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 (...) microscopes are fundamentally different kinds of things - all constituted by, but not identical to, aggregates of particles. Baker supports her account with discussions of non-reductive causation, vagueness, mereology, artifacts, three-dimensionalism, ontological novelty, ontological levels and emergence. The upshot is a unified ontological theory of the entire material world that irreducibly contains people, as well as non-human living things and inanimate objects. (shrink)
In this book, Ronald Giere seeks to resolve the opposition between objectivism and constructivism by suggesting a third way, perspectival realism, according to which both sides are partly right. To prove his case, Giere reconstructs some of the acknowledged puzzle pieces in the philosophy of science (theory, observation, etc.). To my mind, of most interest is the piece Giere calls "representional model." Constituting the basis of every science, it functions as a template that governs data collection as well as theory (...) development. Throughout the book, Giere illustrates his various propositions with examples taken from the natural sciences. I contend that the propositions are just as relevant for the social sciences and present some examples in order to indicate this. Especially, the concept of model is useful both for a better understanding of social science and for increasing its cumulativity. (shrink)
This book addresses one of the fundamental topics in philosophy: the relation between appearance and reality. John Yolton draws on a rich combination of historical and contemporary material, ranging from the early modern period to present-day debates, to examine this central philosophical preoccupation, which he presents in terms of distinctions between phenomena and causes, causes and meaning, and persons and man. He explores in detail how Locke, Berkeley and Hume talk of appearances and their relation to reality, and offers illuminating (...) connections and comparisons with the work of contemporary philosophers such as Paul Churchland and John McDowell. He concludes by offering his own proposal for a 'realism of appearances', which incorporates elements of both Humean and Kantian thinking. His important study will be of interest to a wide range of readers in the history of philosophy, the history of ideas, and contemporary philosophy of mind, epistemology and metaphysics. (shrink)
Some major leftist thinkers, including Alain Badiou, Slavoj Žižek and Terry Eagleton, have lately offered readings that claim the relevance of alternative interpretations of the Christian tradition in the face both of the conservative turn in the Catholic Church and of the contemporary secular oblivion of anything that has to do with religion. Furthermore, post-colonial studies have tended to blame the West en bloc for the disasters of past and present colonization, and have attacked the western endeavour to extend universal (...) truths as an ethnocentric device to facilitate and justify exploitation. In Holy Terror, Terry Eagleton both condemns western politics and questions its appeal to universals; but he also hears in this tradition a demand for a relationship with the other which offers an alternative to that established by current politics and capitalist exploitation. The other is the excluded, the oppressed, the exploited; the true material, rather than ideal, universal produced by global capitalist exploitation. As a consequence, anything that happens in any part of the planet belongs in our world and indicts us, though we tend to build barriers around an ideally safe and stable identity that ignores part of its own reality and that is therefore haunted by it. Texts like the Bacchae or the New Testament open the gates of the city and of the heart to the excluded. Terrorists — saints for their own communities and satanic for the rest — offer an example of the other that is impossible to comprehend within our conventional ways of life. Nevertheless, only if we hear in their violence a demand for justice can an exit be found from the vicious circle of violence and revenge. (shrink)
Imagine a philosophy conference in Presocratic Greece. The hot question is: what are things made of? Followers of Thales say that everything is made of water, followers of Anaximenes that everything is made of air, and followers of Heraclitus that everything is made of fire. Nobody is quite clear what these claims mean, and some question whether the founders of the respective schools ever made them. But amongst the groupies there is a buzz about all the recent exciting progress. The (...) mockers and doubters make plenty of noise too. They point out that no resolution of the dispute between the schools is in sight. They diagnose Thales, Anaximenes and Heraclitus as suffering from a tendency to overgeneralize. We can intelligibly ask what bread is made of, or what houses are made of, but to ask what things in general are made of is senseless, some suggest, because the question is posed without any conception of how to verify an answer; language has gone on holiday. Paleo-pragmatists invite everyone to relax, forget their futile pseudo-inquiries and do something useful instead. (shrink)
