No General Structure

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Waters, C. Kenneth
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preprint description
This chapter introduces a distinctive approach for scientific metaphysics. Instead of drawing metaphysical conclusions by interpreting the most basic theories of science, this approach draws metaphysical conclusions by analyzing how multifaceted practices of science work. Broadening attention opens the door to drawing metaphysical conclusions from a wide range of sciences. This chapter analyzes conceptual practice in genetics to argue that the reality investigated by biologists lacks an overall structure. It expands this conclusion to motivate the no general structure thesis, which states that the world lacks a general, overall structure that spans scales. It concludes that the no general structure thesis counts as metaphysics because it says something very important and general about the world. This thesis informs science as well as philosophy of science, and it provides a useful perspective for societies that look upon science to help solve complex problems in our changing world.