Two Notions of Realism?

Colin McGinn

in Knowledge and Reality

Published in print February 2002 | ISBN: 9780199251582
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191598012 | DOI:
 Two Notions of Realism?

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McGinn's narrow aim in this essay is to complicate Dummett's simplistic, logico‐linguistic formulation of the debate between realism and anti‐realism, by undermining the presumption that the law of bivalence captures the intuitive notion of realism. Drawing on a wide variety of illustrations (e.g. statements of personal identity, ethical statements, Quinean theories of radical interpretation, mathematical statements), McGinn counters that realism is better characterized as the claim of evidence independence, arguing that this claim is independent of the truth or falsity of bivalence. Thus, McGinn's wider aim is to formulate the dispute between realism and anti‐realism as a metaphysical, rather than logico‐linguistic, debate.

Keywords: anti‐realism; bivalence; Dummett; evidence; indeterminacy; law of bivalence; meaning; Quine; radical interpretation; realism; semantics; truth; vagueness

Chapter.  6190 words. 

Subjects: Metaphysics

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