I address the question whether Dummetts manifestation challenge to semantic realism can be disarmed by reflection on the compositionality of meaning. Building on work of Dummett and Wright, I develop in §§12 what I argue to be the most formidable version of the manifestation challenge. Along the way I review attempts by previous authors to deploy considerations about compositionality in realisms favour, and argue that they are unsuccessful. The formulation of the challenge I develop renders explicit something which I argue (...) to be implicit in Dummetts and Wrights presentations: that the challenge depends on a contention about the constitution of speakers states of declarative sentence understanding: i.e., that many such states incorporate abilities to recognize whether the associated sentences truth conditions are satisfied. In §3 I argue that reflection on the compositionality of meaning reveals, first, that this contention must be rejected by the realist, and second, that it is unmotivated. This result does not settle the debate over the manifestation challenge, but it implies that the onus of argument does not currently rest with the realist. (shrink)
This paper is an attack on the Dummett-Prawitz view that the principle of bivalence has a crucial double significance, metaphysical and meaning theoretical. On the one hand it is said that holding bivalence valid is what characterizes a realistic view, i.e. a view in metaphysics, and on the other hand it is said that there are meaning theoretical arguments against its acceptability. I argue that these two aspects are incompatible. If the failure of validity of bivalence depends on properties of (...) linguistic meaning, then there are no metaphysical consequences to be drawn. The case for this view is straightforward as long as we are discussing a language different from our own. But it seems that the distinction between failure because of meaning and failure because of reality cannot be applied to our own language, simply because our own language is just what we use to represent reality. I argue that this impression is illusory. In order to draw a conclusion about reality, meaning must be connected with truth in a non-trivial way, and precisely this cannot be done in the language for which the meaning theory itself is correct. (shrink)
This volume collects some influential essays in which Simon Blackburn, one of our leading philosophers, explores one of the most profound and fertile of philosophical problems: the way in which our judgments relate to the world. This debate has centered on realism, or the view that what we say is validated by the way things stand in the world, and a variety of oppositions to it. Prominent among the latter are expressive and projective theories, but also a relaxed pluralism that (...) discourages the view that there are substantial issues at stake. The figure of the "quasi-realist" dramatizes the difficulty of conducting these debates. Typically philosophers thinking of themselves as realists will believe that they alone can give a proper or literal account of some of our attachments--to truth, to facts, to the independent world, to knowledge and certainty. The quasi-realist challenge, developed by Blackburn in this volume, is that we can have those attachments without any metaphysic that deserves to be called realism, so that the metaphysical picture that goes with our practices is quite idle. The cases treated here include the theories of value and knowledge, modality, probability, causation, intentionality and rule-following, and explanation. A substantial new introduction has been added, drawing together some of the central themes. The essays articulate a fresh alternative to a primitive realist/anti-realist opposition, and their cumulative effect is to yield a new appreciation of the delicacy of the debate in these central areas. (shrink)
The principle of semantic compositionality, as Jerry Fodor and Ernie Lepore have emphasized, imposes constraints on theories of meaning that it is hard to meet with psychological or epistemic accounts. Here, I argue that this general tendency is exemplified in Michael Dummett's account of meaning. On that account, the so-called manifestability requirement has the effect that the speaker who understands a sentence s must be able to tell whether or not s satisfies central semantic conditions. This requirement is not met (...) by truth-conditional accounts of meaning. On Dummett's view, it is met by a proof conditional account: understanding amounts to knowledge of what counts as a proof of a sentence. A speaker is supposed always to be capable of deciding whether or not a given object is a proof of a given sentence she understands. This requirement comes into conflict with compositionality. If meaning is compositionally determined, then all you need for understanding a sentence is what you get from combining your understanding of the parts according to the mode of composition. But that knowledge is not always sufficient for recognizing any proof at all of a given sentence. Dummett's proof-theoretic argument to the contrary is mistaken. (shrink)
In 1933 Godel introduced a calculus of provability (also known as modal logic S4) and left open the question of its exact intended semantics. In this paper we give a solution to this problem. We find the logic LP of propositions and proofs and show that Godel's provability calculus is nothing but the forgetful projection of LP. This also achieves Godel's objective of defining intuitionistic propositional logic Int via classical proofs and provides a Brouwer-Heyting-Kolmogorov style provability semantics for Int which (...) resisted formalization since the early 1930s. LP may be regarded as a unified underlying structure for intuitionistic, modal logics, typed combinatory logic and λ-calculus. (shrink)
Intuitionism’s disagreement with classical logic is standardly based on its specific understanding of truth. But different intuitionists have actually explicated the notion of truth in fundamentally different ways. These are considered systematically and separately, and evaluated critically. It is argued that each account faces difficult problems. They all either have implausible consequences or are viciously circular.
