Article

Distilling Metaphysics from Quantum Physics

Tim Maudlin

in The Oxford Handbook of Metaphysics

Published in print September 2005 | ISBN: 9780199284221
Published online September 2009 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199284221.003.0016

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Philosophy

Distilling Metaphysics from Quantum Physics

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Metaphysics is the theory of being, that is, the most generic account of what there is. As such, it must be informed by empirical science, since we can only discover the nature of the material world through our experience of it. The most general and fundamental account of material reality is provided by physics, hence physics is the scientific discipline most closely allied to (if not continuous with) metaphysics as a philosophical inquiry. Modern physics has been an especially fertile source for astonishing suggestions about reality. No respectable inquiry into the nature of space and time, for example, can afford to ignore the Theory of Relativity, whose account of spatio-temporal structure would not have been discovered by any amount of armchair reflection. As truth is stranger than fiction, so is actual physical theory more conceptually challenging than a priori speculation.

Keywords: metaphysics; quantum physics; material reality; philosophical inquiry; modern physics; space and time

Article.  13304 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy ; Metaphysics ; Philosophy of Science

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