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Rainbows, Time Zones, and Other Mind-Dependent Objects: Making Sense of the Relevant Notions of “Mind-Dependence” in the Debate between Metaphysical Realists and Antirealists

DOI: 10.4236/ojpp.2012.21006, PP. 38-44

Keywords: Realism, Antirealism, Mind-Dependence

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Abstract:

In a recent article, Sam Page distinguishes four kinds of mind-(in)dependence: ontological, causal, structural, and individuative. He argues that, despite the fact that the metaphysical realism/antirealism debate has been frequently characterized as a debate between those who accept and those who deny that the world is causally and/or structurally dependent on minds, many antirealists are primarily interested in defending the claim that the world is individuatively mind-dependent. In this article, I critically examine these differing senses of “mind-dependence” highlighting ways in which they remain ambiguous and identifying various entailment relations between them. I argue that there is reason to believe that ontological dependence, structural dependence, and the only sort of individuative dependence that is relevant to the metaphysical debate are coextensive notions. As such, any argument that succeeds in establishing that it is incoherent to suppose that everything is ontologically and/or structurally dependent thereby establishes the incoherence of metaphysical antirealism.

References

[1]  Page, S. (2006). Mind-independence disambiguated: Separating the meat from the straw in the realism/anti-realism debate. Ratio, 19, 321-335. doi:10.1111/j.1467-9329.2006.00330.x
[2]  Smith, D. C. (1999). Metaphysical antirealism and objective truth: Is metaphysical antirealism self-refuting? The Southern Journal of Philosophy, 37, 293-313. doi:10.1111/j.2041-6962.1999.tb00869.x

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