Believing ordinary objects like tables and chairs to be real seems to be a matter of believing that they exist and are independent of our minds. However, the idea that realism about a domain is a matter of taking on certain mind-independent ontological commitments falters when we consider other domains. Realism about minds, for example, clearly does not require a commitment to mind-independence. And realism about morality does not seem to require believing in the existence of any special moral entities. The way to explain these varying intuitions, I believe, is to give up the idea that realism, at its heart, has anything to do with existence or mind-independence. I argue that believing a domain to be real is fundamentally a matter of forming one’s beliefs about the domain in a certain fashion. It is a matter of deeming certain kinds of reasons more relevant to the task of belief formation than others. I call this the Relevant Reasons Account of Realism. It explains why ontology and mind-independence seem crucial to some kinds of realism, and why they seem irrelevant to others. It also explains various other intuitions that we encounter along the way.
A number of philosophers have thought that the realist about a domain has to believe the domain to be detected rather than projected. I argue that the most promising attempts to pinpoint a detection/projection distinction (including the concept of response-dependence, Crispin Wright’s conception of judgment-dependence, and Kit Fine’s conception of non-factuality) all fall short of the mark, in one way or another. None of these proposals give us a distinction that is relevant to the question of realism. I then develop a new (and dialectically fruitful) way of making the projection/detection distinction. On my account, for a domain to be a projection of our epistemic practice is for our epistemic success with respect to the domain to be explained in a certain kind of way. I argue that, if a domain is a projection of our epistemic practice in this sense, it is less than fully real for us.
|Advisor:||Lycan, William G.|
|Commitee:||Bar-On, Dorit, Hofweber, Thomas, Lycan, William G., Neta, Ram, Roberts, John T.|
|School:||The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill|
|School Location:||United States -- North Carolina|
|Source:||DAI-A 73/01, Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Keywords:||Anti-realism, Mind-dependence, Mind-independence, Objectivity, Projection, Realism|
Copyright in each Dissertation and Thesis is retained by the author. All Rights Reserved
The supplemental file or files you are about to download were provided to ProQuest by the author as part of a
dissertation or thesis. The supplemental files are provided "AS IS" without warranty. ProQuest is not responsible for the
content, format or impact on the supplemental file(s) on our system. in some cases, the file type may be unknown or
may be a .exe file. We recommend caution as you open such files.
Copyright of the original materials contained in the supplemental file is retained by the author and your access to the
supplemental files is subject to the ProQuest Terms and Conditions of use.
Depending on the size of the file(s) you are downloading, the system may take some time to download them. Please be