Quasi-Realism No Fictionalism
Blackburn (Simon)
Source: Personal Website.
Paper - Abstract

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Author’s Abstract

  1. David Lewis’s paper ‘Quasi-Realism is Fictionalism’ starts with a supposition and a comment upon it which are music to my ears:
      Suppose that Simon Blackburn’s quasi-realist program has succeeded perfectly on its own terms – something I think not unlikely.
  2. Given the controversial nature of the program, this much endorsement from a philosopher and logician of Lewis’s stature is pleasant indeed. And for the purpose of this paper I am going to bask in its light. In other words, I am not going to say very much directly to defend my program, or render it more or less likely to be successful than it is already.
  3. However Lewis goes on to suggest that quasi-realism is a kind of fictionalism, and it is here that our accord comes under strain. I do not think it is. This, of course, may be a merit, in quasi-realism, or may be a demerit.
  4. Fictionalism has been gaining ground of late, having being applied at least to modal1 discourse, mathematical discourse and moral discourse, and perhaps others as well. So perhaps it would be better to be a fictionalist than to be a quasi-realist, or better to amalgamate the two approaches.
  5. Lewis himself thought that quasi-realism gained luster from being identified with fictionalism. But I believe on the contrary that my reluctance to be identified with fictionalism stems from a well-founded mistrust of fictionalism itself.
  6. In this paper I shall only register my disquiet at its application to the philosophy of evaluative thoughts and practices and discourses, with a word or two at the end about the modal2 case.


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