita Vedānta (AV) school of Hinduism. Theoretical issues such as the role of the observer in measurement and physical interconnectedness have been associated with tenets of AV, generating various critical responses. In this study, I propose to address this encounter in the light of recent works on philosophical implications of quantum physics by the physicist and philosopher of science Bernard d’Espagnat.
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  10. Michael Epperson (2009). Quantum Mechanics and Relational Realism. Process Studies 38 (2):340-367.
    By the relational realist interpretation of wave function collapse, the quantum mechanical actualization of potentia is defined as a decoherence-driven process by which each actualization (in “orthodox” terms, each measurement outcome) is conditioned both by physical and logical relations with the actualities conventionally demarked as “environmental” or external to that particular outcome. But by the relational realist interpretation, the actualization-in-process is understood as internally related to these “enironmental” data per the formalism of quantum decoherence. The concept of “actualization via wave (...)
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  11. Andrea Falcon (2007). Eriugena, Berkeley, and the Idealist Tradition. Review of Metaphysics 61 (2):417-419.
  12. 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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  13. Daniel Forbes (2007). Chasing Reality: Strife Over Realism. Review of Metaphysics 61 (1):125-127.
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  14. Peter Forrest (1988). Quantum Metaphysics. B. Blackwell.
    The book comprises an enquiry into what quantum theory shows us about the world. Its aim is to sort out which metaphysical speculations are tenable and which are not. After an initial discussion of realism, the author provides a non-technical exposition of quantum theory and a criticism of the proposal that quantum theory should make us revise our beliefs about logic. He then discusses the various problems and puzzles which make quantum theory both interesting and perplexing. The text defends three (...)
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  15. Giancarlo Ghirardi (1996). Quantum Dynamical Reduction and Reality: Replacing Probability Densities with Densities in Real Space. [REVIEW] Erkenntnis 45 (2-3):349 - 365.
    Consideration is given to recent attempts to solve the objectification problem of quantum mechanics by considering nonlinear and stochastic modifications of Schrödinger's evolution equation. Such theories agree with all predictions of standard quantum mechanics concerning microsystems but forbid the occurrence of superpositions of macroscopically different states. It is shown that the appropriate interpretation for such theories is obtained by replacing the probability densities of standard quantum mechanics with mass densities in real space. Criteria allowing a precise characterization of the idea (...)
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  16. Nicolas Gisin (2012). Non-Realism: Deep Thought or a Soft Option? Foundations of Physics 42 (1):80-85.
    The claim that the observation of a violation of a Bell inequality leads to an alleged alternative between nonlocality and non-realism is annoying because of the vagueness of the second term.
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  17. Sheldon Goldstein, On a Realistic Theory for Quantum Physics.
    future evolution of the field. These ideas thou h old 'th k oug o, are ei er un nown oz misunderstood, Our point here is that a stron realistic os". g ' ' posi'.ion has consequences: it offers a completely natural..
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  18. Ravi Gomatam, Quantum Realism and Haecceity.
    Non-relativistic quantum mechanics is incompatible with our everyday or ‘classical’ intuitions about realism, not only at the microscopic level but also at the macroscopic level. The latter point is highlighted by the ‘cat paradox’ presented by Schrödinger. Since our observations are always made at the macroscopic level — even when applying the formalism to the microscopic level — the failure of classical realism at the macroscopic level is actually more fundamental and crucial.
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  19. Ravi V. Gomatam, Popper's Propensity Interpretation and Heisenberg's Potentia Interpretation.
    In other words, classically, probabilities add; quantum mechanically, the probability amplitudes add, leading to the presence of the extra product terms in the quantum case. What this means is that in quantum theory, even though always only one of the various outcomes is obtained in any given observation, some aspect of the non -occurring events, represented by the corresponding complex-valued quantum amplitudes, plays a role in determining the overall probabilities. Indeed, the observed quantum interference effects are correctly captured by the (...)
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  20. P. Hájíček & J. Tolar (2009). Intrinsic Properties of Quantum Systems. Foundations of Physics 39 (5):411-432.
    A new realist interpretation of quantum mechanics is introduced. Quantum systems are shown to have two kinds of properties: the usual ones described by values of quantum observables, which are called extrinsic, and those that can be attributed to individual quantum systems without violating standard quantum mechanics, which are called intrinsic. The intrinsic properties are classified into structural and conditional. A systematic and self-consistent account is given. Much more statements become meaningful than any version of Copenhagen interpretation would allow. A (...)
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  21. J. B. S. Haldane (1934). Quantum Mechanics as a Basis for Philosophy. Philosophy of Science 1 (1):78-98.
  22. John Haldane (2006). Ethics, Religion, and Relativism. Review of Metaphysics 60 (1):121-139.
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  23. 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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  24. Richard Healey (1979). Quantum Realism: Naïveté is No Excuse. Synthese 42 (1):121 - 144.
