Naturalistic Realism and the Antirealist Challenge
In this important book, Drew Khlentzos explains the antirealist argument from a realist perspective. He defends naturalistic realism against the antirealist challenge, and he considers the consequences of his defense for our understanding of realism and truth. Khlentzos argues that the naturalistic realist view that the world exists independently of the mind must take into consideration what he calls the representation problem: if the naturalistic realist view is true, how can mental representation of the world be explained?
He examines this major antirealist challenge in detail and shows that many realists have dismissed it because they have not understood its nature. He sees it as a philosophical puzzle: the antirealist challenge, if sound, does not prove that there are no objects that exist independently of the mind, but that there is no rational basis for thinking that there are; we have good reason to believe in the naturalistic view, but (given the antirealist arguments) we have no way of knowing how it could be true. Khlentzos surveys the antirealist arguments of Michael Dummett, Hilary Putnam, and Crispin Wright and suggests a realist answer. He argues for a radically nonepistemic conception of truth, and against pragmatist, intuitionist, verificationist, and pluralist alternatives. He examines and rejects some current versions of physicalism and functionalism, and offers an original version of the correspondence theory of truth.
About the Author
Drew Khlentzos is Senior Lecturer in Philosophy at the University of New England, Australia.
"Drew Khlentzos's book is the best I've read on the realism-antirealism debate. Highly competent on the relevant mathematical logic and fair to his opponents, Khlentzos marshals new arguments and original proposals that will establish him as a truly world-class philosopher."
—J. J. C. Smart, Emeritus Professor, Australian National University
"In this well-judged and sympathetic study, Khlentzos examines the antirealist arguments of Dummett and Putnam, and shows how difficult they make it to combine realism with naturalism and representationalism. As a realist who is not prepared to take his philosophy on faith, Khlentzos is the best kind of guide. His forceful and highly readable book is an excellent introduction to these difficult and crucial issues."
—Huw Price, ARC Federation Fellow and Challis Professor of Philosophy, University of Sydney
"Drew Khlentzos thinks that naturalistic realists have been far too complacent in the face of Dummett, Putnam, and others. In this wide-ranging and engaging book he tells us why. Very provocative!"
—Michael Devitt, Distinguished Professor of Philosophy, The Graduate Center, City University of New York
"I know of no other book in recent years that can serve, as this book can, at once as a comprehensive survey of one of the most important debates in contemporary metaphysics and a genuinely important contribution to that debate."
—Hilary Putnam, Cogan University Professor Emeritus, Harvard University