Anti-Realism in Metaphysics

In Martin Kusch (ed.), The Routledge Handbook of Philosophy of Relativism. pp. 358—366 (2019)

Vera Flocke
Indiana University, Bloomington
Metaphysical anti-realism is a large and heterogeneous group of views that do not share a common thesis but only share a certain family resemblance. Views as different as mathematical nominalism—the view that numbers do not exist—, ontological relativism—the view that what exists depends on a perspective—, and modal conventionalism—-the view that modal facts are conventional—all are versions of metaphysical anti-realism. As the latter two examples suggest, relativist ideas play a starring role in many versions of metaphysical anti-realism. But what does it mean for the existence of something to “depend on” a perspective, or for a modal fact to “depend on” a convention? We can distinguish between various dependence relations, giving rise to an array of drastically different forms of metaphysical anti-realism. This article offers a guided tour. I develop a systematic distinction between various forms of metaphysical anti-realism with a focus on the role of relativist ideas in this landscape.
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