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On the Prospects of an Effective Metaphysics

McKenzie, Kerry (2024) On the Prospects of an Effective Metaphysics. [Preprint]

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Abstract

Abstract: This paper reflects on the prospects of an effective metaphysics. By analogy with effective physics, an `effective metaphysics' describes non-fundamental ontology in its own terms and independently of those that describe the fundamental level. And an effective metaphysics will be said to have prospects if (i) there are metaphysical truths
about non-fundamental ontology out there to be discovered, and (ii) these facts can be known prior to the emergence of a fundamental theory. This question is of whether effective metaphysics has prospects is an important one. For one thing, if it does then many of the criticisms of analytic metaphysicians by naturalistic metaphysics might be tempered, since those criticisms are largely based on the classical presumptions underlying their worldview. But more significantly, if effective metaphysics does not have prospects then the value of engaging in metaphysics prior to a fundamental theory is far from clear. In this paper, I will argue that we should in fact be deeply sceptical about the prospects of effective metaphysics: sceptical about our ability to access metaphysical truths about non-fundamental ontology prior to the emergence of a final theory, and perhaps also about the very idea that there are any such truths out there to be discovered.


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Item Type: Preprint
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
McKenzie, Kerrykmckenzie@ucsd.edu0000-0002-5668-0311
Keywords: metaphysics metametaphysics effective theories scientific realism modality structuralism
Subjects: General Issues > Scientific Metaphysics
Specific Sciences > Physics
General Issues > Theory Change
Depositing User: Miss Kerry McKenzie
Date Deposited: 01 Feb 2024 01:49
Last Modified: 01 Feb 2024 01:49
Item ID: 23033
Subjects: General Issues > Scientific Metaphysics
Specific Sciences > Physics
General Issues > Theory Change
Date: 30 January 2024
URI: https://philsci-archive-dev.library.pitt.edu/id/eprint/23033

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