Realism & Idealism

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Realism & Idealism by Mind Map: Realism & Idealism

1. Intro

1.1. How are we to view the nature of reality: Aristotle says it is the nature of being qua being - getting clear about the different kinds of beings and the relations between each of them. Aristotle: Metaphysics also requires an account of the ultimate being - God. But are we really just equipped to study the structure of our thought about being. (Studying the essential structure of our conceptual scheme) 2 questions are raised: 1. Is it impossible to have access to a reality that exists independently of our means of knowing it? 2.What kind of independence is at issue here? Act/things we conceptualise or contents of our conceptualisations/the things themselves

2. Two Metaphors

2.1. We return the question of how we are to comprehend the epistemic status of our concepts. Cookie cutter (construction - the shape tells us more about the shaper) Fishnet (construal - reveals reality in itself) Everything is hinged on how you see relationship between thought and reality How are we to choose between the metaphors? Be aware of dialectical situation, question begging against eachother

2.2. We return the question of how we are to comprehend the epistemic status of our concepts.

3. Three distinctions of metaphysics

3.1. Being qua being - insurmountable gap between thought and reality Metaphysics as characterisation of human conceptual structures which can tell us nothing about being. Metaphysics becomes anthropology. The characterization of human conceptual structures - construal

4. Idealism & Realism

4.1. Most idealists defending a form of realism - but anxious to reject the kind of realism where reality is inaccessible to us (our ideas). Term idea conceals an ambiguity within it between act and content. Idea can also be representation (Hegel) or form/essence (Aristotle)

4.2. Berkeley's Idealism: Response to representative realism (Locke). Response - Inconceivability and redundancy. 'To be is to be perceived' could lead to subjective realism. So Berkeley thinks that God holds things in existence.

5. John McDowell

5.1. Makes the claim that there is nothing outside the conceptual. Not an expression of subjective realism or anti-realism, but a rejection of the dualistic framework set out by Kant (There is no sense to be found in our thinking being constrained from without – there is no way of explaining how thought can engage with anything other than itself)

6. Available options

6.1. 1.Representative realism – Things are distinct from ideas, things cause ideas, ideas are effects. 2.Subjective realism – Things are reducible to ideas – to be is to be perceived 3.Sober realism/sober idealism – Denying that to be is to be perceived, reject position 2. Things are not reducible to acts of perceiving or thinking about them. Reject position 1. By allowing that we are capable of thinking and perceiving things which are there anyway (Work of mind is that of construal)

7. God

7.1. Without the role of God, Berkely’s argument collapses into phenomenalism. God is to be distinguished from anything within this world. Unlike our relation to things where we stand in direct and fallible relation to them – the same cannot be said of relation to God (CC metaphor more appropriate here?). God is really a placeholder for a sensible form of realism.