Our thoughts about the world are clearly influenced by such things as point of view, temperament, past experience and culture. However, some thinkers go much further and argue that everything that exists depends on us, arguing that 'even reality is relative'. Can we accept such a claim in the face of events such as floods and other natural disasters or events seemingly beyond our control? 'Realists' argue that reality is independent of out thinking. 'Relativists' disagree, arguing that what there is depends on our point of view. Which is right?
Robert Kirk provides a crystal clear account of this debate from the Greek philosophers to Wittgenstein and Rorty. Along the way, he unpacks some of the more complicated issues surrounding ideas of objectivity, subjectivity, pragmatism and realism essential for those beginning any study of philosphy.

chapter |14 pages


chapter |20 pages


chapter |21 pages

Relative to Us?

chapter |18 pages

Words and World: Wittgenstein

chapter |16 pages

Words and World: Quine

chapter |19 pages

Language-Games V. Realism

chapter |10 pages

Foundations for Knowledge?

chapter |15 pages

Dummett's Anti-Realism

chapter |10 pages

Rorty's ‘Postmodern' Pragmatism

chapter |23 pages

Science and the World of Everyday Life

chapter |14 pages

A Strong Realism