This essay argues that the key to understanding Kant's transcendental idealism is to understand the transcendental realism with which he contrasts it. It maintains that the latter is not to be identified with a particular metaphysical thesis, but with the assumption that the proper objects of human cognitions are “objects in general” or “as such,” that is, objects considered simply qua objects of some understanding. Since this appears to conflict with Kant's own characterization of transcendental realism as the view that (...) (mistakenly) regards appearances as if they were things in themselves, the essay explicates the connection between the concepts of an object (or thing) considered as such and a thing considered as it is in itself. In light of this, it maintains that Kant's transcendental idealism is compatible with a robust empirical realism and that many of its critics are tacitly committed to a misguided transcendental realism. (shrink)
Radical Ontic Structural Realism (ROSR) claims that structure exists independently of objects that may instantiate it. Critics of ROSR contend that this claim is conceptually incoherent, insofar as, (i) it entails there can be relations without relata, and (ii) there is a conceptual dependence between relations and relata. In this essay I suggest that (ii) is motivated by a set-theoretic formulation of structure, and that adopting a category-theoretic formulation may provide ROSR with more support. In particular, I consider how a (...) category-theoretic formulation of structure can be developed that denies (ii), and can be made to do work in the context of formulating theories in physics. Keywords: structural realism, category theory, general relativity.. (shrink)
This essay is a response to Patrick Reider’s essay “Sellars on Perception, Science and Realism: A Critical Response.” Reider is correct that Sellars’s realism is in tension with his generally Kantian approach to issues of knowledge and mind, but I do not think Reider’s analysis correctly locates the sources of that tension or how Sellars himself hoped to be able to resolve it. Reider’s own account of idealism and the reasons supporting it are rooted in the epistemological tradition that informed (...) the British empiricists, rather than in the metaphysical reasons that ruled within the German tradition from Leibniz through Hegel that has much more in common with Sellars’s position. Thus, Reider takes Sellars’s notion of picturing to be just another version of the representationalism that has dominated the Anglo-American tradition since Locke, whereas, in my view, because picturing is a non-semantical relation, it is an important ingredient in naturalizing the coherentist theories of the idealists. (shrink)
This volume develops and defends critical realism whilst engaging critically with existentialist philosophy in a number of ways. The work of existentialist thinkers as diverse as Kierkegarrd, R.D. Laing, Heideggar and Sartre is discussed at length and Andrew Collier argues that there is much to be learnt from their work, especially in Heidegger's critique of the technological view of the world. However the book concludes with a defence of objectivity against the various forms of subjectivism advanced by the existentialists.
In this essay I examine various aspects of the nearcentury-long debate concerning the conceptualfoundations of quantum mechanics and the problems ithas posed for physicists and philosophers fromEinstein to the present. Most crucial here is theissue of realism and the question whether quantumtheory is compatible with any kind of realist orcausal-explanatory account which goes beyond theempirical-predictive data. This was Einstein's chiefconcern in the famous series of exchanges with NielsBohr when he refused to accept the truth orcompleteness of a doctrine (orthodox QM) (...) which ruledsuch questions to be strictly inadmissible. I discussthe later history of quantum-theoretical debate withparticular reference to the issue of nonlocality,i.e., the phenomenon of superluminal(faster-than-light) interaction betweenwidely-separated particles. Then I show how thestandard `Copenhagen' interpretation of QM hasinfluenced current anti-realist orontological-relativist approaches to philosophy ofscience. Indeed, there are clear signs that somephilosophers have retreated from a realist positionvery largely in response to just these problems. So itis important to ask exactly why – on what scientificor philosophical grounds – any preferred alternative(causal-realist) construal should have been ruled outas a matter of orthodox QM wisdom. Moreconstructively, my paper presents various arguments infavour of one such alternative, the `hidden-variables'theory developed since the early 1950s by David Bohmand consistently marginalised by proponents of theCopenhagen doctrine. (shrink)
Roderick Chisholm has been for many years one of the most important and influential philosophers contributing to metaphysics, philosophy of mind, and epistemology. This book can be viewed as a summation of his views on an enormous range of topics in metaphysics and epistemology. Yet it is written in the terse, lucid, unpretentious style that has become a hallmark of Chisholm's work. The book is an original treatise designed to defend an original, non-Aristotelian theory of categories. Chisholm argues that there (...) are necessary things and contingent things; necessary things being things that are not capable of coming into being or passing away. He defends the argument from design, and thus includes the category of necessary substance (God). Further contentions of the essay are that attributes are also necessary beings, but not necessary substances, and that human beings are contingent substances but may not be material substances. (shrink)
