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Against Methodological Continuity and Metaphysical Knowledge

Allzén, Simon (2023) Against Methodological Continuity and Metaphysical Knowledge. European Journal for Philosophy of Science, 13 (5). ISSN 1879-4912

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Abstract

The main purpose of this paper is to refute the ‘methodological continuity’ argument supporting epistemic realism in metaphysics. This argument aims to show that scientific realists have to accept that metaphysics is as
rationally justified as science given that they both employ
inference to the best explanation, i.e. that metaphysics and science are methodologically continuous. I argue that the reasons given by scientific realists as to why inference to the best explanation (IBE) is reliable in science do not
constitute a reason to believe that it is reliable in metaphysics.
The justification of IBE in science and the justification of IBE in metaphysics are two distinct issues with only superficial similarities, and one cannot rely on one for the other. This becomes especially clear when one analyses the debate about the legitimacy of IBE that has taken place
between realists and empiricists. The metaphysician seeking to piggyback on the realist defense of IBE in science by the methodological continuity argument presupposes that the defense is straightforwardly applicable to metaphysics.
I will argue that it is, in fact, not. The favored defenses of IBE in scientific realism make extensive use of empirical considerations, predictive power and inductive evidence, all of which are paradigmatically absent in the metaphysical context. Furthermore, I argue that the metaphysician, even
if the realist would concede to the methodological
continuity argument, fails to offer any agreed upon conclusions resulting from its application in metaphysics. As a result, the scientific realist is not committed to believing that there is metaphysical knowledge.


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Item Type: Published Article or Volume
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Allzén, Simonsimon.allzen@philosophy.su.se0000-0002-6124-8152
Keywords: Methodological continuation, Scientific realism, Metaphysics, Inference to the best explanation
Subjects: General Issues > Scientific Metaphysics
General Issues > Confirmation/Induction
General Issues > Explanation
General Issues > Realism/Anti-realism
Depositing User: Dr Simon Allzén
Date Deposited: 11 Jan 2023 13:27
Last Modified: 11 Jan 2023 13:27
Item ID: 21641
Journal or Publication Title: European Journal for Philosophy of Science
Publisher: Springer
DOI or Unique Handle: https://doi.org/10.1007/s13194-022-00505-6
Subjects: General Issues > Scientific Metaphysics
General Issues > Confirmation/Induction
General Issues > Explanation
General Issues > Realism/Anti-realism
Date: 11 January 2023
Volume: 13
Number: 5
ISSN: 1879-4912
URI: https://philsci-archive-dev.library.pitt.edu/id/eprint/21641

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