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The Limits of Realism$
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Tim Button

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199672172

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199672172.001.0001

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From Cartesian to Kantian angst

From Cartesian to Kantian angst

(p.53) 7 From Cartesian to Kantian angst
The Limits of Realism

Tim Button

Oxford University Press

The external realist might attempt to embrace the conclusion that her attempts to constrain reference are bereft of empirical content. She might think that, in addition to worrying that she is a brain-in-a-vat, she must now worry that reference is radically indeterminate. But there is a difference in kind between these two sceptical worries. The former expresses Cartesian angst; the worry that our beliefs might be false. The latter expresses Kantian angst; the worry that our beliefs are contentless. Consequently, the model-theoretic arguments and the just-more-theory manoeuvre together form a machine that converts Cartesian angst into Kantian angst. But Kantian angst is incoherent. This erodes one’s faith in external realism.

Keywords:   cartesian angst, cartesian scepticism, kantian angst, kantian scepticism, just-more-theory manoeuvre, external realism, putnam’s model-theoretic arguments

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