Realism, naturalism, and pragmatism: a closer look at the views of Quine and Devitt

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Abstract

Michael Devitt's views on realism and naturalism have a lot in common with those of W.V. Quine. Both appear to be realists; both accept naturalized epistemology and abandon the old goal of first philosophy; both view philosophy as continuous with the empirical procedures of science and hence view metaphysics as similarly empirical; and both seem to view realism as following from naturalism. Although Quine and Devitt share quite a bit ideologically, I think there is a deeper, more fundamental dissimilarity between the two. I will explore the difference between them in an attempt to bring out the subtle complexities surrounding the issue of realism - complexities, I will argue, Devitt sometimes overlooks. I will also explore a real tension in Quine between his earlier, more pragmatic (or anti-realist) tendencies and his later, more austere realism. I will conclude by defending a more Quinean brand of realism I call internal realism.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)64-83
Number of pages20
JournalKriterion (Austria)
Volume21
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2007
Externally publishedYes

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