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q, kyla's picture

metaphysical and epistemological realism and logical relation of

I am particularly distraught by a certain paragraph in Kosso. I'm referring to the last paragraph of page 179-180. For your convenience, here it is:

"It is worht considering the logical relations between metaphysical and epistemological realisms before separating them and asking if they are supported by the physics. First, a non-relation. Epistemological anti-realism (we cannot know how nature is) does not entail metaphysical anti-realism (there is no independent way that nature is). It is certainly possible to claim that there is an independent reality out there but we cannot know about it. It is also possible to withhold judgement on the metaphysical issue. In fact, this metaphysical agnosticism seems to be a requirement of epistemological anti-realism. This is the relation of note between the two. Epistemological anti-realism precludes metaphysical anti-realism; indeed, it precludes metaphysical anything."

That makes sense to me very well. He continues (same paragraph):

"If we cannot know how things are (and we cannot, by the standards of epistemological anti-realism) then neither can we know how things are not."

I also follow this, but it means to me just that epistemological anti-realism has both a positive and negative sense. This is the crux of my problem (same paragraph):

"Metaphysical anti-realism, if it is to be believed with any confidence and justification, must presuppose some degree of epistemological realism."

He's stating though that to claim that there is no reality independent of us (metaphysical anti-realism), we must must first suppose "to some extent" that we have the ability to know an independent reality (epistemological realism).
I do not agree.

Suppose there is no independent reality. That is, reality is dependent on us. I do not see why this means we must first be able to know an independent reality.

So I guess that there should not be commas separating the clause "if it is to be believed with any confidence and justification", that is, this clause to the Kosso is not just adding redundant information or clarification. So suppose he means that in order to really believe that there is no reality independent of us that we must be able to know what an independent reality "looks like", "is". I guess somewhat logically if you could know what x looks like but never found it, never experienced it, then this could lead you to believe that x does not exist (i.e. since you know what x looks like, claim that x does not exist and until falsified...) . But even this doesn't make sense to me. How could you believe that you can know somethng that you in the first place believe does not exist? I don't see how this belief is less "blind" than the "blind" (i.e. "unjustified" as Kosso says) belief in metaphysical antirealism.

please help me :)


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