The fragility of robust realism: A reply to Dreyfus and Spinosa

Inquiry 42 (1):89 – 101 (1999)
Abstract
Hubert Dreyfus and Charles Spinosa's argument for 'robust' realism centres on the possibility of our having access to things as they are in themselves and so as having access to things in a way that is not dependent on our 'quotidian concerns or sensory capacities'. Dreyfus and Spinosa claim that our everyday access to things is incapable of providing access of this kind, since our everyday access is holistically enmeshed with our everyday attitudes and concerns. The argument that Dreyfus and Spinosa provide in support of this conclusion seems, however, to depend on illegitimately combining what are really two separate issues: that concerning the independence of the things themselves with the independence of our means of access to those things. Contrary to Dreyfus and Spinosa, the fact that our everyday access to things is necessarily dependent on our everyday attitudes and concerns does not mean that we therefore have access to things only as they 'appear' rather than as they are 'in themselves'.
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