What is metaphysics? I’m not going to offer a definition. But work on ontology, causation, persistence, time, and necessity should surely count. Ladyman (2007) distinguishes ‘naturalistic’ from ‘autonomous’ metaphysics. The former is work on these metaphysical topics guided by best current science; the latter, metaphysics done ‘from the armchair’, or at least, done primarily using arguments and techniques not drawn from the empirical sciences most closely associated with their topic (so perhaps using the tools of logic and formal semantics, not physics). It is clear that much recent analytic metaphysics is autonomous in this sense. It’s not completely autonomous: it must be consistent with truth. So a challenge from physics can arise even if metaphysics is autonomous; this is the form of the challenge to presentism from STR I’ll talk about. But metaphysics is autonomous in the sense that there are reasons to believe metaphysical theses that aren’t parasitic upon reasons to believe any particular scientific hypothesis.
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