Three dogmas of metaphysical methodology

In Matthew Haug (ed.), Philosophical Methodology: The Armchair or the Laboratory? Routledge. pp. 145-165 (2013)
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Abstract

In what does philosophical progress consist? 'Vertical' progress corresponds to development within a specific paradigm/framework for theorizing (of the sort associated, revolutions aside, with science); 'horizontal' progress corresponds to the identification and cultivation of diverse paradigms (of the sort associated, conservativism aside, with art and pure mathematics). Philosophical progress seems to involve both horizontal and vertical dimensions, in a way that is somewhat puzzling: philosophers work in a number of competing frameworks (like artists or mathematicians), while typically maintaining that only one of these is correct (like scientists). I diagnose this situation as reflecting that we are presently quite far from the end of inquiry into philosophical methodology. The good news is that we appear to be making advances on this score. The bad news is that failure to recognize or make explicit that our standards are in flux often leads to dogmatism, as I illustrate by attention to three assumptions presently operative in metaphysical and metametaphysical contexts. I close by identifying a tension between vertical and horizontal progress in philosophy, and suggesting an updated version of Carnap's principle of tolerance for new philosophical forms.

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Jessica M. Wilson
University of Toronto at Scarborough

Citations of this work

The intelligibility of metaphysical structure.Peter Finocchiaro - 2019 - Philosophical Studies 176 (3):581-606.
Three Barriers to Philosophical Progress.Jessica Wilson - 2017 - In Russell Blackford & Damien Broderick (eds.), Philosophy's Future: The Problem of Philosophical Progress. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley Blackwell. pp. 91--104.
Essence and dependence.Jessica Wilson M. - 2020 - In Mircea Dumitru (ed.), Metaphysics, Meaning, and Modality: Themes from Kit Fine. Oxford University Press. pp. 283-300.

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References found in this work

A Treatise of Human Nature.David Hume & A. D. Lindsay - 1969 - Harmondsworth,: Penguin Books. Edited by Ernest Campbell Mossner.
Parts: a study in ontology.Peter M. Simons - 1987 - New York: Oxford University Press.
Ontological anti-realism.David J. Chalmers - 2009 - In David Chalmers, David Manley & Ryan Wasserman (eds.), Metametaphysics: New Essays on the Foundations of Ontology. Oxford University Press.
Causality.Judea Pearl - 2000 - New York: Cambridge University Press.

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