Troubles with Theoretical Virtues: Resisting Theoretical Utility Arguments in Metaphysics

Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 101 (2):456-469 (2020)
  Copy   BIBTEX

Abstract

In this paper we examine theoretical utility arguments in metaphysics. While philosophers claim a procedural continuity with science when using such arguments, we argue that examining famous instances from the history of science expose their fundamental flaws. We find that arguments from theoretical utility invoke considerations that are not truth conducive and that justifications for claims that a theory possesses theoretical virtues often assume the truth of the theory such virtues are supposed to support. We conclude that theoretical utility arguments provide no epistemic grounds for metaphysical inquiry.

Links

PhilArchive



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 94,549

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Analytics

Added to PP
2019-05-17

Downloads
196 (#105,365)

6 months
27 (#136,007)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Scott Shalkowski
University of Leeds

Citations of this work

New powers for Dispositionalism.Giacomo Giannini - 2021 - Synthese 199:2671-2700.
Scientific Realism and Blocking Strategies.Raimund Pils - 2022 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 36 (1):1-17.
Neo-Pyrrhonism, Empiricism, and Scientific Activity.Otávio Bueno - 2021 - Veritas – Revista de Filosofia da Pucrs 66 (1):e42184.
Skepticism, naturalism, pyrrhonism.Otávio Bueno - 2022 - Philosophical Issues 32 (1):148-163.

View all 10 citations / Add more citations

References found in this work

Two Dogmas of Empiricism.Willard V. O. Quine - 1951 - Philosophical Review 60 (1):20–43.
Naming and Necessity.Saul Kripke - 1980 - Philosophy 56 (217):431-433.
Naming and Necessity.Saul Kripke - 1980 - Critica 17 (49):69-71.
On the Plurality of Worlds.David Lewis - 1986 - Revue Philosophique de la France Et de l'Etranger 178 (3):388-390.
On the Plurality of Worlds.William G. Lycan - 1988 - Journal of Philosophy 85 (1):42-47.

View all 21 references / Add more references