Substantive Social Metaphysics

Philosophers' Imprint 23:1-18 (2023)
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Abstract

Social metaphysics is a source of important philosophical and moral insight. Furthermore, much social metaphysics appears to be substantive. However, some have recently argued that standard views of metaphysics cannot accommodate substantive social metaphysics. In this paper I offer a new diagnosis of this problem and defend a new solution, showing that this problem is an illuminating lens through which to examine the nature and boundaries of metaphysics. This case instantiates a broad, common pattern generated by attempts to align distinctions between realism and anti-realism, mind-independence and mind-dependence, and legitimate and non-legitimate inquiry. I show that the best response is to abandon the association between substantive metaphysics and mind-independence, and I sketch a new definition of substantivity, given in terms of explanatory power, that makes room for substantive social metaphysics while also offering an attractive basis for general metaphysics.

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Elanor Taylor
Johns Hopkins University

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References found in this work

On what grounds what.Jonathan Schaffer - 2009 - In David Manley, David J. Chalmers & Ryan Wasserman (eds.), Metametaphysics: New Essays on the Foundations of Ontology. Oxford University Press. pp. 347-383.
New work for a theory of universals.David K. Lewis - 1983 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 61 (4):343-377.
Metaphysical Dependence: Grounding and Reduction.Gideon Rosen - 2010 - In Bob Hale & Aviv Hoffmann (eds.), Modality: Metaphysics, Logic, and Epistemology. Oxford University Press. pp. 109-135.
Essence and modality.Kit Fine - 1994 - Philosophical Perspectives 8 (Logic and Language):1-16.

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