A Heath Robinson Contraption? Some Problems with Roth's Irrealism

Adam Timmins (University of Ostrava, Czech Republic)
21.03.2024, 16.15 (Finnish time)

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In recent years Paul A.Roth has entered the lists in philosophy of history with a model of historical explanation that takes as one of its main inspirations from Nelson Goodman’s notion of irrealism. The model is a somewhat complex affair however, utilising and weaving together purported insights from Danto, Mink, Goldstein and Hacking. This makes it somewhat akin to a Heath Robinson contraption – there are a lot of moving parts that all need to function in order for it to work. Unfortunately, nearly all the parts are problematic in some way or another, and this talk will explicate the ways in which they are to be found wanting. Ultimately, it will be argued that irrealism, far from providing a third way between realism and anti-realism, is simply good old-fashioned historiographical idealism in modern analytic dress.

Last updated: 13.3.2024