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Realism and Anti-Realism

There are a bewildering variety of ways the terms "realism" and "anti-realism" have been used in philosophy and furthermore the different uses of these terms are only loosely connected with one another. Rather than give a piecemeal map of this very diverse landscape, the authors focus on what they see as the core concept: realism about a particular domain is the view that there are facts or entities distinctive of that domain, and their existence and nature is in some important sense objective and mind-independent. The authors carefully set out and explain the different realist and anti-realist positions and arguments that occur in five key domains: science, ethics, mathematics, modality and fictional objects. For each area the authors examine the various styles of argument in support of and against realism and anti-realism, show how these different positions and arguments arise in very different domains, evaluate their success within these fields, and draw general conclusions about these assorted strategies. Error theory, fictionalism, non-cognitivism, relativism and response-dependence are taken as the most important positions in opposition to the realist and these are explored in depth. Suitable for advanced level undergraduates, the book offers readers a clear introduction to a subject central to much contemporary work in metaphysics, epistemology and philosophy of language.
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Table of Contents

Preface 1. Introduction 2. Local realism and anti-realism: the existence axis 3. Local realism and anti-realism: the independence axis 4. Idealism 5. Kantianism 6. Verificationism 7. Morality 8. Realism about science 9. Mathematics 10. Colour 11. Modality 12. Fictional characters Notes Bibliography Index

About the Author

Stuart Brock is Senior Lecturer in Philosophy at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand. Edwin Mares is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand.


"Essential reading for anyone who is interested in the contemporary realism/anti-realism debate." - Eugenio Lombardo, University of Leeds

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