Six Degrees of Speculation: Metaphysics in Empirical Contexts

Anjan Chakravartty

in Images of Empiricism

Published in print October 2007 | ISBN: 9780199218844
Published online January 2008 | e-ISBN: 9780191711732 | DOI:

Series: Mind Association Occasional Series

 Six Degrees of Speculation: Metaphysics in Empirical Contexts

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This chapter argues that the distinction between empiricism and metaphysics is not as clear as van Fraassen would like to believe. Almost all inquiry is metaphysical to a degree, including van Fraassen's stance empiricism. Van Fraassen does not make a strong case against metaphysics, since the argument against metaphysics has to happen at the level of meta-stances — the level where one decides which stance to endorse. The chapter maintains that utilizing van Fraassen's own conception of rationality, metaphysicians are rational. Empiricists should not reject all metaphysics, but just the sort of metaphysics which goes well beyond the empirical contexts that most interest them.

Keywords: empiricism; metaphyics; Bas van Fraassen; rationality

Chapter.  10427 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Science

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