In Support of a Modest Realism

Philosophy in the Contemporary World 5 (2-3):23-26 (1998)
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Abstract

The “modest realism” described by Joe Frank Jones, III offers a sound methodological model for developing both self-understanding and philosophical theories. Claire Chafee’s play Why We Have a Body illustrates the pitfalls of living both a thoroughgoing realism and a thoroughgoing idealism and argues for the conception of a life story as a project in which discovery and invention play side by side.Stanley Cavell argues that the shape of a philosophy mirrors the shape of a philosopher’s life. Thereby he suggests that Ludwig Wittgenstein saw his own revolutionary philosophical work as a species of modest realism, i. e., continuing to turn in fruitful directions,rather than as a species of anti-idealism, i. e., rejecting an entire tradition of philosophical theorizing.

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