Should Metaphysics Care About Linguistics?
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Naturalized metaphysics is based on the idea that philosophy should be guided by the sciences. The paradigmatic science that is relevant for metaphysics is physics because physics tells us what fundamental reality is ultimately like. There are other sciences, however, that de facto play a role in philosophical inquiries about what there is, one of them being the science of language, i.e. linguistics. In this paper I will be concerned with the question what role linguistics should and does play for the metametaphysical question of how our views about fundamental reality can be reconciled with the everyday truisms about what there is. I will present several examples of two kinds of approaches to this question, linguistics-based accounts and purely philosophical accounts, and will discuss their respective methodological merits and shortcomings. In the end I will argue that even proponents of a purely philosophical answer to the metametaphysical question should take the results of linguistics seriously.
KeywordsLinguistics Meta-metaphysics Meta-ontology Methodology Ontologese
I want to thank Catharine Diehl, Daniel Dohrn, Martin Lipman, Lisa Vogt, Tobias Wilsch and the participants of the GAP.9-colloquium Meta 2 physics: Analytic vs. Naturalized Metaphysics for comments on earlier versions of this paper. My special thanks go to two anonymous referees of this journal for the enormous effort they have put into reviewing this paper and for their extremely helpful comments.
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