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Realism v. Idealism

  • J. J. C. Smart (a1)

It is characteristic of realists to separate ontology from epistemology and of idealists to mix the two things up. By ‘idealists’ here I am mainly referring to the British neo-Hegelians (‘objective idealists’) but the charge of mixing up ontology and epistemology can be made against at least one ‘subjective idealist’, namely Bishop Berkeley, as his wellknown dictum ‘esse ispercipi’ testifies. The objective idealists rejected the correspondence theory of truth and on the whole accepted a coherence theory. The qualification is needed here because H. H. Joachim, in The Nature of Truth, found the coherence theory unable to deal with the problem of error.

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Hartry Field , ‘Realism and Relativism’, Journal of Philosophy 79 (1982), 553567, especially pp. 556–557.

See Neil Tennant , ‘From Logic to Philosophies’, British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 32 (1981), 287301,

J. J. C. Smart , ‘Metaphysical Realism’, Analysis 42 (1982), 1Z3. Russell, in his Inquiry into Meaning and Truth, op. cit., 278–288, has also discussed the meaningfulness of the sentence ‘There is a cosmos which has no spatiotemporal relation to the one in which we live’. (See also fn. 18 above.)

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  • ISSN: 0031-8191
  • EISSN: 1469-817X
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