By Lee Braver
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Extra resources for A Thing of This World: A History of Continental Anti-Realism
In J. L. Austin’s phrase, realism wears the trousers in the pair,1 so we must ﬁrst understand it in order to grasp anti-realism. In this opening chapter I will draw on largely analytic sources to construct a deﬁnition of realism in the form of a set of theses (denoted R1–R6), or a Realism Matrix. During my examination of the continental philosophers, I will progressively construct a correlative Anti-Realism Matrix (A1–A6) by tracing these ﬁgures’ various rejections and modiﬁcations of realism. These views arise from the historical conversation between the thinkers as they try to solve the problems and improve the positions left them by their predecessors.
On the one hand, we must humbly obey reality in order to know it; we have to ﬁnd and follow the joints already there, since we’re not strong enough just to cleave wherever we like. Giles Deleuze argues that the roles of sage and priest overlap in “the ancient conception of Wisdom: the sage was deﬁned partly by his own submission, partly by his ‘ﬁnal’ accord with Nature” (Deleuze 1984, 14). As pious knowers, we submit to reality, carrying the tablets down from the mountaintop without commenting in the margins.
18 A realist who subscribes to all three of Putnam’s factors must also accept bivalence; since the world is independently determinate and our sentences strive to correspond to it, their truth-values must be determinate. ”19 Dummett thus deﬁnes realism as the commitment to bivalence independent of our ability to verify or acquire sufﬁcient evidence, and this doctrine connects to R3, that there is one true account of the world. The Book of All True Sentences has already been written and all possible sentences are either in it or not; the most we can hope for is to transcribe it.
A Thing of This World: A History of Continental Anti-Realism by Lee Braver