Synthese 73 (2):275 - 299 (1987)
Realism is multiply ambiguous. The central concern of Part 1 of this paper is to distinguish several of its many senses — four (Theoretical Realism, Cumulative Realism, Progressive Realism and Optimistic Realism) in which it refers to theses about the status of scientific theories, and five (Minimal Realism, Ambitious Absolutism, Transcendentalism, Nidealism, Scholastic Realism) in which it refers to theses about the nature of truth or truth-bearers. Because Realism has these several, largely independent, senses, the conventional wisdom that Tarski's theory of truth supports realism, and that the Meaning-Variance thesis undermines it, needs re-evaluation. The concern of the rest of the paper is to sort out in which senses the conventional wisdom, with respect to Tarski's theory (Part 2) and the Meaning-Variance thesis (Part 3), is correct.
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