What is Analytic Metaphysics For?

Australasian Journal of Philosophy 90 (2):291-306 (2012)
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We divide analytic metaphysics into naturalistic and non-naturalistic metaphysics. The latter we define as any philosophical theory that makes some ontological (as opposed to conceptual) claim, where that ontological claim has no observable consequences. We discuss further features of non-naturalistic metaphysics, including its methodology of appealing to intuition, and we explain the way in which we take it to be discontinuous with science. We outline and criticize Ladyman and Ross's 2007 epistemic argument against non-naturalistic metaphysics. We then present our own argument against it. We set out various ways in which intellectual endeavours can be of value, and we argue that, in so far as it claims to be an ontological enterprise, non-naturalistic metaphysics cannot be justified according to the same standards as science or naturalistic metaphysics. The lack of observable consequences explains why non-naturalistic metaphysics has, in general, failed to make progress, beyond increasing the standards of clarity and precision in expressing its theories. We end with a series of objections and replies



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Author Profiles

James Maclaurin
University of Otago
Heather Dyke
University of Otago

References found in this work

The Structure of Scientific Revolutions.Thomas S. Kuhn - 1962 - Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press. Edited by Ian Hacking.
The Structure of Scientific Revolutions.Thomas Samuel Kuhn - 1962 - Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Edited by Otto Neurath.
Criticism and the growth of knowledge.Imre Lakatos & Alan Musgrave (eds.) - 1970 - Cambridge [Eng.]: Cambridge University Press.
Every thing must go: metaphysics naturalized.James Ladyman & Don Ross - 2007 - New York: Oxford University Press. Edited by Don Ross, David Spurrett & John G. Collier.

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