Realism and Antirealism

Alexander Miller

in The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Language

Published in print September 2008 | ISBN: 9780199552238
Published online September 2009 | e-ISBN: 9780191577451 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Philosophy

 Realism and Antirealism

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This article questions whether, once the conception of metaphysics as grounded in the philosophy of language has been jettisoned, Dummett's arguments against semantic realism can retain any relevance to the realist/antirealist debate. By focussing on realism about the external world as an example, it reaches the conclusion that even without Dummett's conception of philosophy as grounded in the theory of meaning, his arguments against semantic realism do retain a limited but nevertheless genuine significance for the metaphysical debate. It emerges, though, that a certain key assumption, connecting the notions of linguistic understanding and knowledge, and necessary if Dummett's arguments are to have even this limited significance, is both underexplained and underdefended. The article concludes with some brief remarks on the cogency of the manifestation argument against semantic realism.

Keywords: semantic realism; realist/antirealist debate; conception of philosophy; theory of meaning; linguistic understanding; metaphysics

Article.  11801 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Language ; Metaphysics

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