Keep the chickens cooped: the epistemic inadequacy of free range metaphysics

Synthese 197 (5):1867-1887 (2020)

Abstract

This paper aims to better motivate the naturalization of metaphysics by identifying and criticizing a class of theories I call ’free range metaphysics’. I argue that free range metaphysics is epistemically inadequate because the constraints on its content—consistency, simplicity, intuitive plausibility, and explanatory power—are insufficiently robust and justificatory. However, since free range metaphysics yields clarity-conducive techniques, incubates science, and produces conceptual and formal tools useful for scientifically engaged philosophy, I do not recommend its discontinuation. I do recommend, however, ending the discipline’s bad faith. That is, I urge that free range metaphysics not be taken to have fully satisfactory epistemic credentials over and above its pragmatic ones.

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Amanda Bryant
Ryerson University

References found in this work

The Question of Realism.Kit Fine - 2001 - Philosophers' Imprint 1:1-30.
Every Thing Must Go: Metaphysics Naturalized.James Ladyman & Don Ross - 2007 - In James Ladyman, Don Ross, David Spurrett & John Collier (eds.), Every Thing Must Go: Metaphysics Naturalized. Oxford University Press.
Explanatory Unification.Philip Kitcher - 1981 - Philosophy of Science 48 (4):507-531.
Explanatory Unification and the Causal Structure of the World.Philip Kitcher - 1989 - In Philip Kitcher & Wesley Salmon (eds.), Scientific Explanation. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. pp. 410-505.

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