Philosophia 50 (2):659-670 (2021)

Tom Polger
University of Cincinnati
Most practitioners of the metaphysics of science agree that it should be a naturalized metaphysics. But, just as in other areas of philosophy, there is no consensus on what constitutes naturalism. Here I will focus on just one aspect, viz., the idea that the metaphysics of science should be epistemically naturalized. In the first section I will characterize the kind of epistemic naturalism relevant to the metaphysics of science. The main idea, drawing on the work of Penelope Maddy, is that metaphysical inquiry is to be conducted and metaphysical claims justified in the very same way that scientific inquiry is conducted and scientific claims are justified. I then examine two prominent examples of metaphysicians of science proposing to “naturalize” the metaphysics of science, and argue that they fail to be epistemically natural. These are approaches due to James Ladyman and Don Ross, and to Anjan Chakravartty. Considering their failures shows us a way forward for naturalized metaphysics of science that is both more metaphysical and more scientific.
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DOI 10.1007/s11406-021-00395-7
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