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Every Thing Must GoMetaphysics Naturalized$
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James Ladyman, Don Ross, and and David Spurrett with John Collier

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780199276196

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199276196.001.0001

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In Defence of Scientism

In Defence of Scientism

Chapter:
(p.1) 1 In Defence of Scientism
Source:
Every Thing Must Go
Author(s):

James Ladyman (Contributor Webpage)

Don Ross (Contributor Webpage)

David Spurrett (Contributor Webpage)

John Collier

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199276196.003.0001

This chapter defends a radically naturalistic metaphysics, which is motivated exclusively by attempts to unify hypotheses and theories that are taken seriously by contemporary science. For reasons to be explained, this chapter takes the view that no alternative kind of metaphysics can be regarded as a legitimate part of our collective attempt to model the structure of objective reality. One of the most distinguished predecessors in this attitude is Wilfrid Sellars, who expressed a naturalistic conception of soundly motivated metaphysics when he said that the philosopher's aim should be “knowing one's way around with respect to the subject matters of all the special [scientific] disciplines” and “building bridges” between them. This chapter focuses on a sense of “understanding” that is perhaps better characterized by the word “explanation”, where an explanation must be true (at least in its most general claims). It is argued that a given metaphysic's achievement of domestication furnishes no evidence at all that the metaphysic in question is true, and thus no reason for believing that it explains anything.

Keywords:   scientism, metaphysics, intuitions, common sense, verificationism, Wilfrid Sellars, science, reductionism, principle of naturalistic closure

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