Objectivity Phil. 110 – DeRose – Fall 2003
–Realism and Anti-Realism (76.2)
–The thesis of objective truth (73.2)
1. Our beliefs and our assertions are either true or false; each of our beliefs and assertions represents the World [3.7] as being a certain way, and the belief or assertion is true if the World is that way, and false if the World is not that way.
2. The World exists and has the features it does in large part independently of our beliefs and assertions.
–“The truth or falsity of our belief and assertions is therefore “objective” in the sense that truth and falsity are conferred upon those beliefs and assertions by their objects, by the things they are about.” (73.7)
–Global Vs. Domain Specific Realism & Anti-Realism. Some popular domains:
–the theoretical, unobservable
–religion, the supernatural
–right and wrong
–Two Qualifications (74.6-75.7)
Philosophers understandably worry about the looseness and multiplicity of understandings of the terms ‘realism’ and ‘antirealism’. Fortunately, we do not need to attempt a precise characterization here. It will suffice to structure the discussion to follow that any realist about a given region of discourse is likely to want to maintain versions of two claims:
A semantic claim: something to the effect that statements in the discourse have a content that fits them for representation of aspects of the real world;
A metaphysical claim: something to the effect that the real world comes furnished with states of affairs of the kind that such statements are fitted to represent.
–Crispin Wright, “What Could Antirealism about Ordinary Psychology Possibly Be?”, Philosophical Review 111 (2002): 205-233; pp. 206-07
–The “Social Construct” Argument (78-79)
–PvI responds by appeal to language-independent “theses” (propositions) (80.6-81.2)
–Self-Referential Trouble for the Anti-Realist? (81.7,ff.): Is the Anti-Realist “self-refuting” (84.2)?
–Key demand: “What status do the ascribe to [their own thesis]?” (81.8)
“The anti-Realists, if they are to make a convincing case for anti-Realism, must propose a substitute for objective truth; they must specify a feature “good” statements like ‘Lions are carnivorous’ have and “bad” statements like ‘Snails are aquatic mammals’ lack.” (84.3)
–Some Anti-realist accounts of / substitutes for Truth
-fitting in with our experience (81.9)
-Personal opinion or fitting in with the speaker’s experience (83.3)
-agreement: truth is what your peers let you get away with saying
-future opinion, future ideal opinion: “The opinion which is fated to be ultimately
agreed to by all who investigate is what we mean by truth.” –Charles Peirce