Realism and Antirealism

Department of Philosophy, School of Philosophy, Theology and Religion

College of Arts and Law


Code 21822

Level of study Third/Final year

Credit value 20

Semester 2

Pre-requisite modules 60 credits of philosophy

Module description

This module will cover some recent and contemporary debates between various forms of realism and anti-realism. In the first half of the module, after a brief introduction to realism and anti-realism in general, we will look at Michael Dummett¿s idea that realism about a particular area of thought and talk should be construed as the claim that statements from that area have potentially evidence-transcendent truth-conditions, and in particular we will attempt to evaluate his famous ¿manifestation challenge¿ against realism thus characterised. We will also look at Crispin Wright¿s idea that e.g. anti-realism about ascriptions of colour to everyday objects might be construed as the claim that the truth about colour is judgement-dependent. In the second half of the module, we look at Kripke¿s Wittgenstein¿s attack on realism about meaning. We will consider whether dispositionalism about meaning can solve Kripke¿s Wittgenstein¿s ¿Sceptical Paradox¿ about meaning, and also whether Kripke¿s own non-factualist view of ascriptions of meaning is ultimately incoherent. We will consider judgement-dependent forms of non-reductionism about meaning and the module will end with an investigation of the idea that meaning is normative.