I have a foundational knowledge of philosophy but Ive never managed to understand the basics of realism vs antirealism debates and why it matters.
Ive read that there are ontological, epistemic, semantic and truth-related threads to it but textbooks on the topic quickly leave me behind.
Please could anyone help shed light on this?
/* edit 30-12-2018 Thanks for the replies
Context: Ive come across the existence and independence axis notions in Brock and Meres but couldnt follow it; it lost me from page 1. Ive read a 'Very short introduction to metaphysics' which discussed Platonism vs nominalism regarding universals but I couldnt grasp why it mattered. I tried Shapiro's 'Thinking about mathematics'. Too advanced. Ive read the SEP on metaphysics and challenges to metaphysical realism. I didnt grasp the latter, too advanced. Ive skimmed Dancy's Contemporary Epistemology and didnt comprehend the realism etc sections. Wikipedia articles jump from basic to advanced word-salad. In ethics I believe moral realism is roughly moral universalism, contrasted with relativism or emotivism. Im familiar with instrumentalism and Poincare's 'bankruptcy of science' notion in philosophy of science (seems the only justifiable stance on the matter). Ive read the scientific realism SEP but I imagine I got confirmation bias and didnt properly understand other views. I know of the notion of Berkeleian Idealism from pop-philosophy books and podcasts.
Generally Im wondering if 'realism vs whatever' are distinctions without any difference? The volume of literature makes me think this suggestion is naive and premature, and that the debate must cash out in differences to care about at some point.
Ive put in hours reading different sources hoping the vocabulary would sink in and the content would make sense. Instead I still have zero understanding and am demotivated wherever I look by a reference web of advanced terms that never seem to be defined in exclusive and clear distinction from other concepts.
Im struggling for foundational/intermediate-level explanations. Please could anyone link resources or provide a sketch for the main concepts/areas/stances and their distinctions?