    The work of Gleason and of Kochen and Specker has been thought to refute a naïve realist approach to quantum mechanics. The argument of this paper substantially bears out this conclusion. The assumptions required by their work are not arbitrary, but have sound theoretical justification. Moreover, if they are false, there seems no reason why their falsity should not be demonstrable in some sufficiently ingenious experiment. Suitably interpreted, the work of Bell and Wigner may be seen to yield independent arguments (...)
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  25. Richard A. Healey (1991). Book Review:Incompleteness, Nonlocality and Realism: A Prolegomenon to the Philosophy of Quantum Mechanics Michael Redhead. [REVIEW] Philosophy of Science 58 (3):503-.
  26. Adrian Heathcote (2003). Quantum Heterodoxy: Realism at the Plank Length. Science and Education 12 (5):513-529.
  27. Elisabeth Heinrich & Dieter Schönecker (eds.) (2011). Wirklichkeit Und Wahrnehmung des Heiligen, Schönen, Guten: Neue Beiträge Zur Realismusdebatte. Mentis.
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  28. Michael Heller, Leszek Pysiak & Wiesław Sasin (2011). Fundamental Problems in the Unification of Physics. Foundations of Physics 41 (5):905-918.
    We discuss the following problems, plaguing the present search for the “final theory”: (1) How to find a mathematical structure rich enough to be suitably approximated by the mathematical structures of general relativity and quantum mechanics? (2) How to reconcile nonlocal phenomena of quantum mechanics with time honored causality and reality postulates? (3) Does the collapse of the wave function contain some hints concerning the future quantum gravity theory? (4) It seems that the final theory cannot avoid the problem of (...)
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  29. Ronnie Hermens (2013). Speakable in Quantum Mechanics. Synthese 190 (15):3265-3286.
    At the 1927 Como conference Bohr spoke the famous words “It is wrong to think that the task of physics is to find out how nature is. Physics concerns what we can say about nature.” However, if the Copenhagen interpretation really adheres to this motto, why then is there this nagging feeling of conflict when comparing it with realist interpretations? Surely what one can say about nature should in a certain sense be interpretation independent. In this paper I take Bohr’s (...)
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  30. Jonathan A. Jacobs (1995). Practical Realism and Moral Psychology. Georgetown University Press.
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  31. F. Jenč (1979). The Conceptual Analysis (CA) Method in Theories of Microchannels: Application to Quantum Theory. Part III. Idealizations. Hilbert Space Representation. [REVIEW] Foundations of Physics 9 (11-12):897-928.
    We illustrate the application of the conceptual analysis (CA) method outlined in Part I by the example of quantum mechanics. In the present part the Hilbert space structure of conventional quantum mechanics is deduced as a consequence of postulates specifying further idealized concepts. A critical discussion of the idealizations of quantum mechanics is proposed. Quantum mechanics is characterized as a “statistically complete” theory and a simple and elegant formal recipe for the construction of the fundamental mathematical apparatus of quantum mechanics (...)
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  32. F. Jenč (1979). The Conceptual Analysis (CA) Method in Theories of Microchannels: Application to Quantum Theory. Part I. Fundamental Concepts. [REVIEW] Foundations of Physics 9 (7-8):589-608.
    A method is proposed that should facilitate the construction of theories of “submicroscopic particles” (denoted as “theories of microchannels”) in a way similar to the use of group-theoretical methods. The “conceptual analysis” (CA) method is based on the analysis of the basic concepts of a theory; it permits a determination of necessary conditions imposed on the mathematical apparatus (of the theory) which then appear as a mathematical representation of the structures obtained in a formal scheme of a theory. A pertinent (...)
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  33. 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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  34. Jean-François Kahn (2011). Philosophie de la Réalité: Critique du Réalisme. Fayard.
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  35. 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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  36. Paolo Landi (2009). L'esperienza E l'Insieme Totale: L'Orizzonte di Husserl E Il Principio Del Realismo Critico. Clinamen.
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  37. Peter T. Manicas (2007). The World Observed/the World Conceived. Review of Metaphysics 61 (1):149-151.
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  38. 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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  39. James McCosh (1977). Realistic Philosophy Defended in a Philosophic Series. Ams Press.
    1. Expository.--2. Historical and critical.
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  40. George Melhuish (1973). The Paradoxical Nature of Reality. Bristol,St. Vincent's Press.
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  41. Murray Miles (2007). Kant's Transcendental Proof of Realism. Review of Metaphysics 61 (1):166-167.
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  42. Carl Miller (2007). Value, Reality, and Desire. Review of Metaphysics 60 (3):677-678.
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  43. Richard W. Miller (1993). Meaningful Projects. In George Levine (ed.), Realism and Representation. University of Wisconsin Press. 100--124.
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  44. 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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  45. 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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  46. Ricardo Parellada (2007). Natural Moralities: A Defense of Pluralistic Relativism. Review of Metaphysics 61 (2):451-452.
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  47. 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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  48. Richard Rorty (1970). Strawson's Objectivity Argument. Review of Metaphysics 24 (December):207-244.
  49. 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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  50. 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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