Essays in Quasi-Realism
Blackburn (Simon)
This Page provides (where held) the Abstract of the above Book and those of all the Papers contained in it.
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BOOK ABSTRACT:

Amazon Book Description

  1. This volume collects together some influential essays in which Simon Blackburn explores one of the most profound and fertile of philosophical problems: the way in which our judgements relate to the world.
  2. This debate has centered on realism, or the view that what we say is validated by the way things stand in the world, and a variety of oppositions to it. Prominent among the latter are expressive and projective theories, but also a relaxed pluralism that discourages the view that there are substantial issues at stake.
  3. The figure of the ‘quasi-realist’ dramatizes the difficulty of conducting these debates. Typically philosophers thinking of themselves as realists will believe that they alone can give a proper or literal account of some of our attachments - to truth, to facts, to the independent world, to knowledge, and to certainty. The quasi-realist challenge, developed by Blackburn in this volume, is that we can have those attachments without any metaphysic that deserves calling realism, so that the metaphysical picture that goes with our practices is quite idle.
  4. The cases treated here include the theory of value, of knowledge, modality1, probability, causation2, intentionality and rule-following, and explanation.
  5. A substantial new introduction has been added, drawing together some of the central themes. The essays articulate a fresh alternative to a primitive realist/anti-realist opposition, and their cumulative effect is to yield a new appreciation of the delicacy of the debate in these central areas.



"Blackburn (Simon) - Attitudes and Contents"

Source: Blackburn - Essays in Quasi-Realism


Philosophers Index Abstract
    This paper rebuts a doubt about quasi realism voiced in "ethics" by Professor Schueler. I develop a logic for mixed sets of attitude and belief and suggest a semantical treatment similar to that of Hintikka.



"Blackburn (Simon) - Errors and the Phenomenology of Value"

Source: Blackburn - Essays in Quasi-Realism
Write-up Note1

Philosophers Index Abstract
    In this paper I argue that a Humean or projective account of morality is superior to any that takes comfort from the comparison with secondary qualities.
  1. I particularly try to show that the 'phenomenology' of moral judgement, including its absolutist feel, provides no difficulty for such a theory when it is properly developed.

For a précis, follow this Note2.

COMMENT: Annotated photocopy filed in "Various - Papers on Ethics Boxes Vol 1 (Coursework & A-F)".



"Blackburn (Simon) - Essays in Quasi-Realism: Introduction"

Source: Blackburn - Essays in Quasi-Realism


Philosophers Index Abstract
    This book collects together the main papers I have written on the theme of realism and its competitors. It includes addenda discussing reactions and exploring further avenues, and a scene-setting introduction.



"Blackburn (Simon) - Filling in Space"

Source: Blackburn - Essays in Quasi-Realism



"Blackburn (Simon) - How to Be an Ethical Anti-Realist"

Source: Blackburn - Essays in Quasi-Realism



"Blackburn (Simon) - Hume and Thick Connexions"

Source: Blackburn - Essays in Quasi-Realism


Philosophers Index Abstract
    In this paper I dispute the view, propounded by John Wright, Galen Strawson and others, that Hume is a "causal realist". I argue that the realist interpretation depends upon offering Hume an impoverished menu of options. When we take into account Hume's method, and the avowed influence of Hutcheson not only on the later parts but upon the metaphysical foundations of the Treatise, Hume comes into view as a sophisticated projectivist or quasi-realist about causation1, as he was about morals. This alone reconciles the realist sounding passages of the Treatise with Hume's principles of meaning and understanding.


COMMENT: See Link.



"Blackburn (Simon) - Just Causes"

Source: Blackburn - Essays in Quasi-Realism


Philosophers Index Abstract
    This paper considers the realist contention in ethics, that contrary to claims by some anti-realists, ethical properties are genuinely explanatory. From a 'projectivist' perspective I seek to explain why this is so, concluding that no argument against that point of view can derive from its phenomenon.



"Blackburn (Simon) - Knowledge, Truth, and Reliability"

Source: Blackburn - Essays in Quasi-Realism



"Blackburn (Simon) - Losing Your Mind: Physics, Identity, and the Folk Burglar Prevention"

Source: Blackburn - Essays in Quasi-Realism

COMMENT: Eliminitivism



"Blackburn (Simon) - Moral Realism"

Source: Blackburn - Essays in Quasi-Realism

COMMENT: Photocopy filed in "Various - Papers on Ethics Boxes Vol 1 (Coursework & A-F)".



"Blackburn (Simon) - Morals and Modals"

Source: Blackburn - Essays in Quasi-Realism


Philosophers Index Abstract
    This paper displays a "quasi-realist" theory of necessary truths, in which our propensity to attach modal1 values to propositions is compared with our propensity to moral attitudes. The theory offers an alternative to quinean scepticism to 'as if' theories, and to modal2 realism.



"Blackburn (Simon) - Opinions and Chances"

Source: Blackburn - Essays in Quasi-Realism


Philosophers Index Abstract
    In this paper I try to suggest a position on probability which could be called 'responsible subjectivism': probability judgments are to be seen as projections of degrees of confidence but subject to more constraints than the usual coherence and dynamic coherence constraints. I argue that this enables us to account for the apparently realistic nature of chances as theoretical entities, without departing from a subjective metaphysic, and I draw affinities with Ramsey's views.



"Blackburn (Simon) - Supervenience Revisited"

Source: Blackburn - Essays in Quasi-Realism


Philosophers Index Abstract
    In this paper I return to the problem of relating the supervenience1 of the ethical on the natural, to the lack of logical relations between the two realms. I compare other cases, and discuss whether different strengths of modality2 render the ethical case unproblematic, so that the combination is no special difficulty for moral realism. I conclude that they do not, and that antirealism gives a superior explanation of the phenomena.



"Blackburn (Simon) - The Individual Strikes Back"

Source: Blackburn - Essays in Quasi-Realism


Philosophers Index Abstract
    In this paper I discuss the virtues and possible limitations of Saul Kripke's exegesis of the rule-following considerations. I express reservations about the way the public-private dichotomy fits with this argument, and the way in which it relates to the notion of truth in the later Wittgenstein.


COMMENT: Kripke, Wittgenstein & "Following a Rule"



"Blackburn (Simon) - Truth, Realism, and the Regulation Theory"

Source: Blackburn - Essays in Quasi-Realism


Philosophers Index Abstract
    In this paper I address the question of how to distinguish whether the use of a kind of assertion is best thought of in 'realist' or 'anti-realist' terms. I reject various proposals--putnam's 'naturalistic fallacy' argument, dummett's use of bivalence as a litmus test, certain attitudes to indeterminacy and the existence of other theories of the same area. The only surviving proposal is that we look to our own explanations of the truths to which we are responding when we make assertions. This gives us a debate in, say, mathematics or ethics, but fails to distinguish anti-realism about common-sense.



Text Colour Conventions (see disclaimer)
  1. Blue: Text by me; © Theo Todman, 2018
  2. Mauve: Text by correspondent(s) or other author(s); © the author(s)



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