Abstract Naturalized metaphysics remains a default presupposition of much contemporary philosophy of physics. As metaphysics is supposed to be about the general structure of reality, so a naturalized metaphysics draws upon our best physical theories: Assuming the truth of such a theory, it attempts to answer the “foundational question par excellence “, “how could the world possibly be the way this theory says it is?“ It is argued that attention to historical detail in the development and formulation of physical theories (...) serves as an ever-relevant hygienic corrective to the “sentiment of rationality“ underlying the naturalistic impulse to read ontology off of physics. (shrink)
Universally recognized as bringing about a revolutionary transformation of the notions of space, time, and motion in physics, Einstein's theory of gravitation, known as "general relativity," was also a defining event for 20th century philosophy of science. During the decisive first ten years of the theory's existence, two main tendencies dominated its philosophical reception. This book is an extended argument that the path actually taken, which became logical empiricist philosophy of science, greatly contributed to the current impasse over realism, whereas (...) new possibilities are opened in revisiting and reviving the spirit of the more sophisticated tendency, a cluster of viewpoints broadly termed transcendental idealism, and furthering its articulation. It also emerges that Einstein, while paying lip service to the emerging philosophy of logical empiricism, ended up siding de facto with the latter tendency. Ryckman's work speaks to several groups, among them philosophers of science and historians of relativity. Equations are displayed as necessary, but Ryckman gives the non-mathematical reader enough background to understand their occurrence in the context of his wider philosophical project. (shrink)
An examination of Carnap's Aufbau in the context of Schlick's Allgemeine Erkenntnislehre of ten years earlier, suggests that Carnap's focus there on the sign-relation (Zeichenbeziehung) is an effort to retrieve a verificationist account of the meaning of individual scientific statements from the abyss of meaning-holism entailed by Schlick's proposal that scientific concepts be implicitly defined. The Aufbau's antipodal aspects, its reductive phenomenalism and quasi-Kantian concern with the constitution of objectivity, are seen as complementary moments of the marriage of empiricism and (...) a new emphasis on scientific concepts as "free creations of the human mind". (shrink)
Examines the connections among believing, saying, and expressing in situations where the sentence used is a declarative sentence containing at least one proper name. Proposes a new way of understanding these connections. Develops an argument for the thesis that, although we typically believe the singular propositions expressed by our uses of name sentences, we rarely use such sentences because we believe those propositions.