Right out of the box: How to situate metaphysics of science in relation to other metaphysical approaches

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Synthese, ISSN: 1573-0964

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Guay, Alexandre; Pradeu, Thomas
Springer (Springer Science+Business Media B.V.)
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article description
Several advocates of the lively field of “metaphysics of science” have recently argued that a naturalistic metaphysics should be based solely on current science, and that it should replace more traditional, intuition-based, forms of metaphysics. The aim of the present paper is to assess that claim by examining the relations between metaphysics of science and general metaphysics. We show that the current metaphysical battlefield is richer and more complex than a simple dichotomy between “metaphysics of science” and “traditional metaphysics”, and that it should instead be understood as a three dimensional “box”, with one axis distinguishing “descriptive metaphysics” from “revisionary metaphysics,” a second axis distinguishing a priori from a posteriori metaphysics, and a third axis distinguishing “commonsense metaphysics”, “traditional metaphysics” and “metaphysics of science.” We use this three-dimensional figure to shed light on the project of current metaphysics of science, and to demonstrate that, in many instances, the target of that project is not defined with enough precision and clarity.