Michael Dummett

in The Seas of Language

Published in print February 1996 | ISBN: 9780198236214
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191597350 | DOI:

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Realism has traditionally been understood as an epistemological doctrine about the direct awareness of the external objects. There is another sense of realism, in which one is said to be a realist about a particular subject matter. In the latter sense, it is a semantic thesis about the bivalence of the statements of the given subject matter. The anti‐realist semantical claim amounts to denying the possibility of knowing a statement to be true unless one has the means to arrive at such knowledge. Dummett argues that only the semantic thesis is coherent, exploring interactions between the semantic versions of realism and anti‐realism.

Keywords: anti‐realism; bivalence; knowledge; realism; theory of meaning; verification

Chapter.  25775 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Language

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