Dr. Menno Lievers (University of Utrecht)


In this talk I describe my route from anti-realism to na´ve realism. As an undergraduate studying philosophy I was convinced that a form of idealism was the correct stance in philosophy. I was also convinced that the philosophy of language was the first philosophy, in Aristotle's sense. This meant that I had to defend two claims: first that we think in language; secondly, that linguistic idealism is true. In trying to defend these claims, I gradually began to feel uncomfortable. In particular, after haven given the problem of reference some more thought, I became convinced that the question of the decidability of reference poses insurmountable problems for anti-realism. I then traced the source of these problems to the idea that the philosophy of language is first philosophy. Instead, I now believe, Aristotle was right in giving priority to ontology.