Parution: Jocelyn Benoist, Toward a Contextual Realism (Harvard UP, 6 juillet 2021)
Toward a Contextual Realism
Harvard University Press
Parution le 6 juillet 2021
This book breaks a new realistic path in philosophy. Against postmodern anti-realism, but also against the semantic approach characteristic of the classical phase of Analytic philosophy, the author argues that primacy should be given to the concept of reality. However, he rejects metaphysical realism, which hypostatizes the fantasy of an unconditional thought into an alleged conception of absolute reality.
The book therefore defends the idea of a contextualized intentionality, i.e. placed in reality. The attitudes of the mind towards reality are themselves in reality: they depend on it, make use of it and have to find their path in it. At the same time, intentionality only can open up the different dimensions of reality.
Thus, the notion of context is instrumental in a renewed realism that draws the consequences from contemporary philosophy of language and applies them methodically to the core issues in the philosophy of mind and metaphysics. The basic insight of this construction is the following: ‘what there is’ -the traditional subject of metaphysics- can be determined only in context. Thus, in this book one finds 1) a sharp criticism of acontextual ontology and any kind of acontextual approach to mind and reality 2) the foundation of a radically contextualist philosophy of mind and metaphysics. To be is to be in a context.
Thus, ‘Toward a Contextual Realism’ is a contribution to the current debate on the meaning of realism, kindled in particular by the development of so-called ‘new realisms’ (Markus Gabriel, Maurizio Ferraris), as well as an attempt at bridging the gap between so-called ‘Continental’ and ‘Analytic’ metaphysics and epistemology.