Is Reality Real, or Just a Name?
The next antinomy is realism <---> nominalism -- which can be confusing, since this type of realism is the opposite of that discussed in Friday's post.
Recall that realism originally referred to the objective reality of abstract universals or platonic forms. But in the sense we will be discussing today, realism is closer to naturalism, since it denies objective reality to transcendent archetypes, and instead grants real existence only to particulars, otherwise known as nominalism.
As UF notes, a realist in the former sense sense of the term is an extreme idealist, e.g., Plato. For Plato, the idea is more real than the things of the world, which are just "copies." But for the nominalist, these so-called objective ideas are nothing more than words which have no independent reality.
Not to get too far ahead of oursophists, but this seemingly innocuous fork in the philosophical road eventually wends its way to deconstruction, multiculturalism, moral relativism,"positive liberties," "gay marriage," etc., the whole catastrophe.
For example, marriage is a natural right that exists prior to the state, and it is not for the state to invent or redefine the archetypes that make us human. Therefore, to promulgate the fantasy that members of the same sex can live in a state of marriage is a kind of barbaric assault on reality. It is mean-spirited, offensive, bigoted, and phobic of reality.
Any scientist who actually takes the trouble to think deeply is a philosophical realist. For example, there is no great mathematician who is not an explicit or implicit Platonist. G. H. Hardy, in his A Mathematician's Apology, wrote that "It would be difficult now to find an educated man quite insensitive to the aesthetic appeal of mathematics.... A mathematician, like a painter or a poet, is a maker of patterns. If his patterns are more permanent than theirs, it is because they are made with ideas."
If we consider the whole idea of creation -- i.e., the cosmos....
Wait, let's stop right there: the idea of the cosmos. For that is what it is: an idea. No one has ever seen the cosmos. But it is incorrect to say we just "assume" it exists. Rather, we know in our bones that it exists -- that is, the strict totality of all interacting objects and events, which is a shadow of the Absolute.
There is no part of reality that exists independently of this Absolute. The interior wholeness we see at every level of reality is simply a fractal reflection, or distant echo, of this Absolute. It is what accounts for the organicism of organisms, the nonlocality of locality, the unity of the human subject, and the inner coherence of science.
The realist (i.e., idealist) says that "the general is anterior to the particular" (deduction). The nominalist says that "the particular is anterior to the general" (induction).
Here again, we see how this plays out at the local level, with disastrous consequences. For example, for the left, the collective is more real than the individual, which is why liberals are untroubled by person A getting together with person B in order to appropriate the earnings of person C and give them to person D, so that person D will vote for, and grant more power to, persons A and B.
But the Founders knew that the individual was real and that this individuality was rooted in his liberty, which is the very means through which we become more real -- or realize our reality. It is this idea of liberty which is ultimately real, and which creates the possibility of real individuals (in other words, without liberty, our ideal "created" self will not be able to actualize in time; or, Image cannot embark upon the journey to Likeness).
But for the left, it is only in its concrete particulars that liberty is real, i.e, "positive liberties." In other words, liberty is not real unless the government somehow creates it and gives it to you in the form of cash, favors, and other valuable prizes. You might say that negative liberty preserves the ideal reality of liberty, whereas positive liberty ends in its negation.
For the nominalist, "truth, beauty and goodness do not exist for it as objective realities, and are only a matter of taste," that great leveler of the hierarchical cosmos. One cannot argue with a nominalist, because their first cognitive act is to dismantle the very cognitive scaffolding that makes higher thought possible.
In truth, we clearly need both, i.e., realism and nominalism: "We cannot dispense with realism if we attach any value to the existence of objective truth (science) and trans-subjective truth (religion)."
How to come up with a punchline for this yoke? It's easy, at least if one is lucky enough to have been born in Christendom: "The 'problem' of universals was resolved in the spiritual history of mankind by the fact of the Incarnation, where the fundamental universal of the world -- the Logos -- became Jesus Christ, who is the fundamental particular of the world."
Here, the universal of universals, the very principle of intelligibility, the Logos, became the particular of particulars, the very prototype of the personality, Jesus Christ.
In the words of Eckhart, "he who is devoted to justice is taken up by justice, seized by justice, becomes one with justice." And the just man "is free, and the closer he is to justice, the closer he is to freedom, and the more he is freedom itself."
Which is why for the Raccoon, spiritual knowledge is embodied knowledge or it is no knowledge at all, just nice sounding words.