Psychology Dictionary of Arguments

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Realism, philosophy: realism is a collective term for theories which, in principle, believe that it is possible for us to acquire knowledge about objects of the external world that is independent from us as perceptual subjects. A strong realism typically represents the thesis that it would make sense to even create hypotheses about basically unknowable objects. See also metaphysical realism, internal realism, universal realism, constructivism.

Annotation: The above characterizations of concepts are neither definitions nor exhausting presentations of problems related to them. Instead, they are intended to give a short introduction to the contributions below. – Lexicon of Arguments.

Author Concept Summary/Quotes Sources

Ruth Millikan on Realism - Dictionary of Arguments

I 11
Realism/Millikan: I remain close to Aristotelian realism.
Cf. >Nature/Aristotle.
I 13
Realism/Millikan: correctly understood, realism does not demand that the world has to be "properly divided".
Identity/Millikan: Realism must be able to explain only objective identity (sameness). This is something other than a "preferred classification" of nature.
>Terminology/Millikan, >Identity/Millikan.
MillikanVsHolism: It is about understanding without holism and without the myth of what is given, how we test our apparent abilities, to recognize things, and our apparent meanings.
I 245
Classical Realism/Thinking/Millikan: for classical realism thinking was about a thing, to bring (thesis) this thing or its nature before the conscious mind.
Plato/Aristotle/Husserl: the nature of the thing alone enters the mind.
Early Russell/Moore/Phenomenalism: the thing alone comes before the mind, (without a "nature").
Locke/Hume: Thesis: instead of the thing we have to do with a representation that embodies its nature by being a copy of it.
>Locke, >Hume.
Descartes/Whitehead: a way or aspect of the thing embodies its nature.
Knowledge/Thinking/Realism/Millikan: so we know ipso facto what we think.
The following four things are not distinguished from classical realism:
1. it seems to you that you think of something
2. to really think
3. it seems to you that you know what you think
4. to really know what you think.

I 248
Realism/Thinking/judgment/nature/thing/existence/Millikan: a solution: if it is rather nature than the object that comes before the mind, then the accidental object is not necessary for nature, it does not have to exist. Then the realization that the object really exists, corresponds rather to a judgment than to contemplation about its nature.
Existence: that the thing existed became something additional that was added.
Ontology/Millikan: Problem: that something "should exist in addition to its pre-existing nature".
Thinking/Classical Realism/Millikan: applying a term was then equated with judging that a thing exists. So thinking-of = Identify.
I 249
Identification/Realism/Millikan: identification takes place only in a moment and involves only one encounter with the object. Then this is a kind of aesthetic experience, in which the consciousness bathes in a dwelling of the thing. Why should that be good?

Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution. Translations: Dictionary of Arguments
The note [Concept/Author], [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] resp. "problem:"/"solution:", "old:"/"new:" and "thesis:" is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.

Millikan I
R. G. Millikan
Language, Thought, and Other Biological Categories: New Foundations for Realism Cambridge 1987

Millikan II
Ruth Millikan
"Varieties of Purposive Behavior", in: Anthropomorphism, Anecdotes, and Animals, R. W. Mitchell, N. S. Thomspon and H. L. Miles (Eds.) Albany 1997, pp. 189-1967
Der Geist der Tiere, D Perler/M. Wild, Frankfurt/M. 2005

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