Why Should Metaphysics be Systematic? Contemporary Answers and Kant’s

In Aaron Segal & Nicholas Stang (eds.), Systematic Metaphysics: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives (forthcoming)
  Copy   BIBTEX


The other chapters in this volume discuss the important, but neglected, topic of systematicity in metaphysics. In this chapter I begin by taking a step back and asking: why is systematicity important in metaphysics? Assuming that metaphysics should be systematic, why is this the case? I canvas some answers that emerge naturally within contemporary philosophy and argue that none of them adequately explains why metaphysics should be systematic. I then turn to Kant’s account of systematicity for his explanation. I argue that, while Kant’s explanation of the systematicity of metaphysics rests on a host of additional weighty philosophical commitments that many philosophers would rather do without (e.g., transcendental idealism), he is not alone in this. The contemporary answers I earlier found wanting can be transformed into satisfying explanations, I argue, but only at the cost of philosophical commitments at least as weighty as Kant’s. I conclude on a note of agnosticism: it is far from clear whether contemporary philosophy has done, or can do, better than Kant at explaining the role of systematicity in metaphysics.



External links

  • This entry has no external links. Add one.
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library


Added to PP

232 (#90,733)

6 months
178 (#18,578)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Nicholas Stang
University of Toronto, St. George

Citations of this work

No citations found.

Add more citations

References found in this work

Writing the Book of the World.Theodore Sider - 2011 - Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.
On the Plurality of Worlds.David K. Lewis - 1986 - Malden, Mass.: Wiley-Blackwell.
Individuals: An Essay in Descriptive Metaphysics.Peter F. Strawson - 1959 - London, England: Routledge. Edited by Wenfang Wang.
New work for a theory of universals.David K. Lewis - 1983 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 61 (4):343-377.
Reason, Truth and History.Hilary Putnam - 1981 - New York: Cambridge University Press.

View all 26 references / Add more references