It’s a Postrealist World

Postrealism challenges both realism and relativism

The obvious and the self-evident are also the hallmarks of prejudice and danger. And what could be more obvious than that our maps, theories and histories of the world help us understand the world because they reflect reality. Science works because it is uncovering how the world really is.

Self-evident common sense it may be – and one that Michaela Massimi and Simon Blackburn endorsed in their debate with me in After Relativism – but it is a mistake, and a dangerous mistake to boot. The name of this philosophical mistake is realism.

What is dangerous about realism is that it encourages those who believe they have uncovered the truth to dismiss other accounts and sometimes to describe these alternative perspectives with derision or worse. From suicide bombers and terrorists to dictatorial governments and fanatical cults, the most ardent and violent supporters are typically realists. In the name of truth and in the name of having un

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Clayton Foschiani 27 April 2015

"What is dangerous about realism is that it encourages those who believe they have uncovered the truth to dismiss other accounts and sometimes to describe these alternative perspectives with derision or worse". Laughable!
It is unacceptable that, a decade through the 21st century a philosopher is jabbering about metaphysics without seriously considering Peirce's realism. It is just nonsense. derrida + analytic philosophy = square*vagueness

David Morey 2 13 March 2014

Of course critical or speculative realists equally dismiss the excesses of scientism. Galen Strawson also makes some good points about how a real naturalism should place conscious experience at the centre of its naturalism, rather than imagining reducing it to concepts only suited to describing the material objects of experience.

David Morey 2 13 March 2014

Nonetheless Hilary Lawson's Closure is a very great book that you all should, like me, read. Robert Pirsig's book Lila is closely related to this too.

David Morey 2 13 March 2014

Whilst our scientific languages and models and experimental methods are human creations, we nonetheless invite nature to respond to the questions we ask, responding by pushing our instruments up or down in measurable ways, this is the source of evidential realism in science, allowing scientists to agree or dispute real evidence, with real regularities being modelled, however inevitably open to potential revision, but the fact of regularity itself is an unavoidable basis of science.

David Morey 2 13 March 2014

Philosopher of science Roy Bhaskar is a notable realist worth reading.

David Morey 2 13 March 2014

In After Finitude, Meillassaux argues that the need to recognise times that existed before human beings and inevitably after human beings too, (same applies to distant places too) to make sense of the universe we live in, requires us to be realists. I think this is a good point, whilst still keeping Lawson's crucial analysis of openness and closure in our human attempts to understand our human world and experiences. It is, we might speculate, a fundamentally real ontological openness that undermines all are attempts to impose closure on reality, making openness the only possible certainty.

David Morey 2 13 March 2014

For more (not me) on Speculative Realism see this journal:

http://www.speculations-journal.org/current-issue/

David Morey 2 13 March 2014

For me on Speculative Realism see this journal:

http://www.speculations-journal.org/current-issue/

David Morey 2 13 March 2014

Whilst closure may be a largely human activity, openness,regularity and pattern seem perfectly good ways to approach a speculative realism as various philosophers now are. I'd be interested to know what Hilary thinks of the new Speculative Realists and Meillissaux's After Finitude.