Realism in Context: The Examples of Lifeworld and Quantum Physics

Human Affairs 19 (2):211-222 (2009)
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Lifeworld realism and quantum-physical realism are taken as experience-dependent conceptions of the world that become objects of explicit reflection when confronted with context-external discourses. After a brief sketch of the two contexts of experience—lifeworld and quantum physics—and their realist interpretations, I will discuss the quantum world from the perspective of lifeworld realism. From this perspective, the quantum world—roughly speaking—has to be either unreal or else constitute a different reality. Then, I invert the perspective and examine the lifeworld from the standpoint of quantumphysical realism. This conception of the lifeworld has gained momentum from new research results in recent decades. Despite its experiential basis, quantum-physical realism bears an ambiguity akin to that of lifeworld realism. While the perspectival inversion serves to highlight the problem, it also contributes to an improved understanding of lifeworld-realism.
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