Realism and Reality

Although there are a host of distinct issues associated with discussions of realism and antirealism, the most fundamental is the ontological question whether there is a mind-independent world, a world with a determinate, intrinsic nature that is independent of our theoretical and practical interaction with it. That there is such a mind-independent world is the minimal and most crucial requirement of realism. The main purpose of this paper is to defend this ontological requirement of realism. The ontological requirement involves two propositions---that objects exist whether or not they are known to exist, and that the world has an intrinsic nature that does not depend on our concepts, values, or interests. I defend realism against a number of objections offered by Putnam and Goodman. I argue that the ontological requirement of realism is not undermined by objections to it based upon a consideration of problems concerning reference, the implications of the “agent point of view,” the interest-relativity of concepts, or the multiplicity of versions of the world
Keywords Contemporary Philosophy  General Interest
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ISBN(s) 1053-8364
DOI 10.5840/jpr_1998_19
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