Realism in Ontology

Ilkka Niiniluoto

in Critical Scientific Realism

Published in print February 2002 | ISBN: 9780199251612
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191598098 | DOI:
 Realism in Ontology

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Ontological realism claims that at least a part of reality is ontologically independent of human minds. This view is compatible with physicalism (eliminative and reductive materialism), emergent materialism, and dualism, and even objective idealism, but incompatible with subjective idealism (solipsism, phenomenalism). This chapter defends ontological realism by interpreting Popper's doctrine of three worlds as a form of emergent materialism, which allows for the existence of human‐made cultural and social entities. Against nominalism and universalism, and contrary to essentialist assumptions about natural kinds, it is suggested that the basic furniture of the world consists of dynamically developing tropes or property instances.

Keywords: cultural entities; emergent materialism; essentialism; idealism; natural kinds; nominalism; ontological realism; phenomenalism; physicalism; tropes

Chapter.  9152 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Philosophy of Science

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