E-LOGOS - University of Economics, Prague
Faculty of Economics, University of Economics, Prague

Realism and Self-Awareness. Might they be connected? (2009)

Author: U. Saint-Mont

Affiliation: Betriebliche Informationssysteme und Wirtschaftsstatistik, Fachbereich Wirtschafts und Sozialwissenschaften, University of Applied Sciences Nordhausen, Germany.

Article type: Standard scientific article

Section: Epistemology

Language: language

Abstract (english):

For centuries philosophers have wondered why it is so difficult to found realistic positions in epistemology: although nobody in everyday life would deny the existence of an outside world, in theory it is very difficult to grasp it. Since the days of Kant this has been called the “scandal of philosophy”. On first sight, this enigma doesn't seem to be related to the fundamental problem of self-awareness, investigated by the cognitive sciences and the philosophy of mind. Nevertheless, contemporary philosophy is looking for connections. We will argue that both problems are linked tightly, for a clear-cut distinction between reality “out there” and a subject observing the world could be the crucial element of both riddles. If, according to a recent theory, self-awareness essentially means drawing a (cognitive) line between oneself and the rest of the world, its “philosophical shadow” is the unbridgeable gap between observer and reality in epistemology, and realism’s shaky foundations are an inevitable consequence of our personal awareness.

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