Synthese

pp 1–20 | Cite as

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

S.I. : New Metaphysics of Science

Abstract

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.

Keywords

Metaphysics of science Scientific metaphysics Descriptive metaphysics Revisionary metaphysics Ontology Naturalism Realism Physicalism 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institut supérieur de philosophieUniversité catholique de LouvainLouvain-la-NeuveBelgium
  2. 2.Centre interuniversitaire de recherche sur la science et la technologieUniversité du Québec à MontréalMontréalCanada
  3. 3.CNRS Senior Investigator in Philosophy of Science Immunology Unit ImmunoConcEpT, UMR5164CNRS and University of BordeauxBordeauxFrance
  4. 4.Institut d’histoire et de philosophie des sciences et des techniquesCNRS and Pantheon-Sorbonne UniversityParisFrance

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