It is well known that C. S. Peirce eventually accepted an "extreme scholastic realism" about "generals" and "vagues." But it has been a subject of debate among Peirce scholars whether he was a nominalist early on. In particular, it remains unsettled whether Peirce's earliest position regarding generals was one of antirealism or whether he was a realist about generals from the very beginning. In this essay I argue that despite first appearances, the textual evidence does not support the claim that (...) Peirce moved from a position of antirealism to one of realism about generals. His earliest statements on the subject are compatible with a moderate, nonmodal realism about generality. (shrink)
This essay addresses the question of the effect of Russell's paradox on Frege's distinctive brand of arithmetical realism. It is argued that the effect is not just to undermine Frege's specific account of numbers as extensions (courses of value) but more importantly to undermine his general means of explaining the object-directedness of arithmetical discourse. It is argued that contemporary neo-Fregean attempts to revive that explanation do not successfully avoid the central problem brought to light by the paradox. Along the way, (...) it is argued that the need to fend off an eliminative construal of arithmetic can help explain the so-called Caesar problem in the Grundlagen, and that the "syntactic priority thesis" is insufficient to establish the claim that numbers are objects. (shrink)
In The Philosophy of Information, Luciano Floridi presents an ontological theory of Being qua Being, which he calls “Informational Structural Realism”, a theory which applies, he says, to every possible world. He identifies primordial information (“dedomena”) as the foundation of any structure in any possible world. The present essay examines Floridi’s defense of that theory, as well as his refutation of “Digital Ontology” (which some people might confuse with his own). Then, using Floridi’s ontology as a starting point, the present (...) essay adds quantum features to dedomena, yielding an ontological theory for our own universe, Quantum Informational Structural Realism, which provides a metaphysical interpretation of key quantum phenomena, and diminishes the “weirdness” or “spookiness” of quantum mechanics. (shrink)
In this essay I argue that T. S. Kuhn, at least in his later works, can be regarded as a perspectival realist. This is a retrospective interpretation based mainly on the essays published posthumously under the title The Road Since Structure (Kuhn 2000). Among the strongest grounds for this interpretation is that Kuhn explicitly states that one must have a “lexicon” in place before raising questions about the truth or falsity of claims made using elements of the lexicon. This, in (...) a linguistic framework, can be understood as an affirmation of perspectival realism. The essay concludes with an examination of Donald Davidson’s famous paper, “On The Very Idea of a Conceptual Scheme,” arguing, along lines Kuhn himself suggested, that Davidson’s presentation is no threat to his notion of a conceptual scheme, or, I would add, a theoretical perspective. (shrink)
Machine generated contents note: I. METAPHYSICS -- 1. How Do Realism, Materialism, and Dialectics Fare in Contemporary Science? (1973) -- 2. New Dialogues between Hylas and Philonous (1954) -- 3. Energy: Between Physics and Metaphysics (2000) -- 4. The Revival of Causality (1982) -- 5. Emergence and the Mind (1977) -- 6 SCIENTIFIC REALISM -- 6. The Status of Concepts (1981) -- 7. Popper's Unworldly World 3 (1981) --II. METHODOLOGY AND PHILOSOPHY OF SCIENCE -- 8. On Method in (...) the Philosophy of Science (1973) -- 9. Induction in Science (1963) -- 10. The GST Challenge to the Classical Philosophies of Science (1977) -- 11. The Power and Limits of Reduction (1991) -- 12. Thinking in Metaphors (1999) --III. PHILOSOPHY OF MATHEMATICS -- 13. Moderate Mathematical Fictionism (1997) -- 14. The Gap between Mathematics and Reality (1994) -- 15. Two Faces and Three Masks of Probability (1988) --IV. PHILOSOPHY OF PHYSICS -- 16. Physical Relativity and Philosophy (1979) -- 17. Hidden Variables, Separability, and Realism (1995) -- 18. Schrodinger's Cat Is Dead (1999) --V. PHILOSOPHY OF PSYCHOLOGY -- 19. From Mindless Neuroscience and Brainless Psychology to Neuropsychology (1985) -- 20. Explaining Creativity (1993) -- VI. PHILOSOPHY OF SOCIAL SCIENCE -- 21. Analytic Philosophy of Society and Social Science: -- The Systemic Approach as an Alternative to Holism and Individualism (1988) -- 22. Rational Choice Theory: A Critical Look at Its Foundations (1995) -- 23. Realism and Antirealism in Social Science (1993) --VII. PHILOSOPHY OF TECHNOLOGY -- 24. The Nature of Applied Science and Technology (1988) -- 25. The Technology-Science-Philosophy Triangle in Its Social Context (1999) -- 26. The Technologies in Philosophy (1999) --VIII. MORAL PHILOSOPHY -- 27. A New Look at Moral Realism (1993) -- 28. Rights Imply Duties (1999) --IX. SOCIAL AND POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY -- 29. Morality Is the Basis of Legal and Political Legitimacy (1992) -- 30. Technoholodemocracy: An Alternative to -- Capitalism and Socialism (1994) -- Bibliography -- Index of Names -- Index of Subjects. (shrink)
The approach to critical realism, by D. Drake.--Pragmatism versus the pragmatist, by A. O. Lovejoy.--Critical realism and the possibility of knowledge, by J. B. Pratt.--The problem of error, by A. K. Rogers.--Three proofs of realism, by G. Santayana.--Knowledge and its categories, by R. W. Sellars.--On the nature of the datum, by C. A. Strong.
