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THE METAPHYSICAL REALISM DEBATE: WHAT IS AT STAKE?

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Chapter Summary

The realism debate concerns the relationship of our beliefs, thoughts and language to the world or universe, and hence involves a number of fundamental questions ranging from metaphysics through epistemology to semantics and philosophy of language. While a few philosophers take it as an inevitable feature of the debate and try to advance it by coping simultaneously with all those questions, a number of others insists that the approach of this kind leads merely to confusions and misunderstandings. They usually suggest that the metaphysical or ontological aspects of it should be kept separate from such epistemological and semantic issues as the possibility of absolute knowledge, the correspondence theory of truth, or the truth-conditional theory of meaning. In other words, there is such a thing as pure or simple metaphysical realism that may be endorsed and defended, or undermined and rejected. The aim of the paper is to raise some doubts about that metaphilosophical strategy, and to argue that the comprehensive approach to the realism debate, in which the metaphysical issues are combined with –– at least –– some epistemological matters, is not so much caused by confusions and misunderstandings, but forced, as it were, by its subject matter and the philosophical nature of the debate.

10.1163/9789004332966_020
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