Dr. Menno Lievers (University of Utrecht)
FROM ANTI-REALISM TO NAÏVE REALISM
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.