Introduction: From legal realism to naturalized jurisprudence -- A note on legal indeterminacy -- Part I. American legal realism and its critics -- Rethinking legal realism: toward a naturalized jurisprudence (1997) -- Legal realism and legal positivism reconsidered (2001) -- Is there an "American" jurisprudence? (1997) -- Postscript to Part I: Interpreting legal realism -- Part II. Ways of naturalizing jurisprudence -- Legal realism, hard positivism, and the limits of conceptual analysis (1998, 2001) -- Why Quine is not a postmodernist (...) (1997) -- Beyond the Hart/Dworkin debate: the methodology problem in jurisprudence (2003) -- Part III. Naturalism, morality, and objectivity -- Moral facts and best explanations (2001) -- Objectivity, morality, and adjudication (2001) -- Law and objectivity (2002). (shrink)
Aristotele. Science as a systematic explanation through causes.--Newton, I. Rules and reflections on scientific reasoning.--Carnap, R. Empiricism, semantics, and ontology.--Hempel, C. On the logic of explanation.--Nagel, E. The realist view of theories.--Quine, W. V. On the role of logic in explanation.--Harris, E. E. Method and explanation in metaphysics.--Einstein, A. Remarks on Bertrand Russell's theory of knowledge.--Sellars, W. The language of theories.--MacKinnon, E. Atomic physics and reality.--Bunge, M. Physics and reality.--Heelan, P. A. Quantum mechanics and objectivity.--Bibliographical essay (p. 285-301).
This review essay attempts to present a coherent and reasonably unitary picture of the contemporary ‘speculative turn’ in continental philosophy as charted in Levi Bryant, Nick Srnicek and Graham Harman, eds, The Speculative Turn: Continental Realism and Materialism (2011). Avoiding a more objective yet more anodyne chapter by chapter summary, I paint an intentionally synoptic view by selecting some common concerns of the authors involved, and group them under five ‘core themes’. Throughout, I try to keep open the comparative channel (...) with the realist tenets of critical realism, and conclude vouching for the necessity for more bridge-building works to appear in the future. (shrink)
This essay deals with the concept of truth in the context of a version of internal realism . In §1 I define some variants of realism using a set of realistic axioms. In §2 I will argue that for semantical reasons we should be realists of some kind. In §3 I plead for an internalistic setting of realism starting from the thesis that truth is, at least, not a non-epistemic concept. We have to bear the consequences of this in form (...) of a more complicated concept of truth. The "internal" of "internal realism" points to the justification aspect of truth. The "realism" of "internal realism" points to the correspondence aspect. A thesis concerning the irreducibility of the two aspects will be established in §4. (shrink)
The theoretical work on individualization undertaken by Zygmunt Bauman, Ulrich Beck and Anthony Giddens has possessed an enduring influence within sociology. The New Individualism is a recent formulation of this older body of work. In this review essay I critically assess the book from the perspective of the recent work of Margaret Archer. I argue that while much of it is plagued by methodological and empirical inadequacies there are questioned posed by it, as well as by the individualization literature more (...) widely, which are worthy of recovery. I suggest that critical realism in general, as well as Archer’s work in particular, are uniquely placed to perform this act of recovery. (shrink)