The rationality of metaphysics

Synthese 178 (1):99-109 (2011)
In this paper, it is argued that metaphysics, conceived as an inquiry into the ultimate nature of mind-independent reality, is a rationally indispensable intellectual discipline, with the a priori science of formal ontology at its heart. It is maintained that formal ontology, properly understood, is not a mere exercise in conceptual analysis, because its primary objective is a normative one, being nothing less than the attempt to grasp adequately the essences of things, both actual and possible, with a view to understanding as far as we can the fundamental structure of reality as a whole. Accordingly, it is urged, the deliverances of formal ontology have a modal and epistemic status akin to those of other a priori sciences, such as mathematics and logic, rather than constituting rivals to the claims of the empirical sciences, such as physics.
Keywords Categories  Empiricism  Essence  Formal ontology  Metaphysics  Modality  Rationality  Realism
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D. M. Armstrong (1993). A World of States of Affairs. Philosophical Perspectives 7 (3):429-440.

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