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Record Type: Review   ID: 343

Starmaking: Realism, Anti-Realism, and Irrealism

McCormick, Peter J. (Ed.).

 This volume, as the subtitle suggests, consists of different versions of arguments for "realism, anti-realism, and irrealism." In connection with starmaking, the example is used of the Big Dipper. Humans noted the arrangement of that constellation’s stars and gave it the name, but many argue that "nature" made the stars. One of the major thinkers contesting this position is Hilary Putnam, who denies that there is anything that has an intrinsic property in itself. It could be, McCormick writes in the Introduction, "a deep-seated and long-standing debate" (p. xixi). Anyone interested in the hard task of following the ins and outs of these contrasting articles will find the book very rewarding. That the themes are closely and richly argued is evident from the contents. The book is in six parts: In three chapters Nelson Goodman, Hilary Putnam, and Israel Scheffler provide three background essays setting the stage for what is to follow. Goodman presents two essays on "worldmaking" in Part II. Next come four chapters of "Recreations." Section IV contains three chapters consisting of "Elaboration’s." Then comes two "responses" by Scheffler and Putnam. The final section, "Beyond Realism and Anti-Realism," consists of comments on the foregoing 14 chapters by Nelson Goodman.
Publisher Information:Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1996. 218p
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