Realism and anti-realism

Book chapter


Insole, Christopher J.. (2017). Realism and anti-realism. In In Abraham, William J. and Aquino, Frederick D. (Ed.). The Oxford handbook of the epistemology of theology pp. 274-289 Oxford University Press. https://doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199662241.013.21
AuthorsInsole, Christopher J.
EditorsAbraham, William J. and Aquino, Frederick D.
Abstract

The chapter argues that the search for a single construal of the realism/anti-realism distinction is misguided. There are more or less apt versions of the distinction, each framed with a specific set of interests. The terms of art, ‘realist’ and ‘anti-realist’, are not helpfully construed as applying across whole domains (‘science’, ‘religion’, ‘ethics’), or thinkers, but at the level of particular statements. As such, the distinction has less in common with categorizations such as ‘theist/atheist’, or ‘empiricist/rationalist’, and more in common with (contestable, but still useful for many) terms of art such as ‘a priori/a posteriori’ and ‘analytic/synthetic’. The chapter explores four alternative construals of the distinction: cognitivist, ontological, epistemological, and semantic. When we get to the more subtle construals of semantic anti-realism/realism, it is unclear what precisely (if anything) is at stake in the debate.

Keywordsrealism; anti-realism; religion; cognitivist; epistemological; ontological; semantic
Page range274-289
Year2017
Book titleThe Oxford handbook of the epistemology of theology
PublisherOxford University Press
Place of publicationOxford
ISBN9780199662241
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199662241.013.21
Publisher's version
License
All rights reserved
File Access Level
Controlled
Output statusPublished
Publication dates
PrintJun 2017
OnlineJul 2017
Publication process dates
Deposited11 May 2021
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