This chapter elucidates some aspects of the tangled notion of realism. A distinction is drawn between metaphysical realism and ontological realism. The latter affirms the mind-independent existence of a certain category of entity —properties, objects of perception, theoretical entities. The second notion is associated with Dummett: metaphysical or semantic realists and anti-realists dispute whether truth is evidence-transcendent. The latter view tends to assimilate realism to a form of radical scepticism, something not associated with historical realists. Despite this, the notion is not discarded since it is needed in explicating the ‘mind-independent’ component of ontological realism. The key distinction between informational and metaphysical content is introduced. The former notion is related to Frege's notion of sense, whilst metaphysical contents specify what makes-true or false an utterance with a given sense in a given circumstance or context. In terms of these, a tripartite ‘neo-Fregean’ framework of Sense, Circumstance, and World is put in place; this will be used to clarify the obscure notion of ontological reductionism featuring in many ontological anti-realisms.
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