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N e w R e a l i s m
M e t a - m e t a p h y s i c a l N i h i l i s m

Michael Luger

This is my basic introduction to New Realism, the theory of Markus Gabriel and Maurizio Ferraris.
New Realism (NR) is a field ontology. Field-Ontologies refer to a view about the WORLD being divided into many different fields - or contexts. It is important to note that in NR these fields are real, they are not of a constructive nature, any kind of arbitrary conception nor a discourse theory. The different fields do really exist, because they are a discription of certain functionality of objects. The fields are maximal modal robust.
When asking about existence, we tend to set privileges:
1) Elephants in india do (really) exist.
2) Elephants in 'The Jungle Book‘ do not (really) exist.
But one has to be less biased regarding existential questions. NR postulates that both, 1 and 2 exist equally, in different FIELDS. One as a species in the field of zoology, one as a character in a story. It is important to note, that NR does not postulate different kinds of existence. The theory does not say 1 exists biologically, and 2 exists psychologically. It is opposed to an adverbial-field-ontology, which postulates there are many different kinds of existence. Therefore NR postulates an ontological egalitarianism ( = no different types of existence and no different priorities or privileges of existence).
In NR, the world is at this point defined as simply "everything there is' (if such a totality did exist) - an all-encompassing totality. The UNIVERSE for instance is the materialist part of the world. The natural sciences, (science of nature) is the study of the universe. Ergo, the science of nature is not the science of the world. The materialist science of nature simply has the wrong registry and methods to study parts of other (non-materialist) fields.
What kind of physical method examines ‚Faust‘ by Goethe? You can physically examine the consistence of the prints, but not the poem itself, not the meaning of the poem. Clearly, not everything is connected, which proves the presence and functionality of fields.
We often can spot typical field confusions, such as the neurocentrists claiming to explain the totality of human consciousness, or the creationist claiming the earth was only 6K years of age. This always results in wrong conclusions, and is the simple product of what I call field-confusions. One drags the natural sciences onto a partly philosophical topic, the other drags the bible onto the natural sciences.
For Gabriel ‚to exist‘ equals to APPEARANCE IN A FIELD OF SENSE. Something exists if it appears in a certain context, therefore is describable and shows the function to be discriminated from other entities.
There are at least 3 general theories:
1. The world is the totality of things. (the furniture of reality, materialism)
2. The world is the totality of facts (Wittgenstein among others)
3. The world is the field of all the fields (OR)
New Realism postulates number three, and adds the understanding of fields onto Wittgenstein's philosophy.
What are facts?
Facts are defined as something being true about something. The sentence ‚You are reading‘ is true. It is a truth, a fact. But the truth is not another thing. You are the thing (in the philosophical logic), but not the truth about the thing. It is a non-materialist certainty. Even complete nothingness would at least contain one thing, the fact that nothing exists. Therefore, complete nothingness remains unachievable.
Besides the no-world view that a New Realism offers, everything else that appears in a context does exist. There are atoms, the universe, the earth, ghosts, light particles, love, time, ideas, numbers, the Colosseum, the fact that the french revolution began in 1789, and pink elephants. They are real (Ontological Realism) and divided by their nature of being, by their attributes and functionality. Each object is in their field.
Existence by itself is not an attribute (Kant). What does he mean by this? Simply, if the only thing we know about something is, that it exists, we in fact know nothing about it. Therefore, existence is not a predicate like blue or tall, it does not have the quality to discriminate. As a consequence, one could argue 'Nothing and everything is the same', and draw a parallel to Hegel.
For something to exist, something needs to be DIFFERENTIATED from something. It needs to emerge from a background. To emerge = existere (lat.)
The basic argumentation is the following:
(1) To exist means to appear in a field of sense.
(2) If the world exists, it must appear in a field of sense.
(3) There are many fields (ontological pluralism)
(4) There are no objects outside of the world, the word is a totality.
(5) What appears in a field of sense, is an object.
(6) Objects are always this-or-that (ontological descriptivism)
(7) Objects as such, are objects that do not exist under specific description.
(8) There are no objects as such. Objects only exist in fields.
(9) The world cannot be the field of all objects at all, because they would then exist against their own definition under the description, that the relevant world-field individuated.
(10) As a consequence it could only be a field of fields. According to (4), the world must be the field of all the fields.
(11) If the world exists there must be a field of sense for the world itself. There would be a description on that understanding everything exists that there is, also the world itself.
(12) Such a description does not exist.
∴ The world does not exist.
The ‚view from outside‘ can never be achieved, as this view from outside just becomes another inside, another part of the world, and therefore just another view from the inside. The result is an infinite number of fields which can never come to a definite ending that contains absolutely everything (regressus ad infinitum). The world can never be part of the world. The world cannot be a part of itself. An all- encompassing totality can not emerge from a background.
Ontology and metaphysics are two different things. Ontology asks about the meaning of existence, metaphysics regards an absolute, a concept or theory about absolutely everything there is. It is the maximum of zoom out, the maximum of abstraction. It is ‚talking about everything in one step.‘ - This idea of an all-encompassing totality has to be rejected according to New Realism. According to Gabriel, there is no valid metaphysical concept, no allquantor that can talk about a totality.
Simply put, there is nothing that can talk about everything.
Therefore, New Realism is opposed to ideology, dogmatism and all sorts of scientific reductions, such as naturalism, physicalism and materialism.
Gabriel suggests that there is no ground floor that explains the world as a concept - no metaphysics. We should reject the idea of a world that offers us a reality beyond our true facts - a metaphysical reality.

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