The Anti‐Realist Alternative

John Campbell

in Reference and Consciousness

Published in print June 2002 | ISBN: 9780199243815
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191597145 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Cognitive Science Series

 The Anti‐Realist Alternative

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Michael Dummett argued that rather than thinking in terms of a sign's having a reference with which the use of the sign must keep faith, the use of the sign is subject to a constraint of ‘harmony’: that the consequences of accepting statements involving the sign should be appropriate, given what is demanded for confirmation of a statement made using the sign. I argue that the account of demonstratives developed so far shows a way of resisting this idea, by providing an account of what knowledge of the reference of a sign could consist in, over and above a mere ability to use the sign. These issues over anti‐realism can be restated for spatial reasoning in terms of whether mental models should be analysed as of harmony.

Keywords: anti‐realism; harmony; mental models; reference; spatial reasoning

Chapter.  10444 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Philosophy of Mind

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