What is Out There?

There is a real world 'out there'.

What is “out there”? Good reasons prompt the question. Out of my window, there is a world of people walking and cycling; there is Bristo Square with its concert hall, trees, and blades of grass; and the sky and clouds moving fast over Scottish land. Ask the same question to a cosmologist and she will reply that “out there”, there is a world consisting of 4% atoms, 21% dark matter, and 75% dark energy, with atoms consisting of protons, neutrons and electrons, and protons and neutrons consisting, in turn, of up and down quarks. Ask my three-year old son, and he will reply that “out there” is a world of marigolds, and limpets, dogs and dinosaurs. Ask the Azande, and they will reply that “out there” is a world of harvest and famines, witches and spring festivals. What is then “out there”?

Prompted by these considerations, conceptual relativists, such as Hilary Putnam, Nelson Goodman, and Peter J. McCormick, happily forsake the idea of a ready-made world. We m

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