Quine on Objects: Realism or Anti-Realism?

Theoria 78 (2):128-145 (2012)
W. V. Quine describes himself as a “robust realist” about physical objects in the external world. This realism about objects is due to Quine's naturalism. On the other hand, Quine's naturalistic epistemology involves a conception of objects as posits that we introduce in our theories about the world. This conception of objects can be seen as anti-realist rather than realist. In this article, I discuss the questions whether there is a tension between Quine's realism and his epistemological conception of objects, and how Quine's conception of objects should be understood if he is also to be regarded as a realist. I also address the question whether Quine should be placed on the realist or the anti-realist side of the current realism debate. I argue that Quine's conception of objects as posits is a general account of the nature of objects, and that this account does not conflict with Quine's realism as long as this realism is properly understood. I also argue that Quine cannot be placed on either side of the contemporary realism debate, since his realism is not metaphysical realism and his conception of objects is not an anti-realist doctrine according to which objects would be less than real
Keywords anti‐realism  ontology  objects  realism  epistemology  W. V. Quine
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1111/j.1755-2567.2012.01128.x
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 23,316
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA
W. V. Quine (1992). Pursuit of Truth. Harvard University Press.

View all 24 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles
Władysław Krajewski (1992). Questions of the Objects of Knowledge and Types of Realism. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 6 (3):205-213.
Jamin Asay (2012). A Truthmaking Account of Realism and Anti-Realism. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 93 (3):373-394.

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

119 ( #36,699 of 1,926,197 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

43 ( #9,388 of 1,926,197 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.