Global Anti-realism: A Metaphilosophical Inquiry

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Westview Press, 2000 - Philosophy - 174 pages
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Few philosophical debates have generated as much interest - or as much confusion - over the last several decades as those over realism and anti-realism. In G lobal Anti-Realism , Andrew Cortens imposes some much needed order on the field by arguing that realist/anti-realist debates of all kinds display a common structure. While realists think of themselves as believing the claims expressed by a certain range of sentences, anti-realists refuse to accept the sentences as interpreted by their opponents. They either accept the realist interpretation while rejecting the relevant sentences, or endorse the sentences under some alternative interpretation.Cortens extends this simple model for understanding so-called "local" disputes over realism in areas like morality, causality, and mathematics in order to formulate a clear conception of a "global" dispute over realism and anti-realism.The author argues that recent analytic philosophy is rife with disputes of this kind, focusing on three areas in particular: (i) disputes over whether it is we who in some sense "divide the world up into objects", (ii) disputes over whether there are any privileged reference relations between words and things, and (iii) disputes over whether talk of linguistic meaning and mental content answers to anything in reality. Contrary to what is commonly thought, epistemic and deflationary conceptions of truth have at best a tenuous connection with global anti-realism, Cortens argues.By meticulously revealing the global ramifications of views associated with Putnam, Quine, Kripke's Wittgenstein and others, Global Anti-Realism promises to reshape our understanding of realist/anti-realist debates and makes a forceful case for the profound metaphysical significance of current controversies in the philosophy of language and the philosophy of mind. The work concludes with some recommendations for how realist/anti-realist debate should proceed in the future.

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Local And Global
AntiRealism about Reference and Global AntiRealism

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About the author (2000)

Andrew J. Cortens received his M.A. in philosophy from the University of Manitoba in 1989 and his Ph.D. in philosophy from Syracuse University in 1995. He is currently assistant professor of philosophy at Boise State University. He and his wife Caroline have four children.

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