Thinking Outside the Toolbox: Towards a More Productive Engagement Between Metaphysics and Philosophy of Physics

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French, Steven; McKenzie, Kerry
preprint description
he relationship between metaphysics and science has recently become the focus of increased attention. Ladyman and Ross, in particular, have accused even naturalistically inclined metaphysicians of pursuing little more than the philosophy of A-level chemistry and have suggested that analytic metaphysics should simply be discontinued. In contrast, we shall argue, first of all, that even metaphysics that is disengaged from modern science may offer a set of resources that can be appropriated by philosophers of physics in order to set physics within an interpretational framework. Secondly, however, we shall urge that insofar as metaphysics is intended to be more than just a toolbox it needs to accommodate the implications of physics if many of its core claims are to be sustained. We shall illustrate this last point with a discussion of the nature of laws and modality in the context of modern physics.