Metaphysics and Science: With or Without? - Clearing up for an inclusive disjunction

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Abstract

This presentation will focus on the recent debate over the possibility of a 'scientific metaphysics' and the need for a 'metaphysics of science', keeping in mind the metaphysical tinge of certain contemporary trends of theoretical science. Both manifestations scramble the traditional demarcation criteria between science and metaphysics, such as the a posteriori nature of scientific inquiry versus the a priori speculative study of metaphysics. Despite the excommunication of metaphysics from philosophy of science and the scientific world conception of the Vienna Circle, subsequently confirmed by logical empiricism, the recent decades have seen a growing resurgence of metaphysics. The latter pertain mostly to criticism over the analytic/synthetic distinction, the development of semantic interpretations of modality, a realist and revisionary metaphysical attitude and the outbreak of dispositionalist views concerning the laws of nature, thus overthrowing the post-kantian prejudices against metaphysical ambitions towards the knowledge of nature. This repulsion-attraction dynamic between the two domains reveals they overlap on several subject matters, but they also distinguish themselves in the nature and practice of their inquiry. Nevertheless, in place of being (asymmetric) rivals, both have much to gain from a balanced - and occasionally therapeutic - complementarity. The purpose of this presentation is, then, both to clarify the terms of this complementarity and to evaluate the dangers of defective or excessive mutual acquaintance.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPhilosophy of Science in the 21st Century - Challenges and Tasks
EditorsOlga Pombo, Gil Santos
PublisherCentro de Filosofia das Ciências da Universidade de Lisboa
Pages37-52
Number of pages15
Volume9
ISBN (Print)978-989-8247-72-8
Publication statusPublished - 2016
EventThe Second Lisbon International Conference on Philosophy of Science in the 21st Century – Challenges and Tasks - Centro de Filosofia das Ciências da Universidade de Lisboa, Lisboa, Portugal
Duration: 4 Dec 20136 Dec 2013
Conference number: 2

Publication series

NameDocumenta

Conference

ConferenceThe Second Lisbon International Conference on Philosophy of Science in the 21st Century – Challenges and Tasks
CountryPortugal
CityLisboa
Period4/12/136/12/13

Keywords

  • A priori knowledge
  • Metaphysics of science
  • Scientific metaphysics
  • Scientism
  • System building

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    Fonseca, N. (2016). Metaphysics and Science: With or Without? - Clearing up for an inclusive disjunction. In O. Pombo, & G. Santos (Eds.), Philosophy of Science in the 21st Century - Challenges and Tasks (Vol. 9, pp. 37-52). (Documenta). Centro de Filosofia das Ciências da Universidade de Lisboa.