Arguing Against Fundamentality

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McKenzie, Kerry
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This paper aims to open up discussion on the relationship between fundamentality and naturalism, and in particular on the question of whether fundamentality may be denied on naturalistic grounds. A historico-inductive argument for an anti-fundamentalist conclusion, prominent within contemporary metaphysical literature, is examined; finding it wanting, an alternative ‘internal’ strategy is proposed. By means of an example from the history of modern physics - namely S-matrix theory - it is demonstrated that (1) this strategy can generate similar (though not identical) anti-fundamentalist conclusions on more defensible naturalistic grounds, and (2) that fundamentality questions can be empirical questions. Some implications and limitations of the proposed approach are discussed.